Jan. 1, 2008
Game No. 14
Thursday, January 3, 2008 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Long Beach State 49ers
at UCSB's Thunderdome
Radio: KTMS 990/1490-AM
Game No. 15
Saturday, January 5, 2008 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Cal State Northridge Matadors
at UCSB's Thunderdome
Radio: KTMS 990/1490-AM
The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara will enter Thursday's Big West Conference opener against Long Beach State with a record of 11-2. After going 2-1 to open the season at the Basketball Travelers Classic in Palo Alto, Calif., the Gauchos put together an eight-game winning streak, improving to 10-1. The eight-game streak was ended on Dec. 22 at top-ranked North Carolina, but UCSB ended 2007 on a positive note, winning at Eastern Washington on Dec. 29, 58-51.
On The Radio
All UC Santa Barbara basketball games are broadcast live in Santa Barbara on KTMS, 990 and 1490 AM. KEYT-TV Sports Director Gerry Fall is in his fourth year as the play-by-play voice of the Gauchos. Former Los Angeles Lakers and UCSB star Don Ford handles the color commentary for the majority of games, home and road. When Ford is not available for road games, Bill Mahoney, yours truly, will handle the task. Steve Wendt, the voice of the UCSB women's basketball team, will handle the play-by-play for a handful of men's games this season.
The Bob Williams Show
The Bob Williams in Paradise show will be aired each Tuesday night from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on KTMS 990 and 1490 AM in Santa Barbara. Coach Williams will talk about past and upcoming games, interview Gaucho players and welcome guests from the Santa Barbara sports community. Bob in Paradise is broadcast live each week from The Paradise Cafe on the corner of Anacapa and Ortega in downtown Santa Barbara.
Gauchos Off To Their Best Start In 19 Seasons, Third Best Ever
UCSB's 11-2 start is the program's best in 19 years and the third best in program history. The last time the Gauchos had a better record through 13 games was in 1988-89 when they went 12-1 to open the year. The 1987-88 Gaucho team was also 11-2 after 13 games but lost in the 14th game to go 11-3.
UCSB Back To No. 6 In Mid-Major Poll
After winning on the road at Eastern Washington on Saturday, UCSB has jumped back into the No. 6 spot in the latest Collegeinsider.com Mid-Major Poll. The Gauchos were sixth prior to a Dec.22 loss at North Carolina, but dropped to eighth after that game. This week, they return to sixth, equaling the program's highest rank ever.
Eight-Game Streak Was Longest In A Long Time
UCSB's eight-game winning streak, which was ended at North Carolina on Dec. 22, was the longest that a Gaucho team has put together since Bob Williams became head coach in 1998-99. It was also the longest winning streak since the 1988-89 team opened the year by winning 11 consecutive games and it equaled the second longest streak in school history. Santa Barbara also won eight games in a row in 1971-72, 1960-61 and 1940-41.
Gauchos Favored As Big West Play Opens
With the exception of a Feb. 23 Bracket Buster game, the non-conference schedule is over for the 2007-08 season. UCSB will begin Big West play on Thursday, Jan. 3 when it hosts the defending league champion, Long Beach State, and then on Saturday, Jan. 5, when it plays Cal State Northridge. On Oct. 24, which seems like 10 years ago, the Gauchos were picked to win the Big West regular season title by the coaches and the media at the league's annual Media Day. It marked the first time that Santa Barbara has been chosen to win the title since 2003-04. In the coaches poll, the Gauchos collected four of nine first-place votes to finish with 58 total points, six points more than the second-place pick, Cal Poly. The Mustangs had one first-place vote. Pacific and Cal State Fullerton each totaled 48 points in the poll, but the Tigers were chosen to win the title by three coaches while the Titans had one first-place vote. UC Irvine finished fifth with 42 points. In the media poll, UCSB garnered 13 first-place votes and 152 total points. Cal Poly was once again picked second with two first-place votes and 138 points. Cal State Fullerton was picked third by the media with one first-place vote and 114 points. UC Irvine was fourth and Pacific was chosen fifth. While defending Big West champion Long Beach State was slotted seventh by the media, the 49ers did collect a pair of first-place votes.
Probable Starters - Notes
G - Justin Joyner - Has 27 assists and seven turnovers in the last six games.
