UCSB to Rekindle Old Friendships: Play at UNLV Tuesday, Host Utah State Saturday

John Green (Photo by Tony Mastres)

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• This Week
Game No. 2
Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at UNLV Runnin' Rebels
at UNLV's Thomas & Mack Center - Las Vegas, Nev.
Radio: AM 1290 KZSB in Santa Barbara
On-Line Audio: UCSBgauchos.com 

Game No. 3
Saturday, November 16, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Utah State Aggies
at UCSB's Thunderdome - Santa Barbara, Calif.
Radio: AM 1290 KZSB in Santa Barbara
On-Line Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
On-Line Video: BigWest.tv
Livestats: UCSBgauchos.com

• On The Radio
All UC Santa Barbara basketball games are broadcast live in Santa Barbara on AM 1290 KZSB and will stream live online at UCSBgauchos.com and NewsPress.com. Gerry Fall is in his ninth year as the play-by-play voice of the Gauchos. Former Los Angeles Lakers and UCSB star Don Ford  and Santa Barbara News-Press legend Mark Patton handle the color commentary.

• Talk'n Gauchos
UCSB Athletics' weekly radio show, Talk'n Gauchos, airs every Tuesday from 6-7 p.m. on AM 1290 KZSB. The show is broadcast live from The Beachside Café, located on Goleta Beach and it features UCSB coaches and athletes.  Hosted by Gerry Fall, the voice of the Gauchos.

First Annual Don Ford Throwback Week
This week will be "Blast From The Past Week" for the UCSB men's basketball team. To commemorate the throwback week, the Gauchos will wear really tight shorts and Converse Chuck Taylors, just like color announcer Don Ford did back in the day. Actually, the week will be a trip down memory lane for many UCSB basketball fans, but the current players will not actually be subjected to the tight shorts and canvas shoes. The Gauchos will be playing a pair of games against old-time Big West opponents, both of which are now in the Mountain West Conference. First, they will travel to UNLV to play the Runnin' Rebels on Tuesday night. The Rebels are more than a bit player when it comes to some of the most memorable moments in UCSB basketball history. In fact, the Gauchos were UNLV's final defeat before its march to the 1990 NCAA Championship. On Nov. 16, the Gauchos will host another former nemesis from back in the Big West/Pacific Coast Athletic Association days, Utah State. The two old foes will also battle in Logan, Utah on Dec. 20.

The Gaucho Record
UCSB enters the week with a perfect 1-0 record having defeated Hawaii-Pacific 76-50 in the season opener on Nov. 8. The Gauchos suffered through an injury-marred 2012-13 season and their record reflected it as they finished with an uncharacteristic 11-20 overall mark and a 7-11 record in the Big West Conference.  

Williams In 16th Season at UCSB
2013-14 is Bob Williams' 16th season at the helm of the UCSB basketball program, equaling the longest tenure of any coach in program history.  Willie Wilton guided the Gauchos from 1937-43, 1946-51 and 1952-57, a total of 16 seasons. Jerry Pimm was in charge from 1983-98, 15 seasons.  Williams is the school's all-time leader in coaching victories with 248. His overall record is 249-201 and his teams have qualified for three NCAA Tournaments and six total postseason tournaments. 

He'll Answer To The Name Dean
Bob Williams is not only UCSB's all-time winningest head basketball coach, he is now the Dean of Big West coaches and, with the retirement of Bob Thomason at the University of the Pacific, also has the longest tenure of any coach on the West Coast. Williams, a member of the NCAA Basketball Ethics Committee, also has the longest continuous run at one school of any coach west of the Mississippi, - 16 years - the same as Utah State's Stew Morrill and Texas's Rick Barnes.

Gauchos Picked 2nd In Big West Preseason Media Poll 
UCSB was picked to finish second in the Big West Conference in a poll of the league's media. The Gauchos received six first-place votes and 167 total points while UC Irvine was awarded nine first-place votes and 183 points. Cal Poly was third in the poll with three first-place votes and 165 points and Long Beach State, the three-time defending regular season champion, got five first-place votes and 164 points.

