Gauchos Host The Master's College Saturday in Final Non-Conference Tune-Up

Alan Williams (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Alan Williams (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

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• Coming Up
Game No. 13
Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 4:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. The Master's College

at UCSB's Thunderdome - Santa Barbara, Calif.
Radio: AM 1290 KZSB in Santa Barbara
On-Line Audio:
On-Line Video:

Game No. 14
Saturday, January 11, 2014 at 4:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Cal Poly Mustangs

at UCSB's Thunderdome - Santa Barbara, Calif.
Radio: AM 1290 KZSB in Santa Barbara
On-Line Audio:
On-Line Video:

• 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 and Gerry Fall is in his 10th 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. As a special holiday treat, Bill Mahoney, UCSB's Assistant Athletics Director for Communications, will handle the color duties for the tournament in Utah.

• 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 seats are available for all Gaucho home games. For more information drop by the Ticket Office in the ICA Building on campus, call 805-893-UCSB (8272) or online by clicking here.  

The Gaucho Record
UCSB enters its final non-conference game of the season with a record of 8-4. The Gauchos have won two straight and five of their last six games, including an easy 86-70 victory at Seattle University on Monday. Santa Barbara has played its last five games away from home and has gone 4-1 in those games. The only loss over that span, and the last six games, was in overtime at Utah State on Dec. 20. 

Gauchos Get One More Tune-Up
UCSB hosts The Master's College on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014 at 4:00 p.m. The game against the Mustangs will be the Gauchos' final tune-up before the beginning of Big West play. UCSB will open league on Saturday, Jan. 11 when it hosts Cal Poly in a Blue-Green Rivalry Series game. The game against the Mustangs will also tip-off at 4:00 p.m. 

UCSB Off To Best Start In Six Seasons
UCSB has jumped out of the gates with an 8-4 record. The Gauchos' only losses have come to Utah State (once in overtime on the road and once without Alan Williams), at UCLA and at Colorado. The eight-point loss at Colorado, also occurred in the absence of Williams. Through 12 games in 2012-13, Santa Barbara was the exact opposite of 8-4 at 4-8. The last time the Gauchos had a better 12-game start than they have had this season was in 2007-08 when they were 10-2 en route to a Big West regular season title and a school record 23 overall wins.

Jan. 16 Long Beach Game Moved To 8:00 PM
UCSB's Jan. 16 home game against Long Beach State, originally scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at the Thunderdome, has been moved to 8:00 p.m. to accommodate ESPNU which will televise the game live. The Gauchos and 49ers have met for the league crown three of the last four years.

Possible Starters - Quick Fact (Note: These are almost completely guesses.)
G 3 Zalmico Harmon - Made a career-high 11 free throws, in 12 attempts, in the win at Seattle.
G 35 Taran Brown- Has scored just 19 points in the last five games combined, 3.8 per game.
F 21 Mitch Brewe - In return to his hometown, made all three field goal attempts for six points and four rebounds at Seattle.
F 15  Alan Williams - Leads the Big West Conference in scoring (23.5 ppg,) rebounding (10.6 rpg) and is second in blocked shots (2.8 bpg).
G 24 Michael Bryson - Has gone 4-for-17 in two games since returning from a one-game absence with a sore back.

Probable Reserves - Quick Fact
G 1 Eric Childress - Tied his career-high with 10 points, all from the free  throw line, in the win at Seattle.
G 4 Aamahd Walker - Made his only shot in five minutes at Seattle.
G 10 Kyle Boswell - Made 5-of-6 threes at Seattle and is now 38-of-76 for the season, 50.0%.
F 31  John Green - Injury to left foot has him sideline, most likely, until mid-to-late January.
F 34  Shawn Moore - Tied his career-high with two free throws at Seattle.
F 44  Sam Beeler - Has made 16-of-24 free throw attempts, 66.7%, after hitting just 11 out of 32, 34.4%, as a freshman.

