Gauchos Host UC Irvine, Cal State Fullerton in Big West Action

Jan. 6, 2009

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• The Schedule
Game No. 15
Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. UC Irvine Anteaters
at UCSB's Thunderdome
Radio: KIST 1490-AM in Santa Barbara
Game also available on Gametracker

Game No. 16
Saturday, January 10, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Cal State Fullerton Titans
at UCSB's Thunderdome
Radio: KIST 1490-AM in Santa Barbara
Game also available on Gametracker
TV: Fox Sports Prime Ticket

• On The Radio
All UC Santa Barbara basketball games are broadcast live in Santa Barbara on KIST 1490-AM. KEYT-TV Sports Director Gerry Fall is in his fifth 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.

• UCSB Returns Home For Two
UC Santa Barbara returns home for two games on Jan. 8 and Jan. 10 when it hosts UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton respectively. The game against UC Irvine will be a Coke Family Pack Night and for $40.00 fans can get four tickets, four hot dogs, four sodas, and four t-shirts. Saturday night's game againt Cal State Fullerton will be a Kids-to-College Night and additionally, the first 1,000 fans through the gates will receive free Fanbannas. Tickets for all Gaucho games can be obtained from the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, by calling 805-893-UCSB, or online by clicking here.

• Saturday's Game Set For Fox Sports Prime Ticket
UCSB's game against defending Big West Tournament champion Cal State Fullerton, scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, will be carried live on Fox Sports Prime Ticket. Paul Sunderland will call the play-by-play with former NBA star Michael Cage handling the color. The game is available on Cox Cable channel 36 in Santa Barbara, Dish Network channel 411, and Direct TV channel 149. For other cable systems, please check your local channel guide.

• Mathlete Salute
On Saturday, Jan. 10, the UCSB basketball team will honor its newest teammates: 150 third grade students from the Goleta community. The students have completed the UCSB Men's Basketball Mathlete Program and will be recognized for their accomplishments at the game against Cal State Fullerton. The Mathlete Program is part of the "Gauchos Give" community outreach initiative.

• The Gaucho Record
UCSB enters he week with a 6-8 record overall and an 0-2 record in Big West games. The Gauchos dropped their first two league games last weekend, losing on the road to Long Beach State (76-64) and UC Riverside (71-69). The last time UCSB played a home game, Dec. 29 against Ball State, they won 71-51.

• UCSB Can't Hold Lead, Loses At UC Riverside
Kyle Austin scored 13 points and Javon Borum added 12 as UC Riverside rallied and then held-on to defeat visiting UCSB on Sunday afternoon, 71-69. Chris Devine tied his season-high for the Gauchos with 24 points. Gaucho freshman Jaimé Serna scored and was fouled on a follow with 8.5 seconds left, making the score 70-69, but he did not make the free throw and Austin rebounded for the Highlanders. He was fouled intentionally and made the first of two free throws before missing the second. The rebound was knocked out of bounds by UCR, giving the Gauchos one final chance. Will Brew, Jr., got the ball in to James Powell. Powell dribbled into the frontcourt but his three-point basket was after the buzzer. The Gauchos got the lead to 46-32 early in the second half, but the Highlanders took the defensive intensity to a different level, forcing UCSB into eight turnovers in the first eight minutes and using a 17-2 run to claim a 49-48 advantage. Borum made three three-pointers during the rally. As a team, Riverside made 6-of-9 three-point attempts in the second half and UCSB committed 11 of its 15 turnovers in the final 20 minutes.

• The Opponents
UCSB holds an all-time edge of 41-28 over UC Irvine, but the Anteaters have won the last four games in the series, including a 55-50 decision in the semifinals of the 2008 Big West Tournament. The Anteaters, in fact, have knocked the Gauchos out of the league tournament in each of the last two seasons. UCSB and Cal State Fullerton have played 65 times in a series that dates back to 1977. The Gauchos hold a 34-31 advantage all-time. In 2007-08, Santa Barbara won both games played between the team, winning in Fullerton 87-72 and at home 83-80.

The Bob Williams File
Bob Williams is in his 11th season as head coach at UC Santa Barbara. In 2007-08, Williams guided the Gauchos to a 23-9 overall record. The 23 wins were a school record, and UCSB also won its second Big West regular season title with a 12-4 conference record. Following the campaign, the Gauchos were awarded a bid to the National Invitation Tournament. It was the third time that a Williams-coached UCSB team advanced to postseason play. The 2002 Gauchos won the school's first Big West Tournament title, advancing to the NCAA Tournament, and in 2003, they won the league's regular season championship and played in the NIT. Williams has been selected Big West Coach of the Year twice, in 1998-99 and 2002-03. In 1998-99, he took over a UCSB program that had not recorded a winning season in five years, and after seeing his team lose its first eight games that year - extending a two-season losing streak to 16 straight games - the Gauchos turned things around, winning 15 of their final 20 games and finishing on top in the Big West's Western Division. Williams has a UCSB record of 169-139. He guided the program to eight winning seasons in his first 10 years, and a pair of 20 win seasons. He has a career record of 100-65 in Big West games. Prior to his arrival at UCSB, Williams 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's 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 an overall career record of 358-239 (.603) at four-year schools.

