UCSB Heads North for Central Coast Match-up With Cal Poly Saturday

UCSB Heads North for Central Coast Match-up With Cal Poly Saturday

Jan. 13, 2009

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• The Schedule
Game No. 17
Saturday, January 17, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Cal Poly Mustangs
at Cal Poly's Mott Gymnasium
Radio: KIST 1490-AM in Santa Barbara

Game No. 18
Thursday, January 22, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at UC Davis Aggies
at UCD's Pavilion
Radio: KIST 1490-AM in Santa Barbara
Game available on Gametracker

• 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 Hits The Road For Next Three Games
UC Santa Barbara will travel to Cal Poly for a renewal of their Central Coast rivalry. The Gaucho-Mustang game will be the first of three in a row on the road. Following its brief trip to San Luis Obispo, UCSB will travel to UC Davis on Jan. 22 and Pacific on Jan. 24. Santa Barbara returns home on Thursday, Jan. 29 when it hosts Cal State Northridge in a game scheduled to tip-off at 8:00 p.m. Tickets for all Gaucho games can be purchased from the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, by calling 805-893-UCSB, or online by clicking here.

• The Gaucho Record
UCSB will enter Saturday's game with a 7-9 record overall and a 1-3 record in Big West games. On Saturday night the Gauchos dropped a 62-58 decision at home to Cal State Fullerton. In its previous game, UCSB recorded its first Big West win of the season, a 68-61 victory over UC Irvine. Santa Barbara dropped its first two league games, losing on the road to Long Beach State (76-64) and UC Riverside (71-69).

• UCSB Can't Hold Lead, Loses To Cal State Fullerton
Josh Akognon scored 20 of his 29 points in the second half as visiting Cal State Fullerton rallied from a 13-point first half deficit to defeat UC Santa Barbara in a Big West game on Saturday night, 62-58. The Titans trailed UCSB 31-18 15 minutes into the game. They outscored the Gauchos 12-6 over the final five minutes of the first half to cut the advantage to 37-30 and set themselves up for the decisive second half. Akognon, who made just 3-of-10 shots in the first half, hit 7-of-12 in the second half, including 4-of-7 from three-point territory, to Fullerton. It was his three-pointer with 13:07 to play that gave Fullerton its first lead of the game, 46-44. Santa Barbara reclaimed the lead three times in the final 13 minutes, but Akognon's three-pointer with 9:29 left gave his team the lead for good, 53-52. UCSB, which was led by James Powell who had 19 points and Chris Devine who added 13 to go with nine rebounds, had 24 turnovers in the game, including 13 in the second half. Santa Barbara jumped out to a 9-0 lead early in the first half, but the turnovers and cold shooting in the second half gave them their third loss in the last four games. The Gauchos made 53.6% of their shots in the first half, but just 27.8% (5-for-18) in the second half. They finished at 43.5%. The Titans shot 41.4% for the game.

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

• Jan. 28 Game Against Cal State Northridge To Tip At 8:00 P.M.
UCSB's next home game, a Jan. 28 match-up against Big West preseason favorite Cal State Northridge will tip-off at 8:00 p.m. (PST). The contest was originally scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m., but the start time was changed to accommodate ESPNU, which will televise the game live nationally.

• The Opponents
UCSB and Cal Poly have met on the court 90 times. Santa Barbara holds a 60-30 all-time edge in the series that started in 1938. The Gauchos won both games between the schools last year, defeating the Mustangs in San Luis Obispo by a score of 75-60 and at the Thunderdome by a 60-47 count. UCSB and UC Davis have played 16 times in a series that dates back to 1959. The Gauchos lead 13-3 and have won three straight against the Aggies, including a sweep of last year's season series. UCSB won in Davis by a score of 77-73, and in Santa Barbara by a 60-45 count.

• Byrd, 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 led the Gauchos and was 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.

