2nd-Seeded Gauchos Travel to Anaheim for Big West Tournament, Play Cal Poly on Thursday at Noon

Michael Bryson (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Michael Bryson (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

• Coming Up
Game No. 30
Thursday, March 13, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. (noon)
Big West Tournament First Round
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Cal Poly Mustangs

at Honda Center - Anaheim, Calif.
Radio: AM 1290 KZSB in Santa Barbara
On-Line Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
TV: Fox Sports Prime Ticket

Gauchos Earn No. 2 Seed At Big West Tournament 
UCSB will enter the 2014 Big West Tournament as the No. 2 seed behind top-seeded UC Irvine. The Gauchos finished second in the conference's regular season standings, one game behind the Anteaters and two games ahead of Long Beach State. The last time they were seeded as highly was in 2010 when they entered as the No. 1 seed and proceeded to win the tournament.

The Gaucho Record
UCSB enters its Big West Tournament game again Cal Poly with an overall record of 21-8. The Gauchos finished the Big West Conference season with three straight wins and a 12-4 league mark. UCSB and Cal Poly are no strangers and a Big West Conference record of 11-4. The Gauchos are coming off of an 86-77 home win over Hawai'i on Thursday night and have now won two straight, four of five and eight of their last 10.

Alan Williams Is Sixth Gaucho To Earn Player Of The Year Honor
Junior Alan Williams was named Big West Player of the Year and First Team All-Big West on Monday. The Phoenix, Ariz., native enters the postseason as the league's leading scorer (21.6 points per game) and rebounder (11.6 per game). In fact, Williams leads the nation in rebounding and is 12th in scoring. He has 15 double-doubles in 27 games and he set a new conference record by being named Big West Player of the Week on six occasions in one season. He also earned the honor twice as a freshman and his career total of eight Player of the Week awards ties UC Irvine's Jerry Green for that mark as well. Williams is the sixth UCSB player to be named Big West Player of the Year. He joins Brian Shaw (1988), Lucius Davis (1992), Branduinn Fullove (2003), Alex Harris (2008) and Orlando Johnson (2010). 

Harmon, Bryson, Boswell Also Earn Big West Accolades
In addition to Alan Williams, Zalmico Harmon, Michael Bryson and Kyle Boswell all earned Big West Conference accolades. Harmon was named Honorable Mention All-Big West and he earned the league's Hustle Award, Bryson was selected Honorable Mention All-Big West and Boswell repeated as the Big West's Sixth Man of the Year.

What A Difference A Year Makes 
In 2012-13, UCSB battled injuries and youth and it showed in the team's overall record. Last season, the Gauchos struggled to an 11-20 overall record. This year, at 21-8, they have won 10 more games than they did last season and lost 12 fewer. The 10 win improvement is the largest from one season to the next in school history. Previously the biggest jump was from 1997-98 to 1998-99 when UCSB went from seven wins to 15, and eight-win improvement.

Possible Starters - Quick Fact
G 3 Zalmico Harmon - Has 68 assists and 6 turnovers in last 13 games, a span of 406 minutes...Ranks 2nd nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio at 4.69-to-1.
G 35 Taran Brown- Attempted just 13 shots in 77 minutes over the final 3 games...Made a pair of threes in regular season finale and has 2 or more 12 times.
F 21 Mitch Brewe - Has made 4 of his last 6 three-point attempts, 66.7%, and 21 of his last 23 free throw attempts, 91.3%.
F 15  Alan Williams - Leads the Big West in scoring (21.6 points per game) and rebounds (11.6 per game)...Has 15 double-doubles this year, 32 in career.
G 24 Michael Bryson - Scored in double-figures in last 5 regular season games (14.0 ppg) making 25-of-47 from the field, 53.2%, and 10-of-15 threes, 66.7%.