• Freebies
UCSB has not been a good free throw shooting team this season. Through 14 games the Gauchos are shooting just 65.4%, but for one game they were world-beaters. In Sunday's game at UC Riverside, they attempted a season-high 31 free throws and made a season-high 27, 87.1%. In the previous game, a loss at Long Beach State, UCSB made just 12-of-22 from the charity stripe, 54.5%. Interestingly, James Powell, arguably the team's best free throw shooter, had two of the Gauchos' four misses against the Highlanders.

• A Fresh Approach
When UCSB played four freshmen in the season-opener against Cal State Los Angeles, it was the first time that four freshmen had played in the same game for the Gauchos since the 2000-01 season. The four freshmen, guards James Nunnally and Will Brew, Jr., forward Jaimé Serna, and center Greg Somogyi have each played in all 14 games. Last week at Long Beach State, they started three of the freshmen - Nunnally, Brew and Somogyi - also a first since the 2000-01 season.

• An Old Nemesis Returns
After consecutive games with a season-low 10 turnovers and a first half in which they had just four, the Gauchos saw took a step back in the second half at UC Riverside. After totaling just 25 turnovers over a 100 minute span, UCSB had 11 turnovers in the pivotal second half against the Highlanders. Despite the tough second half, the Gauchos are averaging 11.7 turnovers in the last three games well below their overall average of 16.5.

• Possible Starters - Notes
G - 1 - D.J. Posley - Has had at least one steal in eight straight appearances.
G - 20 - Will Brew, Jr. - Played a career-high 30 minutes at UC Riverside.
G - 42 - James Powell - Scored in double-figures in three straight games.
F - 10 - Chris Devine - Has scored 20 or more in two straight for the first time since 2006-07.
C - 55 - Greg Somogyi - Has at least one blocked shot in 11 of 14 games.

• Possible Reserves - Notes
F - 0 - Jaimé Serna -Equaled his career-high with eight points at UC Riverside.
G - 2 - Nick Quick - Has played in eight out of the 14 games.
G - 3 - Jordan Weiner - Totaled 13 minutes in last two games after playing 24 vs. Ball State.
G - 4 - Paul Roemer - Played 19 minutes at UC Riverside, his highest total in five games.
F - 15 - Sam Phippen - After scoring seven points last year, he has 36 in 13 games this year.
G - 21- James Nunnally - Played 12 minutes at UC Riverside, his fewest since Nov. 14 opener.
F - 44 - Jesse Byrd - Could return in mid-February after knee surgery.

• Byrd Joins Joyner On Injured List
UCSB junior forward Jesse Byrd, a starter in the first 11 games of the year, injured his left knee in a Dec. 20 game at San Diego State. He will be sidelined until at least mid-February. Byrd, who leads the Gauchos and is second in the Big West in rebounding at 7.6 per game, joined point guard Justin Joyner on the injured list for the Gauchos. Joyner, the team's starting point guard in each of his first two seasons, will redshirt the 2008-09 season as he recovers from wrist surgery.

• Devine Intervention
Chris Devine is playing at his highest offensive level since early in the 2006-07 season. After opening league play at Long Beach State with a 20-point effort, Devine equaled his season-high with 24 on Sunday at UC Riverside. On the year, he is now averaging 14.9 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. He has been in double-figures in six straight games - his longest stretch since early in the 2007-08 season - and over that span he is averaging 17.7 points per game. Devine also had 24 points on Nov. 24 at San Francisco. In addition to his recent scoring exploits, the Eagle River, Alaska-native has also picked-up his rebounding pace. In three games since Jesse Byrd was lost to a knee injury, Devine has averaged 7.7 rebounds per and he had eight in each of last weekend's games. Last week he became the ninth player in UCSB history to eclipse the 1,300 point mark. He enters Thursday's game against UC Irvine with 1,337 total points and needs 15 to move into eighth all-time. In addition, Devine moved into the school's all-time top-10 for rebounds last week. He now has 601, the ninth most all-time. Devine also has a pair of double-doubles on the season - against Cal State Los Angeles (17 points and 11 rebounds) and Winston-Salem State (12 points and 10 rebounds) - giving him 11 in his career.

• Old Buddy, Old Powell
Junior guard James Powell scored 11 points in Sunday's game at UC Riverside. It was his third straight game in double-figures. In the league-opener on Jan. 2 at Long Beach State, Powell had 10 points and a season-high five assists. On the year, Powell is now averaging 11.1 points per game, and although he has scored in double-figures in each of the last three games, he has really struggled offensively in recent games. Since scoring a season-high 22 at San Francisco on Nov. 24, the Pomona, Calif., native has averaged 9.5 points per game while making 31-of-101 shots overall, 30.7%, and 18-of-60 from three-point range, 30.0%. On the year, he continues to lead the Gauchos in three-point baskets with 28. Powell has been in double-figures eight times in 14 games this season. He is averaging 2.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. He had a career-high seven rebounds on Nov. 14 against Cal State Los Angeles and he has had three or more rebounds eight times in 14 games, including six of the last eight. Finally, Powell has made 145 career three-pointers, the eighth most in UCSB history.