• On The Road Again
UCSB will play its next three games and five of its next six on the road. The Gauchos are coming off of a brief two-game homestand. When the next three games have been played, they will have played 12 out of 16 games away from home and when the next six games have been completed the figure will be 14 out of 19 games. UCSB has struggled on the road this season with a 1-6 record in true road games and a 3-6 mark in games away from home. Following the next six games, the Gauchos will end the season by playing six of their final seven games at home.

• Gauchos Struggle To Hold Leads
In Saturday night's loss to Cal State Fullerton, UCSB opened-up a 13-point first half lead before seeing the Titans comeback to win the game. On Jan. 8 in a win over UC Irvine, UCSB had a 14-point first half lead. The Gauchos still led by 13 early in the second half, but the Anteaters rallied and actually took a one-point lead on two occasions. Santa Barbara was able to hold on against Irvine, but they still flirted with disaster. One game earlier, on Jan. 4 at UC Riverside, UCSB piled-up a 14-point lead in the second half only to see the Highlanders use a 17-2 run to seize control of the game. Ultimately, UCR won 71-69. On Nov. 24 at San Francisco, the Gauchos led the Dons by 11 with just under four minutes to play, but a 15-0 USF run gave them a narrow 73-72 win.

• Freebies
After getting off to an awful start at the free throw line, the Gauchos have started to turn things around in the last few games. Although they are shooting just 67.0% from the charity stripe for the season, they have made 60 out of 75 in the last three games, 80.0%. In a Jan. 4 game at UC Riverside, UCSB made a season-high 27, in 31 attempts, for a season-best 87.1%. On Jan. 8 against UC Irvine, the Gauchos had another solid night as they made 19-of-24, 79.2%, including 8-of-9 in the waning minutes to ice the win. On Jan. 10 against Cal State Fullerton, they hit 14-of-20, 70.0%. UCSB has been at or over 70.0% in four its last five games after doing so in just three of the first 11 games.

• Turning Back The Clock
After a four-game downtick in its turnover totals, UCSB saw a big-time uptick in the loss to Cal State Fullerton. The Gauchos committed a season-high 24 turnovers against the Titans, including 13 in the second half. In fact, they had just one assist to along with the 13 second half turnovers. UCSB is now averaging 16.8 turnovers per game, but in the four games prior to the Jan. 10 outing against Fullerton the Gauchos totaled 49 turnovers, an average of 12.2 per game. In two of those games - Dec. 29 against Ball State and Jan. 2 at Long Beach State - they had a low of 10.

• On The Rebound
UCSB is now outrebounding its opposition by an average of 2.2 rebounds per game. The Gauchos had their best rebounding game since November in the game against Cal State Fullerton when they won the battle of the boards by 11, 38-27. UCSB has outrebounded 10 out of its 16 opponents this season.

• Stolen Moments
The Gauchos are averaging 6.9 steals per game in 2008-09. In 2007-08, UCSB set a school record by collecting 276 steals in 32 games, an average of 8.6 per game.

• 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 16 games. In the Big West Conference opener at Long Beach State, they started three of the freshmen - Nunnally, Brew and Somogyi - also a first since the 2000-01 season. In 2000-01, the Gauchos started Branduinn Fullove, Jacoby Atako, and Nick Jones together on several occasions. With Serna starting on Jan. 10 against Cal State Fullerton, all four freshmen have started at least once.

• Freshmen Block Party
The Gauchos have blocked 44 shots on the season, an average of 2.8 per game. Freshman Greg Somogyi leads the way with 24, nearly 55% of the team total. Somogyi, however is not the only freshman getting into the shot-blocking act. Jaimé Serna ranks second on the team with six, while James Nunnally has three, and Will Brew, Jr., has two. Combined the first-year foursome has 35 of the team's 44 swats, an impressive 79.5%.

• A New Start
Last season, only seven UCSB players started games and the Gauchos had just three different starting lineups. In 2008-09, 11 different players have started games while UCSB has trotted out seven different starting fives.

• 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 170-140. 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 359-240 (.601) at four-year schools.