Probable Reserves - Quick Fact
G 1 Eric Childress - 93 assists are 2nd most by a Gaucho freshman ever...28 steals are the 4th most by a freshman in UCSB history.
G 4 Aamahd Walker - Played just 4 minutes in Big West Conference games.
G 10 Kyle Boswell - Averaged 16 points in last 2 games, making 10-of-16 overall (62.5%) and 6-of-10 threes (60.0%)...Has 216 career three-pointers, 3rd in school history.
F 31  John Green - Played in 2 games upon returning from foot injury and then fractured his wrist in practice and will miss the remainder of the season.
F 34  Shawn Moore - Scored 2 points in each of the last 4 games...Had 4 rebounds in regular season finale, one shy of his career-high.
F 44  Sam Beeler - Had 5 points in finale vs. Cal Poly, highest total since he scored 10 on Jan. 18 at Cal State Northridge...Also had 2 blocked shots vs. Mustangs.

UCSB-Cal Poly
Santa Barbara and Cal Poly began their series in 1937 and have played 103 times. The teams split a pair of games this season. The Mustangs defeated the Gauchos 72-64 on Jan. 11 at the Thunderdome and UCSB won 71-55 in the Mar. 8 regular season finale in San Luis Obispo. Santa Barbara holds the all-time advantage with a 70-33 record. 

The Gauchos On The Road
The Gauchos went 9-5 in true road games this season and 11-5 overall in games away from home. They have won four of their last five games on the road, losing only to UC Irvine on Feb. 27. Prior to the loss to the Anteaters, UCSB had won at two of the Big West's toughest road venues, Hawaii and Long Beach State. The Gauchos have won eight of their last 10 games away from the Thunderdome and the 11 wins away from home are eight more than UCSB won all of last season. 

UCSB Gets Back To 20 Wins 
The Mar. 6 win over Hawai'i was the Gauchos 20th of the season. 2014 marks the third time in the last five seasons and the fourth time in the last seven that UCSB has won 20 or more games. In all, six Bob Williams-coached Gaucho teams have won 20 or more games. Finally, there have now been 12 20-win teams in the program's history.

He'll Answer To The Name Dean
Bob Williams is UCSB's all-time winningest head basketball coach, he is the Dean of Big West coaches and he has the longest tenure of any coach on the West Coast. Williams is completing his 16th season at UCSB, the same continuous run as Utah State's Stew Morrill and Texas's Rick Barnes.  

UCSB Ranked 16th In Mid-Major Poll
UCSB enters the week ranked 16th in the latest CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top-25. The Gauchos jumped one spot after sweeping a pair of games last week. They moved into the No. 10 spot in the poll four weeks ago and it was the first time since December of 2007 that they were ranked in the top-10. UC Irvine is currently No. 14 in the poll. Unbeaten Wichita State is ranked first.

Williams Sets Big West Record, Named Player Of The Week For Sixth Time
UCSB junior Alan Williams was named Big West Player of the Week on Monday. It was the sixth time this season he earned the award, surpassing the single-season record previously set by Michael Olowokandi of Pacific (1997-98) and Aaron Nixon of Long Beach State (2006-07). Williams was selected Player of the Week twice as a sophomore and he has also tied UC Irvine's Jerry Green for the career record with eight .

Williams Reclaims NCAA Rebound Lead
Alan Williams had 10 rebounds in the regular season finale against Cal Poly and is now averaging 11.6 rebounds per game, first in all of NCAA Division I. Williams narrowly leads Jerrelle Benimon of Towson who is averaging 11.5 boards per game. The only other Gaucho player ever to rank among the top-five in rebounding average at the NCAA Division I level was Eric McArthur who finished third in 1990 at 13.0 per game

When The Gauchos Are Whole...
At 21-8, UCSB has clearly had a pretty good year, but when they are whole, they are even better. When the Gauchos have essentially their entire roster available to play, not including John Green, they have gone 21-5. Two of the three losses (Nov. 16 vs. Utah State and Nov. 21 at Colorado) came when they played without Big West Player of the Year Alan Williams. A third defeat, Dec. 20 in overtime at Utah State, occurred when Santa Barbara played without its second-leading scorer, Michael Bryson. 

Ranking The Season...Statistically
The 2013-14 Gauchos have had an impact on the school's single-season top-10 statistical lists. This year's UCSB team ranks among the top-10 in four statistical categories. It is second all-time in blocked shots with 140, fourth all-time in assists with 467, tied for fifth all-time in scoring margin at +7.2 and ninth all-time in points scored with 2,099.