Possible Starters - Quick Fact (Note: These are almost completely guesses.)
G 3 Zalmico Harmon - Had 7 assists and 0 turnovers in opener vs. Hawaii-Pacific.
G 10 Kyle Boswell - Started his first regular season game since mid-season last year vs. HPU.
F 15  Alan Williams - 27 points was most by a Gaucho in an opener since 2006.
G 24 Michael Bryson - Second leading scorer vs. Hawaii-Pacific with 13 points. 
F 34  Shawn Moore - Did not attempt a shot in his 10 minutes vs. Hawaii-Pacific 

Probable Reserves - Quick Fact
G 0   Hunter Ford - Walk-on guard logged 2 minutes vs. Hawaii-Pacific.
G 1 Eric Childress - Had 2 assists and 2 rebounds in 17 minutes vs. HPU.
G 4 Aamahd Walker - Went scoreless in 8 minutes vs. Hawaii-Pacific.
F 11 T.J. Taylor- Had surgery on both hips during offseason and may sit out 2013-14.
F 12 Alex Hart - Canadian sharpshooter will likely redshirt.
F 20 Logan Louks- Scored a basket in his one minute stint vs. Hawaii-Pacific.
F 21 Mitch Brewe - Sprained knee has him sidelined for another couple of weeks.
F 31  John Green - Saw his first regular seaosn game action in nearly 2 years vs. HPU.
G 35 Taran Brown- Was solid off bench in opener: 9 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 steal.
G 43  Duke DaRé - Missed exhibition game and opener with sprained ankle.
F 44  Sam Beeler - Had 5 rebounds, 3 points and 1 block in opener.

Now, The Going Gets Tough
Nothing against Hawaii-Pacific, but now, the waters get a bit rougher for UCSB. After they travel to UNLV (NCAA Tournament in 2013) and host Utah State (Postseason appearances in 14 of last 16 seasons), the Gauchos will travel to Colorado (NCAA Tournament in 2013), host South Dakota State (NCAA Tournament in 2013), travel to UCLA (NCAA Tournament in 2013), host Cal (NCAA Tournament in 2013), travel to San Diego (One of WCC favorites this season), travel to Utah State again on Dec. 20 and then play Western Illinois (22-9 record and College Basketball Invitational in 2013) in Logan, Utah on Dec. 21. Following a break for Christmas, UCSB will travel to play Seattle University on Dec. 30. Indeed, it is a tough road ahead for the Gauchos.

The Opposition
The Gauchos and UNLV have met 38 times over the years and the Runnin' Rebels hold a 29-9 all-time edge. But when the Rebels won a 94-88 double-overtime thriller at the Thunderdome on Nov. 30, 2011, it ended a four-game UCSB winning streak in the series. The last time the programs met in Las Vegas - Dec. 15, 2010 - the Gauchos recorded a 68-62 victory and, in fact, they have won the last two in Sin City, also winning there during the 2006-07 campaign. UCSB and Utah State have played 62 times in a series that began in 1971. The Aggies hold a 39-23 all-time edge, but the Gauchos won the last meeting between the schools 72-64 on Feb. 18, 2012 in Logan. The game was part of the now-defunct ESPNU BracketBusters series.

The Gauchos On The Road
UCSB struggled in true road games in 2012-13. The Gauchos were 3-13 on the road last season and 3-14 in all games away from home. The bright side? Santa Barbara will travel to Las Vegas with a one-game true road winning streak having won at Cal State Northridge in the final road game of last season.

The Gauchos At Home
The Gauchos are 1-0 at home this season and went 8-6 at the Thunderdome in 2012-13. In 2011-12, they had 11 home wins, going 11-3, and equaled the highest Thunderdome win total in more than two decades. In Bob Williams' first 15+ seasons at UCSB, the team has gone 142-58 in home games, a winning percentage of .710. The Gauchos are 303-149 all-time at the Thunderdome.

Gauchos Look To Get Back Into The Black
To say that last season's 11-20 record was uncharacteristic for a UCSB team coached by Bob Williams would be an understatement. Prior to last year, the Gauchos had posted a school-record seven consecutive winning records, winning 20 or more three times over that span and advancing to four postseason tournaments, including NCAA appearances in 2010 and 2011. In 2007-07, Santa Barbara won a school record 23 games.   

