Gauchos Travel to Colorado, Williams Questionable for Trip

Taran Brown (Photo by Tony Mastres)

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• This Week
Game No. 4
Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at University of Colorado Buffaloes

at CU's Coors Events Center - Boulder, Colo.
Radio: AM 1290 KZSB in Santa Barbara
On-Line Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
TV: Pac 12 Network - 286 on Cox Cable in Santa Barbara

Game No. 5
Friday, November 29, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. South Dakota State Jackrabbits

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. 

• Tickets Available
Great season ticket packages remain available for UCSB basketball. The remaining home schedule includes Cal, South Dakota State, Long Beach State, Cal Poly and the rest of the Big West Conference. For more information drop by the Ticket Office in the ICA Building on campus, call 805-893-UCSB (8272) or online by clicking here.  

Gauchos Travel To Boulder For First Of Three Against Pac 12 Programs
UC Santa Barbara travels to Boulder, Colo., on Thursday for the first of three games against Pac 12 programs. The Gauchos play the Buffaloes in a game that will tip-off at 5:00 p.m. (PST) and be aired on the Pac 12 Network. After a game against 2013 NCAA Tournament participant South Dakota State, UCSB will play consecutive games against UCLA (Dec. 3) and Cal (Dec. 6). The game against the Golden Bears will be at the Thunderdome and will mark the first time the teams will meet in Santa Barbara since the building was opened on Nov. 30, 1979. Cal will also be the first Pac 12 opponent to play on the Gauchos' home court since Dec. 3, 2002 when USC lost a 69-53 decision.

UCSB Hopes For Alan Williams' Return
UCSB's leading scorer and rebounder Alan Williams came out for warm-ups prior to the game against Utah State on Saturday, took one jump hook and had his back spasm, causing him to miss the entire game. The Gauchos hope for his return this week, but will not have a definitive word prior to Wednesday. In addition to Williams' absence, UCSB is currently without forwards John Green (3-6 weeks with a foot injury) and Mitch Brewe (2-3 weeks with a sprained knee). The loss of Williams forced Santa Barbara to play with just one post player against the Aggies, Sam Beeler. Brewe should be able to play in Colorado.

The Gaucho Record
UCSB enters Thursday's game at Colorado with a 2-1 record. After opening the year with wins over Hawaii-Pacific and at UNLV, the banged-up Gauchos dropped a 71-64 decision to visiting Utah State on Nov. 16.

UCSB Makes First TV Appearance Thursday
The Gauchos will make their first of a guaranteed four television appearances on Thursday when they travel to Colorado. The game against the Buffaloes will be aired on the Pac 12 Network, as will the Dec. 3 game at UCLA. UCSB is also guaranteed to be on Fox Sports Prime Ticket on Jan. 18 at Cal State Northridge and Jan. 25 at Cal State Fullerton. There could also be other appearances as well because ESPN has the option to games during the Big West season.

UCSB Climbs Back But Loses To Utah State, 71-64
Playing shorthanded on Saturday, UCSB fell behind Utah State by 14 points with about a minute left in the first half and things looked bleak but used a 15-0 run, including the first 11 points of the second half, to claim a 40-39 lead with 17:27 left in the game. The Gauchos had their last lead at 44-43 with 15:29 to go, but the Aggies went on a 13-2 spurt to claim a 56-46 lead. UCSB shaved the lead to 67-64 with 30 seconds remaining, but could get no closer. Michael Bryson scored a team-high 15 while Sam Beeler, substituting for Alan Williams added 14. The Gauchos shot 48.0% overall, but made just 10-of-18 free throws, 55.6%, Utah State, on the other hand, hit 42.3% of its field goals, but 89.5% of its free throws. The Aggies also drained 10-of-21 shots from three-point range, 47.6%. UCSB had a mere 10 turnovers in the game.

Possible Starters - Quick Fact (Note: These are almost completely guesses.)
G 3 Zalmico Harmon - Has 13 assists and a mere 1 turnover in the first three games.
G 10 Kyle Boswell - Leads the team with 10 3-pointers and now has 153 in his career.
G 24 Michael Bryson - Led team with 15 points vs. Utah State, adding season-high 4 assists. 
F 34  Shawn Moore - Averaged 5.0 points and 4.0 rebounds in last two games. 
F 44  Sam Beeler - Averaged 9.5 points and 6.0 rebounds in last 2 games.