G - Alex Harris - Passed off for season-high four assists at Eastern Washington.
G - James Powell - Attempted just two shots and had season-low two points at EWU.
F - Chris Devine - Has 14 steals in the last five games, seven in the last two.
F - Ivan Elliott - Collected a season-high nine rebounds in win at Eastern Washington.
Probable Reserves - Notes
G - Nick Quick - Has attempted seven shots in just 10 minutes of action.
G - Jordan Weiner - All eight of his baskets this season have been three-pointers.
G - Paul Roemer - Scored five points at Eastern Washington, his high in last 10 games.
G - D.J. Posley - Has had season-high two assists in three of the last four games.
G - George Murphy - Has yet to play in a game.
F - Nedim Pajevic - Made 9-of-14 shots in the last two games, 64.3%.
F - Sam Phippen - Has played at least two minutes in each of the last six games.
F - Beau Gibb - Has had two or more rebounds in six games this season.
F - Peter Jordan - Walk-on freshman has played in two games this season.
F - Spencer Ford - Freshman will redshirt 2007-08 season.
The Bob Williams File
Bob Williams is in his 10th season as the head coach at UC Santa Barbara. Last year his team recorded an overall record of 18-11 and a Big West mark of 9-5. The 18 wins were the most regular season wins by a Gaucho team since 1991-92 and it equaled the second most wins a Williams-coached UCSB team has ever had. Williams has led Santa Barbara to winning records in five of the last six seasons, the only exception being a 2004-05 team that was ravaged by injuries. He has guided UCSB to a pair of postseason appearances. In 2002-03, the Gauchos went 18-14 overall and 14-4 in league. The 2002-03 Big West mark earned Santa Barbara its first-ever Big West regular season championship along with a trip to the postseason National Invitation Tournament. Additionally, the success earned Williams his second Big West Coach of the Year award, his first coming after an impressive 1999 campaign. In 2001-02, Williams guided UCSB to its first Big West Conference Tournament title ever and first NCAA Tournament appearance in 12 years. Including this season, Williams' UCSB teams have posted a 151-124 (.549) overall record and an 86-59 (.589) record in Big West games. Prior to his arrival at UCSB, he spent eight years at UC Davis and in those eight years, his teams recorded 20 or more wins five times and a 158-76 record. In Williams' final season, the Aggies went 31-2, won the NCAA Division II National Championship and he was named NABC Division II Coach of the Year. Including two seasons at Menlo College, Williams has a record of 340-224 (.603) at four-year schools.
Gauchos Get Back On Track At Eastern Washington, 58-51
UCSB turned to an old friend in Saturday night's 58-51 win at Eastern Washington. The old friend, defense, didn't let UCSB down as it improved to 11-2 to complete the non-conference schedule. The Gauchos struggled all night on the offensive end, but held the Eagles (6-9) to 32.2% shooting overall and 27.6% in the second half en route to their ninth win in the last 10 games. Guard Alex Harris scored 18 points, including eight in the final six minutes, and forward Ivan Elliott added 11 points and a season-high nine rebounds to pace the Gauchos. Forward Kellen Williams paced Eastern Washington with 23 points and 10 rebounds, while Trey Gross added 11 points, including a pair of three-pointers late in the second half that made the game close. UCSB, which had been on fire from beyond the three-point line, made a season-low 3-for-15 from outside the arc on Saturday night, 20.0%. Harris made two of the three but he needed five attempts to do so. One of his three-pointers came with 6:16 to play in the game and it extended the Gaucho lead to nine, 52-43. After Harris' final three-pointer, the Eagles never got closer than 54-50. The Gauchos made four of six free throws in the final 3:24 to put the game away. Santa Barbara finished the game at 47.8% from the field overall, but in addition to struggling from three-point range, also struggled at the free throw line, hitting just 11-of-19, 57.9%. The Gauchos and Eagles each finished with 16 turnovers, but UCSB had just five in the second half while Eastern Washington had 11.