The Opposition
UCSB and The Master's College will be meeting for the second time. The teams met for the first time on Nov. 17, 2012 with the Gauchos recording an 80-60 win at the Thunderdome. UCSB and Cal Poly have played one-million games in a series that dates back to 1756. Actually, the Gauchos and Mustangs have played just 101 times, it just feels like a million. Santa Barbara holds a 69-32 all-time edge in a the series that began in 1937. Last year, the team's split a pair of games with each winning on its home floor. Cal Poly won 67-49 on Feb. 6, 2013 at Mott Gym, and UCSB won 83-81 in double overtime at the Thunderdome on Jan. 19, 2013. In the Gauchos' win, Alan Williams injured his knee early in the first half and did not return for two weeks. Santa Barbara has won six of the last seven and 11 of 13 in the series.

The Gauchos At Home
The Gauchos are 3-0 at home this season after going 8-6 at the Thunderdome in 2012-13. After opening with a win over Hawaii-Pacific, UCSB played without leading scorer and rebounder Alan Williams and dropped a game to visiting Utah State. The Gauchos will enter their game against The Master's College with a two-game home winning streak. On Nov. 29 they beat South Dakota State by a score of 83-64 and in their last outing, they recorded one of the best home victories in several years, 72-65 over Cal.

Gauchos Picked 2nd In Big West Preseason Media Poll 
As Big West play opens we need to look back on where the Gauchos were picked to finish in 2014. Back in November, 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.

Turnovers Still A Bright Spot
Although UCSB had 12 turnovers in its win at Seattle on Dec. 30, several came in the final minutes when the game was already decided and the Redhawks were defending with an all-out trap. Still, 12 turnovers would have been a good result last season. In the three games prior to the game in Seattle, the Gauchos totaled 23 turnovers, 7.7 per game. They had fewer than 10 in all three games, the longest streak since the 2001-02 season. This year, UCSB is averaging just 10.8 turnovers per game with a Big West-leading 1.55-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. The Gauchos have had fewer than 10 turnovers six times in 12 games, including a season-low five in an overtime game at Utah State on Dec. 20. 

The Magic Number
UCSB has allowed fewer than 70 points seven times in 2013-14 and has gone 7-0 in those games. In the win at Seattle, the Gauchos allowed exactly 70 points and won. It was the first time they have won a game when allowing 70 or more, losing the other four. 

Gauchos Finding The Touch At The Line
UCSB enters the game against The Master's College shooting 71.9% from the free throw line, marking the first time this year that the Gauchos are over 70.0%. In the win at Seattle, they drained 34-of-39 shots from the stripe, 87.2%, all season-highs. In the second half alone against the Redhawks, they were 30-of-33 from the line, 90.9%. In the last three games, Santa Barbara has attempted 84 free throws and made 68, 81.0%. 

The Honorable Alan Williams
Junior forward Alan Williams leads the Big West Conference in scoring at 23.5 points per game and rebounding at 10.6 per game. He is second in blocked shots at 2.8 per contest. Williams scoring average ranks him sixth in the nation while his rebounding averaged is tied for seventh. He has scored 20 or more points in each of the last three games and eight times in his 10 games this season. Williams had 27 points, eight rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots in the Dec. 30 win at Seattle. The week before that, he was named to the Basketball Travelers Classic All-Tournament Team at Utah State average averaging 21 points, 12 rebounds and 3.3 blocks over the three games. Williams recorded a pair of double-doubles in at the tourney and enters this week with four on the season and 21 in his career. He is the only Gaucho player to score in double-figures in every game he has played this season, Williams is a two-time Big West Player of the Week honoree. He was named Player of the Week for the first time the week he tied UCSB school records with 39 points and eight blocked shots in a Nov. 29 win over South Dakota State. The scoring record is co-owned by Orlando Johnson (currently with the Indiana Pacers) and Scott Fisher (currently an assistant coach at Hawaii). The blocked shot mark is shared by Greg Somogyi (currently playing professionally in Hungary). In addition to the double-doubles he had at Utah State, Williams had 24 points and 12 rebounds in UCSB's Dec. 6 win over Cal, the Gauchos' first-ever win over the Golden Bears, and he had 27 points and 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 record for a season-opener. He followed-up that performance with an equally impressive 21 point, nine rebound, three blocked shot game against defending Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year Khem Birch and UNLV. He has eclipsed the 600 rebound barrier with 601 and ranks 11th in school history. He needs just 12 to move into the top-10. In addtion, with 922 career points, he is just 78 away from becoming the 26th player in school history to eclipse 1,000.  Williams was 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 selected him Big West Player of the Year. 