Probable Reserves - Quick Fact
G 0   Hunter Ford - Walk-on guard logged 2 minutes vs. Hawaii-Pacific.
G 1 Eric Childress - Averaged 8.0 points and 4.5 assists in the last two games.
G 4 Aamahd Walker - Scored his first 4 career points in game vs. Utah State.
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 and has yet to enter a game.
F 15  Alan Williams - Missed game vs. Utah State with back spasms.
F 20 Logan Louks- Scored a basket in his one minute stint vs. Hawaii-Pacific.
F 21 Mitch Brewe - Could return from a sprained knee this week.
F 31  John Green - Injury to left foot has him out 3-6 weeks.
G 35 Taran Brown- Second on the team in rebounding at 7.0 per game.
G 43  Duke DaRé - Missed first 2 games with sprained ankle, returned for 2 minutes vs. USU.

Williams In 16th Season at UCSB, Wins 250th Game 
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 and the win at UNLV on Nov. 12 was his 250th as UCSB's head coach. 

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, 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.

Turning Over A New Leaf, Not The Basketball
UCSB is committing turnovers at an impressive rate. In the game against Utah State, the Gauchos had a season-high 10 turnovers. Last year, they had 10 or fewer turnovers just twice but in three games this season, they have yet to commit more than 10 and have just 27 overall, an average of 9.0 per game. A major reason for the efficient ball handling has been the play of the team's point guard tandem of junior Zalmico Harmon and freshman Eric Childress. Through three games, the duo has combined for 24 assists and just three assists. If you include the Gauchos other most active ball-handler, Kyle Boswell, the combined totals move to 36 assists and five turnovers, still nothing to sneeze at. As a team, UCSB has 52 assists and 27 turnovers, nearly a 2-to-1 ratio.

A Strange New Free Throw World
UCSB made just 10 of its 18 free throw attempts in its loss to Utah State on Nov. 16. How the Gauchos got to 10-of-18 was bizarre, for their standards. Normally reliable Kyle Boswell, who shot over 75.0% in 2012-13, was just 1-for-6 against the Aggies and is now 6-for-14 on the season, 42.9%. The normally slightly less than reliable Sam Beeler, who shot below 35.0% last season, drained 6-of-7 and has now made 10-of-14 on the year, 71.4%. As a team, Santa Barbara has made 65.0% of its free throws through three games while its opponents have hit just 26-of-61, 62.3%. 

The Opposition
UCSB and Colorado have played eight times in a series that began in 1970. Santa Barbara holds a 5-3 advantage in the series, but the teams have not met since Dec. 21, 1996 when the Buffaloes handed the Gauchos a 76-55 defeat in Boulder. According to our records, UCSB and South Dakota State have played one time. The Jackrabbits defeated the Gauchos in an NCAA Tournament game on March 16, 1961 in Evansville, Ind. That year is significant for two reasons: a) it was a really long time ago, and b) it was the year of my birth. That by itself tells you it was a REALLY long time ago. 

The Gauchos On The Road
The Gauchos are 1-0 in road games this season having walloped UNLV in Las Vegas on Nov. 12. They have now won two straight true road games dating to last season. A modest streak, indeed. 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 Gauchos At Home
The Gauchos are 1-1 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 142-59 in home games, a winning percentage of .708. The Gauchos are 303-150 all-time at the Thunderdome.

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 missed the Gauchos' game against Utah State on Nov. 16 with back spasms. It was going to be determined on Wednesday whether he would even make the trip to Boulder, Colo. Lets face it, 6-foot-7, 275 pounds and back spasms don't work well on airplane flights over two hours. 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 this year, 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 he is off to a fast start. Williams had 27 points and a career-high tying 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 2007 and the rebounds were a season-opening record. Williams followed-up that performance with an equally as impressive 21 point, nine rebound, three blocked shot game against defending Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year Khem Birch and UNLV. With 26 rebounds in the first two games of the year, the Phoenix native has eclipsed the 500 rebound barrier with 521. Also, with five blocked shots in the first two games, Williams now has 110 in his career, fifth in school history. The double-double he posted in the first game of the season gives Williams 18 in his career. He had 15 double-doubles as a sophomore last season, the most by a Gaucho since Eric McArthur had 23 during the 1989-90 campaign.

He's The Bos
Guard Kyle Boswell had 11 points and three assists in 33 minutes against Utah State. With Alan William sidelined, Boswell and his fellow perimeter players found open shots to be a rare commodity. He made 2-of-6 shots from three-point range and has now hit 10-of-20 overall, 50.0%. Boswell had one of the best all-around games of his career in the Nov. 12 win at UNLV. He made 5-of-8 shots, including 5-of-7 from three-point range while adding four assists and three rebounds. At one point, he made three-point baskets on three consecutive Gaucho possessions, squelching a Runnin' Rebel rally. With 10 three-point baskets in the first two games, Boswell has 153 for his career, a figure that ranks 10th on UCSB's all-time career list. Also, he has lifted his career percentage to .431, just behind Johnson's .436. His next series of targets on the three-point list are Mark Flick (162) and Branduinn Fullove (163). Until the game against Utah State, Boswell had yet to make a two-point basket this season and he has attempted just one, but his all-around game has never been better.  He made two against the Aggies. Through three contests, he is second on the team in assists with 12, 4.0 per game. The 12 assists are the most Boswell has had over a three-game span in his career. The reigning Big West Conference Sixth Man of the Year, has started all three games for the Gauchos this year. It marks the first time that the Huntington Beach native has started three consecutive games since November of 2012. Finally, Boswell is one of the final 30 candidates for the NCAA's Senior CLASS Award which recognizes excellence in the classroom, community, court and leadership.