UCSB and Long Beach State have played 101 times in a series that dates back to 1952. The 49ers hold a 52-49 all-time edge, and they won both games during the 2006-07 season. Long Beach battered the Gauchos on Jan. 4, 2007, at the Pyramid, 101-65, and then edged them on Feb. 10 at the Thunderdome, 68-67. Prior to the Jan. 4 game last season, UCSB had won three consecutive games in the series, including two-game sweep in 2005-06, and a Big West Tournament win in 2004-05. Santa Barbara and Cal State Northridge have played 34 times since they first met in 1960. The Gauchos hold an all-time 26-8 advantage over the Matadors and have won the last three games in the series, including both games played in 2006-07. UCSB won 67-57 at Northridge on Jan. 25, 2007, and 75-59 on March 3, 2007, at the Thunderdome.
The Gauchos At Home
With wins over Utah Valley, Pepperdine, UNLV, Montana State, San Francisco and Cal Poly Pomona, UCSB is 6-0 at the Thunderdome this season. In 2006-07, the Gauchos uncharacteristically struggled at home with an 8-6 record. With the six straight Thunderdome wins to open the 2007-08 season, Santa Barbara has now won eight straight home games dating back to last year.
The Gauchos On The Road
The Gauchos are 3-2 in true road games this season. They won their last road game, 58-51 at Eastern Washington on Dec. 29. On Dec. 22, they had a two-game road winning streak ended, losing at North Carolina, 105-70. Prior to the game at UNC, UCSB had won consecutive road games, a decisive 79-52 decision at Ball State on Dec. 19, and a 63-56 win at Loyola Marymount on Dec. 1. The Gauchos lost their only other road games this year, 67-48 at Stanford on Nov. 11. Santa Barbara has won a pair of neutral court encounters this season, defeating Northwestern State (92-71) and Harvard (79-61) in the Basketball Travelers Classic, also at Stanford. In 2006-07, the Gauchos recorded an all-time best 10-4 record on the road. Dating to the 2005-06 season, UCSB has gone 17-7 in its last 24 true road games.
Turning Over A New Leaf
Probably the most significant statistical turnaround for UCSB this season has been the number of turnovers that it is forcing. In recent years, Gaucho teams have played good defense but they have not forced many turnovers. In other words, the solid defense has not led directly to offense. This year UCSB is forcing a significant number of turnovers. Through 13 games, the Gauchos are forcing 19.9 turnovers per game, an increase of 6.5 per game over the 13.4 per game they forced in 2006-07. Last year, the highest number of turnovers forced by Santa Barbara was 21, in a double-overtime win at Pepperdine. In 2007-08, UCSB has forced 21 or more turnovers six times and 20 or more seven times. No Gaucho opponent has had fewer than 16 miscues in a game, the total that top-ranked North Carolina, nationally-ranked Stanford and Eastern Washington each produced. The highest total by an opponent this season was the 28 committed on Nov. 9 by Northwestern State. On Dec. 5, Pepperdine had 25 turnovers and on Nov. 15, Cal Poly Pomona had 24. On the other side of the court, the Gauchos are averaging 16.2 turnovers per outing, up from 13.9 per game last season. They had a high of 23 in a Nov. 20 win over San Francisco.
After a run of three straight games with at least 10 three-point baskets and four straight with at leat nine, UCSB made a season-low three in the win at Eastern Washington. The Gauchos were 3-of-15, 20.0%, from beyond the arc against the Eagles. The 15 attempts were the fourth lowest total this year. In the first 12 games of the season, UCSB never made fewer than four three-pointers, a total they had three times. In the four games prior to the win at Eastern Washington, the Gauchos hit 43 out of 76 three-point attempts, 56.6%. In the six games prior, UCSB drained 59-of-114, 51.8%. Through 13 games, they are still shooting 43.0% from three-point territory and averaging 7.8 three-point baskets per game. Finally, UCSB has been particularly good on its three-point attempts at home, averaging 9.7 per game, making 50.0% or better in four of the six games, and nailing 58-of-118 overall, 49.2%.
UCSB has had three Big West Players of the Week this season. Senior Alex Harris has earned the award twice (Nov. 25 and Dec. 10) and sophomore guard James Powell has won it once (Dec. 3). Harris has been named Player of the Week four times in the last two seasons.
Take Me To Your Leaders
While only three players (Alex Harris, James Powell and Chris Devine) have led the Gauchos in scoring this season, the same has not held true for the other statistical categories. UCSB has had eight players lead or tie for the team-lead in steals, six lead or tie for the team-lead in rebounding, five lead or tie for the lead in assists, and six have done so in blocked shots.