He's The Bos
Kyle Boswell, the reigning Big West Sixth Man of the Year, started the first five games of this season and averaged 9.6 points per game over that span. Boswell has come off the bench in the last seven games, averaging 14.4 per game. Overall, he is averaging 12.4 points per game. On Monday at Seattle, he scored 19 points on 7-of-9 from the field overall and a blazing 5-of-6 from three-point range. Boswell is now making 50.0% of his threes (38-of-76). In the seven games in which he has come off the bench, he has gone 26-of-47 from outside the arc, 55.3%. The previous week, he was named to the Basketball Travelers Classic All-Tournament team as the Gauchos won two out of three games. In the second game of the tourney, he tied career-highs with 27 points and seven three-point baskets in an overtime loss to Utah State. Boswell has 181 career three-point baskets, eighth all-time. He needs just 16 to move into third and his career percentage of 44.8%  ranks as the best in UCSB history. Also, he is the only Gaucho to make at least one three in all 12 games and he's made two or more 10 times, three or more six times and five or more four times. Finally, in addition to his three-point marksmanship, Boswell is second on the team in assists at 3.8 per game and he's had four or more nine times, including four of the last five games.

The Life Of Bryson
After sitting out the game at Utah State with a sore back, Michael Bryson returned to the lineup in the  Dec. 21 game against Western Illinois with 11 points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals. On Monday at Seattle, he made just 1-of-6 shots, had three points and four rebounds in 22 minutes. In the two games since returning from the back issues, Bryson has made 4-of-17 field goal attempts overall and 2-of-10 from three-point range. In two games prior to missing the game against USU, he was 6-for-9 from outside the arc, 66.7%. Despite his recent struggles, he is still averaging 11.0 points per game, third on the team. He is also second on the team with 23 three-pointers and he is shooting 43.4% from outside the arc. He has scored in double-figures seven times in his 11 games and he's made at least one three-pointer in all 11. He had a season-high 21 in the Dec. 15 win at San Diego when he was 5-for-8 from three-point range and added four rebounds. The five threes were a season-high and for his efforts, the sophomore from Sacramento was named Big West Player of the Week. On Dec. 3 at UCLA, Bryson collected the first double-double of his career with 15 points and 10 rebounds. He also set a career-high with five assists against the Bruins. Last year, in the season finale against Pacific at the Big West Tournament, Bryson made seven three-point baskets and scored 29 points. The scoring total was a new record for a freshman and the seven three-pointers tied the UCSB freshman record. 

Taran It Up
Taran Brown has struggled on the offensive end in four of the last five games. While he is averaging 8.1 points per game overall, he totaled just seven in the last three games and 19 in the last five. In the Gauchos' last game in Seattle, Brown was 2-for-7 from the field and scored four points. He did add five rebounds in his 28 minutes. While he is shooting 45.7% overall, Brown has made just 3-of-15 field goal attempts in the last three games, 20.0%.  He is fourth on the team in scoring and second in rebounding at 4.8 per game. His 17 three-point baskets rank him third behind Kyle Boswell and Michael Bryson, Prior to the last five games Brown had a run of four straight games in double-figures. Over that stretch, which included games at Colorado and UCLA and at home against Cal and South Dakota State, he averaged 14.5 points and made 23-of-40 shots, 57.5%. In the Nov. 21 game at Colorado, he scored a career-high 23 and made a career-high seven three-point baskets (in 10 attempts). Brown also had one of his best overall games in UCSB's first-ever win over Cal. Against the Golden Bears, he tied his season-high with 35 minutes played. He finished with 14 points, six rebounds, four blocked shots, one assist and one steal.