Williams-Bryson Join One-Two Punch Top-10
Alan Williams (582 points) and Michael Bryson (315 points) have combined to score 897 points this season. In the Mar. 8 game at Cal Poly, the duo combined for 36 points and in the process passed Mark Hull and Branduinn Fullove (893 points in 2001-02) to become the 10th-highest scoring duo in school history. Their next target is the combination of Lucius Davis and Gary Gray which scored 928 points in 1990-91. Carrick DeHart and Eric McArthur combined for 929 points in 1989-90.

The Return Of The Three-Pointer
The Gauchos finished the Big West season leading the league in three-point field goal percentage and their final two games didn't hurt that standing one iota. While they enter postseason play shooting 38.7% from beyond the three-point arc, they made 10-of-16 and 9-of-16 in their final two games against Hawai'i and Cal Poly respectively. In the two contests, they drilled a combined 19 out of 32 three-point attempts, 59.4%. UCSB's 62.5% mark in the Mar. 6 game against the Rainbow Warriors was the second-highest single-game percentage this season. On Nov. 12, they made 9-of-14 three-pointers in an 86-65 win at UNLV for a season-best 64.3%.

A Magic Number
UCSB has allowed fewer than 70 points 19 times in the first 29 games of the 2013-14 season, going 19-0 in the process. The Gauchos have held 11 of their last 15 opponents under the 70-point barrier and, to the surprise of nobody, they've gone 11-0 in those games. 

Margin Call
UCSB defeated Cal Poly by 16 points on Mar. 8. It was the Gauchos' 14th double-digit margin of victory this season. On the flip side, they have been beaten by 10 or more points just twice, losing by 13 at UCLA on Dec. 3 and by 11 at UC Irvine on Feb. 27.

Turnover Turnaround
Among the major differences between the 2012-13 Gauchos and this year's version is turnovers. Last season, UCSB committed 446 miscues in 31 games, an average of 14.4 per game while this year's team has just 322 turnovers in 29 games, an average of 11.1 per game. Finally, whereas last year the Gauchos had 10 or few turnovers three times, this year they done so on 15 occasions.