The Defense Never Rests
The Gauchos are allowing just 63.6 points per game, a drop of of more than three points per game from last year's defensive average of 67.4 per game. UCSB has allowed more than 70 points in a game twice this season, the season opener against Northwestern State when the Demons scored 71, and then in a loss at North Carolina when the Tar Heels scored 105. The Gauchos have allowed fewer than 60 points five times, including four of the last six games. The two lowest opponent totals, as well as the highest opponent total, have come in the last three games. On Dec. 19 at Ball State, UCSB limited the Cardinals to 52 points, and on Dec. 29, Eastern Washington could muster just 51, the lowest total by a Gaucho opponent this season.
That `70s Show
While UCSB has allowed 70 or more points in a game just twice this season, the Gauchos have scored 70 or more eight times, going 7-1 in those games. UCSB has actually scored 74 or more seven times this season, including five times in the first six games and two of the last three. The Gauchos are averaging 72.3 points per game, slightly more than the 71.2 points per game they averaged last year. Their highest scoring effort this year was a 92 point explosion in the opener against Northwestern State, and their lowest scoring effort was a 48 point output on Nov. 11 at Stanford.
Men Of Steal
UCSB is averaging 8.9 steals per game, an increase of 2.7 per game over last season's average of 6.2. Santa Barbara has seven players with at least 10 steals this season after only having six last year. At the current pace, the Gauchos would finish the year with more than 260 steals, a new school record.
The Harris Poll
Senior guard Alex Harris scored 18 points, had five rebounds, and a season-high four assists in UCSB's win at Eastern Washington last week. Of his 18 points, eight came in the final six minutes to key the victory. Harris, a two-time Big West Player of the Week, enters league play as the conference's leading scorer at 22.4 points per game. While he has averaged just 17.5 per game in the last two, he has not scored fewer than 17 points in a game this season. He had 17 on Dec. 22 at top-ranked North Carolina. Harris has either led or tied for the team-lead in scoring in all 12 of his appearances this year. In addition to scoring, he also paces the Gauchos in three-point shooting. He made 2-of-5 against Eastern Washington and has now made 33-of-62 on the season, 53.2%. In the last five games, Harris has been even more prolific from beyond the three-point arc. In the last five, he has made 18 out of 25 three-point attempts, 72.0%. He is averaging 2.7 three-pointers per game, but in nine games since he returned after missing the Nov. 15 game against Cal Poly Pomona with a thumb injury, he has made 29-of-48 three-pointers, 3.2 per game, and 60.4%. In the Dec. 7 win over Utah Valley, Harris made six three-pointers, a career-high. He has made three or more six times this season, and two or more 11 times in 12 games, including 10 in a row. Harris has now made 153 three-pointers in 370 career attempts, 41.4%, the fourth highest percentage in school history. Harris has scored 1,338 points in his UCSB career, the eighth most in school history. He needs 14 to move into seventh and 62 to move into sixth. He went for a season-high 29 points on Nov. 24 against Montana State, making career-highs in free throws, 15, and free throw attempts, 18, all in the second half. He has scored 20 or more points eight times this season. Since the beginning of the 2006-07 season, Harris has scored 870 points in 41 games, an average of 21.2 points per game. He is averaging 4.1 rebounds per game, fourth on the team, and has had four or more in each of the last three games. He had a season-high eight rebounds on Nov. 24 against Montana State, and he has had seven twice, on Nov. 27 against UNLV and Nov. 10 against Harvard. Also, of his 17 assists on the year, nine have come in the last three games. Harris was a Preseason All-Big West and Mid-Major All-America selection.