Junior Zalmico Harmon remains the Big West leader in assists at 5.2 per game and he is second to Kyle Boswell in assist-to-turnover ratio at 3.6-to-1. In the Gauchos' win at Seattle, Harmon had 13 points, one shy of his season-high. He did much of his damage from the free throw line where he was 11-of-12. He also added five assists and a steal. While Harmon is averaging 7.3 points per game, his shooting touch has been off in recent games. In the last four contests, three of which were wins, he has made just 4-of-27 field goal attempts, 14.8%. He is also 1-for-10 from three-point range over that span. On Dec. 6 vs. Cal, Harmon had nine points and a career-high 10 assists in UCSB's win over Cal. In the Gauchos' Nov. 29 game against South Dakota State, he tallied a career-high 14 points and added eight assists. For the season, Harmon has a mere 17 turnovers in 374 minutes, an average of one turnover every 22 minutes. In eight wins, he has 46 assists and seven turnovers, an 6.6-to-1 ratio.

Freshman Eric Childress attempted just one field goal but tied his career-high with 10 points in UCSB's win at Seattle. In 20 minutes, Childress was 10-of-12 from the free throw line. He also added four assists and tied his career-high with four rebounds. He is averaging 5.5 points per game, but since going scoreless in three straight, he has averaged 7.6 per game in the last five games, four of which were wins. Childress also had a career-high 10 points and six assists on Nov. 21 at Colorado. He matched the six assists vs. South Dakota State on Nov. 29. In addition to what he's done on the offensive end, he leads the team in steals with 18, six more than the next closest Gaucho and he's had at least one steal in 10 of 12 games.

Something's Brewing
Sophomore Mitch Brewe returned home to Seattle on Monday and had a solid effort. Brewe, who attended Seattle Prep, had six points and four rebounds in 15 minutes against the Redhawks. He made all three of his field goal attempts in the game. The six points were one short of Brewe's season-high of seven on Dec. 15 at San Diego. Also, in the game against the Toreros, he hit his first career three-pointer. On Dec. 6 vs. Cal, he finished with six points and a season-high six rebounds, three on the offensive end, in a season-high 28 minutes. In addition, Brewe had a momentum-changing block when he stuffed Richard Solomon on a dunk attempt with just over seven minutes to play. In the last six games, five of which have been wins, Brewe has averaged 3.9 points and 3.9 rebounds per game while making 10-of-17 field goal attempts, 58.8%.

Sam He Is
Sam Beeler is averaging 3.3 points and 2.1 rebounds per game. He scored a season-high 14 points on Nov. 16 vs. Utah State, but in nine games since, he has scored just 18, 2.0 per game. He had five or more rebounds in each of the first three games this season, including a career-high seven on Nov. 12 at UNLV. Since collecting 17 boards in his first three games, Beeler has eight in the last nine games. As a freshman, he hit just 11-of-32 from the line, 34.4%, but this season he is 16-of-24, 66.7%.

We Want Moore! We Want Moore! 
Since going scoreless in four straight games, Shawn Moore has scored in each of the last three games, totaling nine over that span. Also, since playing a total of 14 minutes over a three-game span, he has averaged 14 per game in the last four. Moore is averaging 2.4 points  and 1.8 rebounds per contest. He had a career-high six points on Nov. 12 at UNLV and again on Nov. 21 at Colorado. 

Green Still On Hold
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, before UCSB was to tip-off at UNLV, It was learned that Green had a very small fracture of a bone in his left foot, sidelining him, most likely, until late-January.