Alan Williams
Junior forward Alan Williams was named 2014 Big West Player of the Year, First Team All-Big West and USBWA All-District IX after completing the regular season as the league's leading scorer at 21.6 points per game and its leading rebounder at 11.6 boards per game. He is the first player to lead the league in scoring and rebounds since Christian Maraker of Pacfic did so in 2005-06. It was the second time in as many years that he has been named First Team All-Big West. He also enters tournament play as the leading rebounder in the nation and he ranks 12th in scoring. Williams capped his junior season by being selected Big West Player of the Week for an unprecedented sixth time this season, a new league record. He has now earned the award eight times, tying a conference mark. A native of Phoenix, Williams is having one of the finest seasons in UCSB history and he has moved into the top-10 in nine different significant statistical categories. Please note the box to the right for specifics, but also note that he is the only player in school history to rank among the single-season top-10 in points, rebounds and blocked shots in the same season. In addition, he has produced 15 double-doubles on the season and now has 32 in his career. In the Mar. 8 regular season finale at Cal Poly, he scored 23 points and now has 1,269 in his career, the 12th most in school history. In that same game, Williams had 10 rebounds and became just the fourth player in school history to surpass the 800 rebound mark. He enters postseason play with 807 boards, the third most ever, and he needs just 23 to move into second all-time. In the last 10 games, Williams has averaged 13.2 rebounds per game, propelling him into the top spot in the nation. The recent 10-game surge began on Feb. 1 against UC Davis when Williams had 27 points and 20 rebounds. It was the first time a Gaucho player had recorded a 20-point, 20-rebound game since Eric McArthur had 28 points and 21 rebounds in a Jan. 29, 1990 overtime win over Cal State Fullerton. In fact, Williams' 20/20 performance was the first in regulation by a Gaucho since McArthur had 24 points and 20 rebounds in a Dec. 9, 1989 game against Loyola Marymount. Williams has had 10 or more rebounds 16 times this season and 15 or more nine times. Offensively, he completed the regular season with a 23 point performance against Cal Poly and has now scored in double-figures 26 times in 27 games. The only exception was an eight-point game on Mar. 1 when he fouled out in just 16 minutes. Williams has scored 20 or more 18 times and 25 or more on seven occasions. On Nov. 29 he set a career-high and tied the school record for points in a game when he poured in 39 against South Dakota State. Williams tied a record previously held by Orlando Johnson and Scott Fisher. When he had 33 points and 15 rebounds on Jan. 11 vs. Cal Poly it marked the second time in his career that he had at least 30 points and 15 rebounds in a game. Last season, he had 32 points and 16 rebounds in a win at Cal State Northridge and in doing so, he became the first Gaucho since 1990 to produce such a game. In terms of his career, Williams enters postseason play with 1,269 points, the 12th most in UCSB history. In addition to points and rebounds, he is scaling the school's lists in blocked shots as well. Not only does his season total of 66 rank third, but so too does his career total of 169. In the same Nov. 29 win over South Dakota State in which he tied the school record for points in a game, Williams tied the record for blocked shots in a game with eight. He has had at least one block in 25 of his 27 games, two or more 19 times and five or more on four occasions. In November, Williams missed games against Utah State and Colorado with back spasms, but he still completed the regular season having logged 840 minutes, the second most on the team. He is averaging 31.1 minutes per outing, just under half a minute more than his next closest teammate, Zalmico Harmon who is averaging 30.7 minutes per game. In all, Williams has played 30 or more minutes 20 times, 35 or more eight times and he registered a career-high 40 minutes in an overtime game at Utah State on Dec. 20.

Kyle Boswell
Senior Kyle Boswell was named Big West Sixth Man of the Year for the second straight year after finishing the regular season averaging 10.7 points, 2.7 assists and 1.8 rebounds per game. After starting the first five games of the season, he came off the bench in the final 24 and averaged 11.0 points over that span. Boswell enters the postseason on a role, scoring 16.0 points per game in the final two regular season games, both wins, while making 10-of-16 field goals overall, 62.5%, and 6-of-10 from three-point range, 60.0%. On the season, he is now shooting 43.7% from beyond the arc, 11th in the nation. Boswell has 73 three-point baskets on the season, tied for the sixth most in school history. He also has 216 threes in his career, one behind Mark Hull for second on the school's all-time list and five back of James Powell for the all-time record. His career three-point percentage of 43.0% is the second best in school history. Boswell tied his career-highs with seven three-point baskets and 27 points on Dec. 20 at Utah State. He previously set his three-point best at San Diego State and his scoring mark at Hawai'i, both during his junior season. He has made at least one three-point basket in five straight games and 27 times in 28 games this season. Boswell has two or more 20 games, three or more 13 times and four or more seven times. Boswell has now scored in double-figures in three of the last five games and 18 times on the season. He also enters postseason play with 925 career points and needs just 25 to become the 27th-player in school history to hit that milestone. Finally, Boswell has averaged a career-high 2.7 assists per game and he had a career-high eight on Jan. 18 at Cal State Northridge and has had four or more 11 times.

Michael Bryson
Sophomore Michael Bryson was named Honorable Mention All-Big West following a regular season that saw him average 11.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. Ranks second on the team in scoring and three-point field goals (50) and third in rebounds. He finished the season on a strong note by scoring in double-figures in five consecutive games, equaling the longest stretch of his career. In addition, he scored 10 or more points nine times in the last 10 games, averaging 12.9 per game over that span. Bryson, a two-time Big West Player of the Week this season, scored a season-high 21 points on Dec. 15 at the University of San Diego. In that game, he set a season-high with five three-point baskets. In addition, he scored 19 points and had seven rebounds on Mar. 1 at UC Davis. He scored 15 or more points eight times. Bryson had his first career double-double on Dec. 3 at UCLA when he had 15 points and 10 rebounds. He also had a career-high five assists against the Bruins. He narrowly missed a second double-double when he had 13 points and nine rebounds in a Jan. 16 win over Long Beach State. Bryson has had five or more rebounds 10 times this year. Overall, he has made 50-of-124 three-point attempts, 40.3%, and he has been even better lately. In his last two games he drained 5-of-7, 71.4%, and in the last five he has gone 10-of-17, 58.8%. Bryson has made at lesat one three-pointer in 10 straight and 25 times in 28 games this season. He has made two or more 14 times and three or better nine times. Bryson's personal bests for points and three-pointers came in the Gauchos' game against Pacific at last year's Big West Tournament when he set a school record for points by a freshman with 29 and tied a freshman record with seven threes. 