• A Hungary Hunter: The Sultan Of Swat
Freshman center Greg Somogyi made his third start at UC Riverside on Sunday, playing 18 minutes while scoring six points, grabbing four rebounds and blocking one shot. He is now averaging 3.9 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game. The native of Budapest has 11 blocked shots in his last four games, a total of 72 minutes. Somogyi had a career-high five in 15 minutes on Dec. 20 at San Diego State and his 21 on the season already ranks third all-time among UCSB freshmen.

• Byrd On Hold
Junior forward Jesse Byrd injured his knee in the Dec. 20 game at San Diego State and is expected to be sidelined until at least mid-February. When he was injured, Byrd was UCSB's leading rebounder at 7.6 per game and he ranked third in scoring at 8.3 per outing. Against San Diego State he had four points and six rebounds. It marked the 11th straight game in which he had at least five rebounds. On Dec. 17 at Weber State he had a double-double, going for 10 points and 14 rebounds. The 14 rebounds were the most by a Gaucho in five seasons. It was Byrd's second double-double of the season, he also had 13 points and 12 rebounds on Dec. 4 at Utah Valley. In the five games prior to his injury, the transfer from San Francisco averaged 10.4 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.

• Yes, Serna
Freshman forward Jaimé Sera equaled his season-high with eight points on Sunday at UC Riverside. It was the third time this season, all in the last seven games, that Serna has scored eight. Also, he tied his season-high by playing 22 minutes against the Highlanders and he has played 20 or more in consecutive games - he logged 21 at Long Beach State - for the first time this season. The Laguna Beach, Calif., native has also shown a penchant for going to the free throw line in the last couple of games. After attempting just 21 free throws in the first 12 games, Serna has gone to the line 11 times in the last two outings. He is averaging 5.1 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. Since tying his season-high with seven boards on Dec. 29 against Ball State, he has had just five in the last two games combined.

• Strike A Posley
After sitting out one game and coming off the bench for one, senior guard D.J. Posley was back in the starting lineup on Sunday at UC Riverside. He Had four points and a career-high six rebounds in the game against the Highlanders. On the season, he is now averaging 5.8 points, 2.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and a team-high 1.5 steals per game. He scored a career-high 10 points on Dec. 17 at Weber State and he has had eight or more five times in his last nine games. Posley had a season-high four steals on Dec. 13 against Loyola Marymount and he has had two or more five times, includign four times in his last five games.

• Something's Brewing
Will Brew, Jr., is coming off of his best back-to-back games as a Gaucho. In the games at Long Beach State and UC Riverside, Brew averaged 6.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. He also shot 50.0% overall and from three-point range. In addition, Brew had just two turnovers in the last two games, a total of 57 minutes. Finally, he played a career-high 30 minutes in the last game at UCR.

• The Flying Nunnally
Freshman James Nunnally returned to a reserved role at UC Riverside. Although he played just 12 minutes, his second-lowest total of the season, he had seven points. On the season Nunnally is averaging 6.4 points and 3.0 rebounds per game. He has made two starts. In his first start, against Ball State, Nunnally had 12 points, six rebounds, and three assists. The 12 points were his second-highest total of the season. He had career-highs of 22 points and seven rebounds on Nov. 21 against No. 1 North Carolina.

• Sam He Is
Sophomore forward Sam Phippen is averaging 2.6 points on the season, but 4.0 per game in the last three games. On Sunday, he was actually scoreless in six minutes, but at Long Beach State on Jan. 2, he had five points in 11 minutes and he made the third three-pointer of his career. He is 3-for-5 from three-point range this season and overall Phippen is shooting 59.3%. After scoring seven points in 15 games last season, he has produced 36 in 14 games this year. He has a personal-best of six in games against Utah State and Loyola Marymount.

• Roemer Wasn't Built In A Day
Junior Paul Roemer has come off the bench in each of the last seven games after starting the first seven. On Sunday at UC Riverside, Roemer played 19 minutes, one game after playing a season-low 13 minutes. He had four points, one assist, and one steal at UCR. Roemer is averaging 3.9 points and 1.4 rebounds per game, but in the last four games, he has no rebounds. Roemer ranks second on the team at 2.2 assists per game, but he has just three in the last three games. Finally, he ranks second on the team with 11 three-point baskets.

• Jordan Rules
After scoring 11 points on Dec. 29 against Ball State - his first career start - sophomore Jordan Weiner returned to his role as a reserve in the last two games, going scoreless in a total of 13 minutes. Despite playing a total of just 120 minutes on the year, Weiner ranks third on the team in three-point baskets with 10. In fact, 10 of his 13 field goals this season have come from three-point range and 24 of his 30 attempts have been from beyond the stripe.

• The Gaucho Way
As a championship-caliber program, UCSB Athletics recognizes the responsibility that goes with it. This simply means all student-athletes, staff, and fans will behave with a champion's approach, creating a safe environment at games and events. All of those who attend, compete, or work at Gaucho events are caretakers of the passionate, exciting, and great experience UCSB is known for. This is "The Gaucho Way."

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