• Possible Starters - Notes
G - 20 - Will Brew, Jr. - After career-high 18 vs. UCI, was scoreless vs. Fullerton.
G - 42 - James Powell - Scored 19 points in each of the last 2 games.
G - 21 - James Nunnally - Has attempted 23 free throws in last 5 games.
F - 0 - Jaimé Serna -Tied career-high with 7 rebounds vs. Fullerton.
F - 10 - Chris Devine - Has 1,361 career points. Needs 39 to move into 7th all-time.

• Possible Reserves - Notes
G - 1 - D.J. Posley - Has at least 1 steal in 10 straight games.
G - 2 - Nick Quick - Has played in 8 out of the 16 games.
G - 3 - Jordan Weiner - Totaled 21 minutes in last 4 games after playing 24 vs. Ball State.
G - 4 - Paul Roemer - Had 4 rebounds vs. CSF, his highest total in 8 games.
F - 15 - Sam Phippen - After scoring 7 points last year, he has 38 in 16 games this year.
F - 44 - Jesse Byrd - Could return in mid-February after knee surgery.
C - 55 - Greg Somogyi - Tied for second on UCSB freshman list with 24 blocked shots.

• Devine Intervention
Although Chris Devine scored just 13 points on Jan. 10 against Cal State Fullerton, he is still playing at his highest offensive level since early in the 2006-07 season. Devine has scored in double-figures in eight straight games, averaging 16.2 per game over that span. The eight-game double-figures scoring streak is his longest since early in the 2006-07 season. He opened league play with back-to-back 20 point games for the first time this season. Devine tallied 20 on Jan. 2 at Long Beach State and he equaled his season-high with 24 on Jan. 4 at UC Riverside. He also had 24 points on Nov. 24 at San Francisco. On the year, he is now averaging 14.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Devine had a game-high nine rebounds on Jan. 10 vs. Cal State Fullerton, his highest total since Nov. 29. The Eagle River, Alaska-native has averaged 7.0 per game in the five games since the team's leading rebounder, Jesse Byrd, went down with a knee injury. He enters Saturday's game at Cal Poly with 1,361 total points and needs 39 to move into seventh all-time. In addition, Devine has moved into the school's all-time top-10 for career rebounds. He now has 613, the eighth most all-time. He needs 24 to move into seventh. He is one of five players to appear on both the scoring and rebounding top-10s. Finally, 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 had scored 19 points in each of the last two games, his highest two-game point total - 38 - of the season. On Jan. 8 against UC Irvine he made 7-of-10 shots overall and 1-of-2 from three-point range. On Jan. 10 against Cal State Fullerton, he hit 7-of-19 shots overall, 2-of-9 from outside the arc. The 19-point games were Powell's second highest scoring totals this season - he scored 22 on Nov. 24 at San Francisco - and he is now averaging 12.1 points per game, his highest average since mid-December. Prior to the last two games, he had not scored more than 15 in 11 straight. Powell has now scored in double-figures 10 times this season, including the last five games in succession. While he has made 14-of-29 shots in the last two games, a solid 48.3%, he has generally struggled with his shooting this season, making 34.6% overall and 29.2% from three-point range. In 10 games prior to the last two, Powell made just 31-of-101 field goal attempts 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 31 and he has made at least one in 15 of 16 games. He is averaging 2.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. He had a season-high five assists on Jan. 2 at Long Beach State and a career-high seven rebounds on Nov. 14 against Cal State Los Angeles. Finally, Powell has made 148 career three-pointers, the eighth most in UCSB history.

• Byrd's Season Put 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 Serna made his first career start and played a career-high 32 minutes on Jan. 10 against Cal State Fullerton. In fact, he has recorded a career-high in minutes-played in each of the last two games. He played 27 on Jan. 8 against UC Irvine. Despite playing 32 minutes, Serna attempted just two field goals in the last game, making one. He did, however, equal his high in rebounds with seven, a figure he has now achieved three times. Serna is averaging 5.0 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. He has scored a season-high eight points three times, including a Jan. 4 game at UC Riverside. His rebounding average ranks him third on the team, second among active players, and in five games since Jesse Byrd's injury, Serna has averaged 4.4 rebounds. Also, while he is averaging 18.6 minutes per game, he has played 21 or more in the last four games, averaging 25.5 per game over that span.