Alan Williams Receives Several Preseason Honors 
Junior forward Alan Williams was named Preseason All-Big West in a vote by the media that covers the conference. It was another in a series of preseason honors for the effervescent Phoenix native. Williams has also been selected to the Lou Henson Preseason Mid-Major All-America Team, the CollegeSportsMadness.com Preseason All-America Team and CollegeSportsMadness.com Preseason Big West Player of the Year.

Not Much Turnover
In their season-opening win over Hawaii-Pacific, the Gauchos had just eight turnovers, equaling the season-low from a year ago. Last season, they had a mere eight in a home loss to Cal State Northridge in the team's 18th game. Most impressively, UCSB's starting backcourt of Zalmico Harmon and Kyle Boswell combined for 12 assists and no turnovers. In fact, the team's starting five had 16 assists and just one turnover, that by Alan Williams, but since Williams also had 27 points, 17 reboiunds, two blocks, one steal and one assist, we'll let it slide.   

Boswell Chosen As Senior CLASS Award Finalist
Senior guard Kyle Boswell has been chosen as one of 30 finalists for the NCAA Senior CLASS Award. CLASS is an acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School and Boswell made the finalist list based on his excellence in the areas of classroom, community, character and competition. As a junior, the Huntington Beach native  averaged 13.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. He made a team-high 78 three-point baskets, the third most in school history, and hit as many as seven in a game. Boswell is also a Gaucho team captain, takes part in numerous charitable efforts and possesses a 3.81 grade point average as a mechanical engineering major. Following the 2013 campaign, he was named Honorable Mention All-Big West as well as the conference's Sixth Man of the Year.   

The Honorable Alan Williams
Junior forward Alan Williams was a First Team All-Big West choice in 2012-13 after averaging  17.1 points, 10.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots per game. Early on this season, he has already accumulated a solid array of preseason honors. Williams has been named Preseason All-Big West by the league's media and virtually every publication, he was selected to the Lou Henson Preseason Mid-Major All-American Team and CollegeSportsMadness.com selected him First Team Mid-Major Preseason All-American as well as Preseason Big West Player of the Year. Needless to say, expectations are high for Williams and although he missed several practices with toe and groin issues, he is off to a fast start. Aftger going for 17 points and 11 rebounds in an exhibition game against Cal State East Bay, Williams had 27 points and tied a career-high with 17 rebounds in the regular season opener against Hawaii-Pacific. The 27 points were the most scored by a Gaucho in a season-opener since Alex Harris also scored 27 against Northwestern State in the initial game of the 2007-08 season. It marked the third time in Williams' career that he had 17 rebounds in a game, having done so twice last season. Also, it was his 18th career double-double. He had 15 last season and two as a freshman. In a game at Cal State Northridge on Mar. 2, 2013, he scored a career-high 32 points and had 16 rebounds, becoming the first Gaucho in 30 years to have at least 30 points and 15 rebounds in the same game. Finally, with two blocked shots against Hawaii-Pacific, Williams now has 107 in his career, tied for fifth on UCSB's all-time career list. 

He's The Bos
Guard Kyle Boswell is one of just two seniors on the UCSB roster.  In the season-opening win over Hawaii-Pacific, he had 10 points and five rebounds. All three of Boswell's field goals were from three-point range, giving him 146 in his career and pulling him to within five of entering the school's' all-time top-10 in that category. The five assists that Boswell had were his second-highest total ever, two short of a career-high. As a junior, he averaged 13.0 points and 2.0 rebounds per game, made 78 three-point baskets – the third most in school history –  and following the year was named Honorable Mention All-Big West and Big West Sixth Man of the Year. While he came off the bench in 20 of his 29 games last season, he started both the exhibition game and the opener this year. In addition to his success on the court, Boswell is one of just 30 finalists nationally for the NCAA Senior CLASS Award, which honors the seniors who combine excellence in athletics, academics, leadership and community. He is a 3.81 student majoring in mechanical engineering which is pretty darn good.