The Devine File
Junior forward Chris Devine has had his two toughest offensive outings of the season in the last two games. While Devine is averaging 12.8 points per game, second on the team, he has scored a total of just 15 in the last two, 7.5 per game. After going for six points on 3-of-9 shooting on Dec. 22 at North Carolina, he had nine points, on 3-of-6 shooting, on Dec. 29 at Eastern Washington. The six field goal attempts in 27 minutes tied his season-low. Prior to the consecutive single-digit outputs, Devine had scored in double-figures in 10 straight games. In fact, on Dec. 19 at Ball State, the game before North Carolina, he made 9-of-10 shots overall and scored a season-high 22 points. Previously, Devine's season-high of 18 came in a Nov. 20 win over San Francisco. Despite his limited scoring, he has been solid in other areas in recent games. At Eastern Washington, Devine had seven rebounds, two assists, one blocked shot and three steals. At North Carolina, he had a season-high four steals and tied his career-high with three blocked shots. In fact, Devine is now leading the team in steals at 1.8 per game, but he has had 14 in the last five games, going for two or more in each. He has also blocked four of his five shots on the season in the last two games. Devine is shooting 50.9%, but made just 6-of-15, 40.0%, in the last two games. He is now averaging 5.3 rebounds per game, second on the team, but since collecting a total of just three in the first two games of the year, he has had 61 in his last 10 games, 6.1 per outing. Devine has had seven or more rebounds six times in his last 10 games. He had a season-high nine rebounds on Dec. 1 at Loyola Marymount. A Presesaon All-Big West selection, he had a season-high four assists on Dec. 7 against Utah Valley. Finally, Devine is now averaging 27.1 minutes per game, but in the last eight games his playing time has increased. In his first four games this season, the senior from Eagle River, Alaska, averaged 22.2 minutes per outing, playing a high of 31 on Nov. 1 at Stanford, but in his last eight games, he has played 237 total minutes, 29.6 per game, including a high of 34 on Nov. 27 against UNLV.
Old Buddy, Old Powell
Sophomore guard James Powell scored a season-low two points in the Dec. 29 win at Eastern Washington. In fact, in the game against the Eagles, Powell attempted a season-low two shots in 23 minutes. In his first 12 games this year, he never took fewer than four shots and he attempted six or more 11 times. Still, Powell is third on the team in scoring at 10.5 points per game. Since scoring a total of just 17 points in the first three games of the year, he has scored 119 in the last 10, 11.9 per game. Also, since making just 7-of-25 shots overall, 28.0%, 2-for-9 from three-point range, 22.2%, and 1-for-3 from the free throw line, 33.3%, in those first three games, he has gotten hot. In the 10 games since then, including nine wins, Powell has gone 41-of-89 overall, 46.1%, 22-of-49 from three-point range, 44.9%, and 15-of-19 from the free throw line, 78.9%. The Pomona, Calif., native scored a career-high 24 on Nov. 15 against Cal Poly Pomona. He is second on the team with 24 three-point baskets, although he missed his only three-point attempt against Eastern Washington. Powell has made at least one three-point basket in 10 of 13 games and two or more seven times. He made a career-high five three-point buckets, all in the second half, in UCSB's 63-60 win over UNLV on Nov. 27. In fact, it was his three-pointer with less than half a second remaining that decided the game. He was named Big West Player of the Week for the effort. Powell has averaged 4.0 rebounds in the last seven games and is now averagng 3.1 per game for the year.
Justin Joins In
Despite having just two assists in each of the last two games, sophomore point guard Justin Joyner has had his three highest assist totals of the year in the last five games. Joyner had six on Dec. 19 at Ball State, a season-high seven on Dec. 7 against Utah Valley, and six on Dec. 5 against Pepperdine. For the season he is now averaging 3.9 assists per game and has had four or more assists in five of the last seven games and eight times in 13 games this season. In the last seven games, Joyner has averaged 4.4 assists per outing. In addition to distributing the ball well, the Antioch, Calif., native leads the Gauchos in assist-to-turnover ratio. He has 51 assists and just 23 turnovers, a ratio of 2.2-to-1.0. In the last eight games, Joyner has contributed 33 assists and just 10 turnovers, a 3.3-to-1.0 ratio. He has had more assists than turnovers in eight straight games and in 10 of 13 this season, only once this season has Joyner had more turnovers than assists, on Nov. 11 at Stanford. When he had his season-high seven assists in the Dec. 7 win over Utah Valley, he also had eight points and a pair of steals. The eight points were one below his season-high of nine, which he had on Nov. 10 against Harvard. He scored three points at Eastern Washington, ended a streak of two straight scoreless games. Joyner also had eight points on Nov. 27 against UNLV. He is now averaging 3.1 points per game, but 25 of his 40 points came in his three highest scoring games. As a freshman, Joyner led the UCSB in steals with 36, an average of 1.3 per game. This year, he has 11 steals, a figure that ranks fifth on the team. He had a season-high three steals in the game against Pepperdine and then one in the game against Utah Valley.