Zalmico Harmon
Junior Zalmico Harmon was named Honorable Mention All-Big West and he also earnred the league's Hustle Award. There is little question, Harmon is the biggest difference between this year's 21-win Gaucho team and last season's team that went 11-20. He leads UCSB and is second in the Big West with an average of 5.2 assists per game. His 150 total assists ranks seventh on the school's all-time single-season list. In the season finale at Cal Poly, Harmon had seven assists and a mere one turnover, continuing an amazing trend. On the season, he has just 32 turnovers to go with his 150 assists, a 4.7-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, second in the nation and easily first in the Big West Recently, however, Harmon has been even better. In his last 13 games, a span of 406 minutes, he has dealt out 68 assists and committed just six turnovers, an 11.3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Also, while Harmon is averaging an outstanding one turnover every 27.8 minutes on the season, that figure has jumped to one turnover ever 67.7 minutes in the last 13 contests. On the season, he has no turnovers in 11 games and one turnover in nine. He has not had a multiple turnover game since he committed two on Jan. 18 at Cal State Northridge. Harmon has had a career-high 10 assists three times this year, twice against Cal State Fullerton and also in the Gauchos' Dec. 6 win over Cal. In those three games combined, he had one turnover. He has had five or more assists in 16 of 29 games. In addition to being the team's best distributor, Harmon has had his moments as a scorer as well. He enters postseason play averaging 8.1 points per game. He has scored 10 or more points 10 times, including a 21-point game on Feb. 15 vs. Cal State Northridge and 20-point game on Feb. 22 against Cal State Fullerton. In the latter game against the Titans, Harmon became the first UCSB player to have 20 or more points and 10 or more assists in 25 years. Carrick DeHart had 26 points and 11 assists in a Dec. 9, 1989 game at Loyola Marymount. He also completed the regular season ranked fourth on the team with 21 three-point baskets, all in the final 25 games. He made a season-high three three-pointers on Dec. 3 at UCLA and Jan. 23 at UC Riverside. In all, he made two or more threes seven times during the regular season. Finally, Harmon has been an ironman for the Gauchos. He is the only player to play in and start all 29 games, and while Alan Williams is averaging more minutes per game, he has played a team-high 891 minutes. He has played fewer than 23 minutes just once this season and fewer than 25 just three times. He's played 30 or more 19 times.

Taran Brown
Sophomore Taran Brown enters the postseason averaging 7.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. He is second on the team in rebounding and also second with 25 blocked shots. Brown had a solid offensive performance in the final game of the regular season when he made 3-of-5 shot overall, including 2-of-4 from three-point range, in a win over Cal Poly. He has scored 10 or more 10 times, but did not do so in the final five games of the regular season. He scored a season and career-high 23 points and made a career-high seven three-pointers in a Nov. 21 game at Colorado. The game against Colorado started a run of four straight double-figure scoring performances for Brown. His second best scoring effort of the season came on Jan. 30 when he was a perfect 5-for-5 from the field, all from three-point range, in an 80-60 home win over UC Irvine. He finished the regular season ranked third on the team with 38 three-point baskets. He made at least one three in 17 games and two or more 12 times. Brown had a season-high four assists four times and a career-high four blocked shots twice, once apiece against Cal and Cal State Northridge. While his scoring average is down from his freshman season, there are some good reasons. Last season, in 31 games, Brown launched 342 shots overall and 186 from three-point range, averages of 11.1 and 6.0 per game respectively. This season, in 29 games, he has taken 177 total field goal attempts, 6.1 per game, and 117 three-pointers, 4.1 per outing. In fact, while he averaged 11.1 shots per game in 2012-13, he has attempted 10 or more just four times this season,including a season-high 12 on Feb. 15 vs. Cal State Northridge. Brown is also playing 26.3 minutes per game as compared to the 30.0 per game he played during his freshman season.