• The Sultan Of Swat
After starting four straight games, freshman center Greg Somogyi came of the bench on Jan. 10 against Cal State Fullerton. Somogyi played just 10 minutes against the Titans, his lowest total in six games, posting four points, two rebounds, and a blocked shot. He is now averaging 3.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game. The native of Budapest has 14 blocked shots in his last six games, a total of 94 minutes. Somogyi had a career-high five in 15 minutes on Dec. 20 at San Diego State and his 24 on the season already ranks tied for second all-time among UCSB freshmen.

• Strike A Posley
Although D.J. Posley played 19 minutes on Jan. 10 against Cal State Fullerton - his lowest total since leaving a Nov. 21 game against North Carolina with leg cramps - he had one of his best offensive games of the season. Posley made 4-of-7 shots against the Titans and had eight points, equaling his second-highest total in seven games. He scored a career-high 10 on Dec. 17 at Weber State, and has had eight or more six times, all in his last 11 games. Posley leads the Gauchos in assists at 2.5 per game. He had four on Jan. 8 vs. UC Irvine and has had five three times.

• The Flying Nunnally
Freshman James Nunnally has been in the starting lineup in four of the last five games, including the last two. On Jan. 10 against Cal State Fullerton, Nunnally had one of his best all-around games with seven points and five rebounds. In the game against the Titans, he made 1-of-3 shots overall, 1-for-2 from three-point range, but he attempted six free throws, making four. Nunnally is now averaging 6.3 points per game, but is scoring at 7.0 per game in the last five. He is also averaging 3.2 rebounds, but has averaged 4.5 per game in the last two. Also, while he has attempted 39 free throws this season, 23 have come in the last five games. In his first start, against Ball State on Dec. 29, 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 North Carolina.

• Something's Brewing
One game after having - by far - his best offensive game of the season, Will Brew, Jr., had his quietest. On Jan. 8, against UC Irvine, Brew made 6-of-7 three-point attempts, including six in a row to start the game, and scored a career-high 18 points. The six three-point baskets were the same total that he made in the first 14 games of the season and the 18 points equaled his total for the six previous games. On Jan. 10, against Cal State Fullerton, he attempted just one shot in 26 minutes and was scoreless for the first time this season. Brew did pace the Gauchos in assists against the Titans with three. On Jan. 8 against UCI, he not only had 18 points, but he tied his high with five rebounds. Brew is now averaging 4.2 points and 2.2 rebounds per game, and despite his scoreless effort on Jan. 10, he is averaging 7.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.2 steals in four Big West games . Also, while he is shooting 41.8% overall and 44.4% from three-point range, he has been much better in the last four games, making 62.5% overall and 72.7% from three-point range.

• Roemer Wasn't Built In A Day
After starting the first seven games of the season, junior Paul Roemer has come off the bench in each of the last nine. On Jan. 10 against Cal State Fullerton, Roemer played 19 minutes and had one of his best games in a few weeks, going for five points, four rebounds, two assists, and one steal. He also made his 12th three-pointer of the season, tied for second on the team. The four rebounds he had against Fullerton equaled his total for seven prior games.

• Sam He Is
After scoring just seven points in 15 games last year, sophomore Sam Phippen has 38 in 16 this season. He was, however, scoreless in five minutes on Jan. 10 against Cal State Fullerton and he has not made a field goal in the last three games, a total of 20 minutes. Phippen has scored a season-high six twice, once each against Utah State on Nov. 17 and against Loyola Marymount on Dec. 13.

• Jordan Rules
After scoring 11 points in a career-high 24 minutes on Dec. 29 against Ball State - his first career start - Jordan Weiner returned to his role as a reserve. He did not play on Jan. 10 against Fullerton, his second DNP of the season, and in his last three games he was scoreless in 17 total minutes. Weiner has gone 13-for-31 from the field this season, including 10-of-25 from three-point territory.