Ivan The Good
Senior forward Ivan Elliott continues to be one of UCSB's most solid players. In the win at Eastern Washington, he scored 11 points, equaling his second highest total of the season, and he had a season-high nine rebounds. Elliott is now averaging 9.0 points and a team-leading 5.7 rebounds per game. He has scored 10 or more points six times this season, including three of the last four games and five times in the last eight. In the last four games, Elliott has averaged 10.0 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. He had a career-high 17 points in the season opener against Northwestern State on Nov. 9. While Elliott leads the Gauchos in rebounding at 5.7 per game, he has been even better in recent games. In each of hte last five, he has had at least five boards and over that span he has averaged 7.0 per game. In all, through 13 games, he has had six or more rebounds eight times, including each of the last four games. Elliott is shooting 52.2% overall, tops among UCSB regulars, and he has become a bonafide three-point threat. Despite missing his only two attempts in the win at Eastern Washington, Elliott has made 14-of-27 from outside the arc, 51.9%. When he did not make a three against Eastern Washington, it ended a streak of four straight games in which he had made at least one. In those four games, Elliott drilled 6-of-8, 75.0%. Overall,he has made 50.0% or better from the field in six of the last seven games, hitting 26-of-45, 57.8%, over that span. Finally, Elliott leads Santa Barbara in blocked shots with 14, 1.1 per game.
A Piece Of The Pajevic (Pronounced Pie-uh-vich)
Since scoring 11 total points over a five game span, senior forward Nedim Pajevic has started to re-emerge offensively. Pajevic equaled his second highest point total of the season when he scored 12 in the Dec. 22 loss at North Carolina and then on Dec. 29 at Eastern Washington, he scored six points. Also, after missing all six of his field goal attempts on Dec. 19 at Ball State, Pajevic has hit 9-of-14 in the last two games, 64.3%. He hit 3-of-4 in the last games. Overall, the transfer from Weber State is now averaging 6.9 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. He is also second on the team in assists with 26, 2.0 per game. Pajevic has scored in double-figures six times in 13 games, including a season-high 16 on Nov. 10 against Harvard. On Nov. 20, in a win over San Francisco, he recorded 10 points and 10 rebounds, the only double-double registered by a Gaucho player this season. Pajevic has proven to be one of the best post passers that UCSB has had in recent years. He had a season-high five assists on Nov. 15 against Cal Poly Pomona, and has had two or more assists eight times, including the game at Eastern Washington.
In 2006-07, sophomore guard Paul Roemer played 132 minutes in 16 games. This year, Roemer has been a valuable reserve and has already logged 207 minutes, an average of 15.9 per game. He has played at least eight minutes in every game and 15 or more in nine of 13 games. On Dec. 29 at Eastern Washington, Roemer played 20 minutes and scored five points, his highest total since he had eight on Nov. 15 against Cal Poly Pomona. He is now averaging 2.6 points, 1.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1. steals per game. He had a career-high 10 points in the opener against Northwestern State. The five points he totaled in the last game were actually his third highest total of the year and thre more than he had scored in the two previous games combined. Roemer went without a steal at Eastern Washington, ending a streak of five straight games with at least one.
Strike A Posley
Junior guard D.J. Posley scored four points, had two assists, two rebounds and a steal in UCSB's win at Eastern Washington. His outstanding defense was also instrumental in holding the Eagles to 32.2% shooting from the field. After making just 3-of-14 shots in the two games prior to Eastern Washington, Posley made 2-of-4 against the Eagles. By collecting two assists, tying his season-high, he has now had two assists in three games this season, all in the last four games. Posley is now averaging 2.9 points in 17.7 minutes per game, but his forte has been defense. He has given the Gauchos a better defensive presence in the backcourt than they had last year. Also, while he is shooting just 34.0% from the field, he has been better since a very slow start. Since missing his first 10 shots on the season, Posley has hit 16-of-37, 43.2%. the loss to the Tar Heels, the most he has attempted in a game this season.