Eric Childress
In combination with senior Zalmico Harmon, freshman Eric Childress has given UCSB an outstanding one-two combination at the point. He enters the postseason averaging 5.4 points, 3.2 assists and 2.2 rebounds per game. He had six assists against Cal Poly in the last game of the regular season. Childress set his career-high of seven assists on Jan. 23 at UC Riverside. He had six assists in four other games and overall he had five or more  eight times. He has 93 total assists, the second most for a freshman in Gaucho history. Childress scored 10 or more points three times. He had a career-high 11 in UCSB's Feb. 13 win at Long Beach State and he had 10 points on Nov. 21 at Colorado and Dec. 30 at Seattle. Childress has made nine three-point baskets on the season and enters the Big West Tournament having made his last two attempts. He also ranks second on the team with 28 steals, the fourth highest total by a UCSB freshman ever. He had a career-high three steals at Colorado and has had two or more in 10 games. Childress has played in all 29 games for UCSB, making a pair of starts, and he is averaging 21.2 minutes per game.

Mitch Brewe
Sophomore Mitch Brewe enters the Big West Tournament averaging 4.2 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. He was one short of his career-high with 11 points in UCSB's penultimate game of the season on Mar. 6 against Hawai'i. Brewe scored a career-high 12 in a Jan. 16 home win over Long Beach State, making 5-of-8 field goal attempts overall and both of his three-point attempts. He also had 11-point games against at UC Riverside and vs. The Master's College. Against The Master's College, Brewe had the first double-double of his career as he added a career-high 10 rebounds. He has developed into one of the team's best three-point shooting threats. On the year Brewe has gone 10-of-19 from outside the arc, 52.6%. He has made four of his last six, 66.7%. Three times this season, he has gone a perfect 2-for-2 from three-point range. In addition to the game against Long Beach State, Brewe drained two apiece against Hawai'i and The Master's College. In addition to emerging as a three-point threat, he has become one of the team's best free throw shooters. He finished the regular season 24-of-28, 85.87%, but he has also made 21 of his last 23 attempts, 91.3%. Finally, after missing the first three regular season games with a knee injury, Brewe has played in the last 26, making 23 starts. In fact, he has started the last 18 games.

Sam Beeler
Sophomore Sam Beeler is averaging 2.9 points and 2.0 rebounds per game. He is also third on the team with 19 blocked shots. He finished the regular season by scoring five points at Cal Poly, his highest total since he made all four of his field goal attempts and had 10 points on Jan. 18 at Cal State Northridge. Beeler scored a season-high 14 points on Nov. 16 against Utah State. One game earlier, on Nov. 12 at UNLV, he had a career-high seven rebounds. He equaled his career-high with seven reboiunds on Mar. 1 at UC Davis. Beeler has had five or more rebounds four times. He has two or more blocked shots five times, including two of the last three games. Beeler set a career-high with three blocks on Feb. 1 vs. UC Davis. Finally, he has played in all 29 games this season, making a trio of appearances in the starting lineup.

Shawn Moore
Senior Shawn Moore is averaging 2.0 points and 1.5 rebounds per game. A walk-on, Moore has been a dependable reserve player for the Gauchos each of the last two seasons. He made five starts to open the season, but has come off the bench ever since. Moore has nursed an injured shoulder and missed five games in January and February with the shoulder problem. He scored a season-high six points on Nov. 12 at UNLV and Nov. 21 at Colorado. He has also had a pair of five-point games. Moore is shooting 59.5% overall and over the final five games of the regular season he made 6-of-10 shots from the field, 60.0%, and averaged 2.6 points per game.