It's Getting A Little Easier Being Green
John Green can be excused for being a little rusty in UCSB's season-opener against Hawaii-Pacific. Green played 20 minutes and made 3-of-10 shots overall and 2-for-2 from the free throw line. He had eight points, two rebounds, one assist and a blocked shot. With all due respect to Kermit the Frog, he isn't the only one who has found it tough to be green. The last two years were very trying for UCSB's Green. In 2011-12, after missing the Gauchos' preseason five-game trip to eastern Canada with a broken bone in his right foot, Green rehabilitated and was ready when the team opened the season. In an exhibition game against San Francisco State, he played 19 minutes, scoring 17 points and collecting nine rebounds. In the regular season opener against Chapman, he had five points and two assists in 14 minutes. Near the end of the game against Chapman, however, Green turned to run up court and broke a bone in his left foot, sidelining him for the rest of the year. After another long healing and rehab period, he was again cleared to play only to break the same bone in his left foot, forcing him to miss the 2012-13 season. So, regardless of numbers, just being on the court was a huge plus for Green.

Taran It Up
Sophomore forward Taran Brown came off the bench in the Gauchos' opener against Hawaii-Pacific and he had a solid outing. Brown played 25 minutes and had nine points while collecting eight rebounds, two blocked shots, one steal and one assist. As a freshman last season, he played in all 31 games, starting 29. He averaged 11.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. He was second on the team in three-point baskets with 58, a UCSB freshman record, but he struggled with his shooting over the final five games of the year, hampered by a mask that he was forced to wear after breaking his nose in practice before the Gauchos' game at Hawaii. Brown's role in 2013-14 is still somewhat up in the air. He may be in the starting lineup, but he may also be called on to spark the team off the bench.    

Bryson Hopes To Continue Emergence
Sophomore Michael Bryson had 13 points and made a pair of three-point baskets in UCSB's win over Hawaii-Pacific. In the season finale against Pacific in 2013, Bryson made seven three-point baskets and scored a UCSB freshman record 29 points. As a freshman in 2012-13, the Sacramento native averaged 8.4 points and 3.5 rebounds overall, but his late-season surge saw him average 12.7 points while shooting 47.8% overall and 35.4% from three-point range over the final 11 games of the year. In the final 12 games, Bryson averaged 4.7 rebounds per game. He played in 30 games last season, starting 25.

On Guard, Point Guard That Is
UCSB has a new look at point guard in 2013-14. T.J. Taylor, who started most of the games last season, is expected to redshirt after undergoing off-season hip surgeries. The Gaucho coaches, however, feel pretty comfortable with their options. Junior Zalmico Harmon, a transfer from Ventura College, and freshman Eric Childress out of Leuzinger High School, are both expected to make major contributions. In the opener against Hawaii-Pacific, Harmon scored just two points but most importantly had seven assists and no turnovers in his 23 minutes. The coaching staff also felt that it was his effort on defense that helped UCSB put the game away. Childress logged 17 minutes and had two assists two rebounds one steal and just one turnover. The duo combined for four points, nine assists, four rebounds and a steal.

Dot, Dot, Dot
Sophomore Sam Beeler was limited in UCSB's exhibition game against Cal State East Bay with a sore back, but he was able to go 15 minutes in the opener with three points, five rebounds and a blocked shot...In their combined 40 minutes of action, Beeler and Alan Williams combined for 30 points, 22 rebounds and three blocked shots...While the Gauchos shot 42.1% overall, they did make 19 out of 37 shot from inside the three-point arc, 51.4%...The Gauchos are now 11-5 in season opening games under Bob Williams...Aamahd Walker, like John Green, missed all of last season with an injury. Walker suffered a back injury just two games into the 2012-13 campaign and never returned. He had back surgery in the offseason and was cleared for the start of practice. Walker played eight minutes in his return and had two rebounds and one assist...Walkon guard Logan Louks, a sophomore transfer from Santa Barbara City College, scored his first two career points on a lay-up that was goaltended in the final minute of the game against Hawaii-Pacific...Nine different players played 10 minutes or more for the Gauchos in the season opener and six played 20 or more...The game against Hawaii-Pacific was the 200th game that Bob Williams has coached at UCSB's Thunderdome, more than any other coach in school history...The Gauchos did a nice job of defending the free throw against Hawaii-Pacific, limiting the Sea Warriors to 10-of-22, 45.5%.