Bryson Hopes To Continue Emergence
Sophomore Michael Bryson played a season-high 33 minutes and led the Gauchos with a season-high 15 points in the game against Utah State. Bryson improved his scoring average to 12.3 points per game, third on the team. He also tied a career-high with four assists and had a pair of blocked shots against the Aggies, one more than he had in the season's first two games combined. Because of foul trouble, Bryson was limited to 21 minutes on Nov. 12 at UNLV, but he did chip-in nine points, four rebounds and one assist.  He ranks second on the team in three-point baskets with six and he made a season-high three in the last game. Last year, in the season finale against Pacific at the Big West Tournament, 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.

Taran It Up
Sophomore forward Taran Brown averaged just under 11 shots per game as a freshman in 2012-13, but through three games this season he has totaled just 12 field goal attempts. In the game against Utah State, Brown took just one shot, a three-pointer, and he made it. As a freshman, he had a season-low one attempt while wearing a bulky mask to protect a broken nose in a game at Cal State Northridge. Brown has come off the bench in each of the Gauchos' first three games after starting 29 of 31 last season. He is averaging 6.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game in 24.7 minutes. Also, while he is only shooting 37.5% from three-point range, he made 3-of-4 in the last two games after going 0-for-4 in the season opener against Hawaii-Pacific. Brown scored a season-high nine in the win over Sea Warriors and added eight in the victory at UNLV. 

Green Sidelined 3-6 Weeks
John Green scored eight points and had a pair of rebounds in his season debut against Hawaii-Pacific on Nov. 8. It was Green's first regular season game in nearly two years. However, on Tuesday, Nov. 12, just a few hours before UCSB was slated to tip-off at UNLV, It was learned that Green had suffered a setback in his return after missing two full seasons with foot injuries. An x-ray, taken Nov. 7, showed a very small fracture of a bone in his left foot, sidelining him for 3-6 weeks, meaning that the team's emotional leader and one of its best players, will miss somewhere between five to 11 games. He has now missed two games and will not play in Colorado.

Harmonious
Junior Zalmico Harmon is off to a very good start as UCSB's starting point guard. A transfer from Ventura College, Harmon leads the team in assists at 4.3 per game, and he has just one  turnover in 75 minutes of play. In the win at UNLV, he scored a personal-best nine points, had two assists and one steal and on Saturday against Utah State, he had six points, four assists and a steal. He also played a personal-high of 29 minutes. A stout defender, Harmon has also been a key part of a Gaucho team that has allowed its first three opponents to make just 61-of-163 field goal attempts, 37.4%.

Chillin' With Eric
Freshman Eric Childress has joined Zalmico Harmon as the Gauchos new point guard duo. Childress had two consecutive standout games. In the win at UNLV he made 2-of-3 field goal attempts, including his only three-point shot, finishing with nine points, four assists, two steals and a rebound in 19 minutes. Against Utah State, he had seven points, four rebounds and a career-high five assists and two steals. Through three games, Childress leads the team with five steals. He is averaging 6.0 points, 3.7 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game.

Sam I Am
Sam Beeler played a career-high 28 minutes in the Gauchos' game against Utah State. He scored 14 points, one shy of his career-high, and added five rebounds. One game earlier, a win at UNLV, Beeler had a career-high seven rebounds. In the last two games, he has averaged 9.5 points and 6.0 rebounds per game while making 6-of-10 shots, 60.0%, and 7-of-10 free throws, 70.0%.

We Want Moore! We Want Moore! 
Senior Shawn Moore had the game of his career at UNLV and then followed it up with another solid effort vs. Utah State. Originally a walk-on from Butte College, Moore played a career-high 28 minutes against the Runnin' Rebels and responded with career-highs of six points and five rebounds. In the game against the Aggies, he was forced to play out of position at the five spot, but in 15 minutes he had four points, three rebounds and an assist. 

Something's Brewing
Sophomore Mitch Brewe is expected to make his return to the lineup when the Gauchos play at Colorado. Brewe has missed the first three regular season games after spraining his left knee in the exhibition game against Cal State East Bay. He will give UCSB another able-body in the post. As a freshman, Brewe averaged 2.6 points and 2.3 rebounds per game before missing the final 12 games with a broken thumb.