January 19, 2009

Back on Winning Track, UCSB Heads to the Central Valley for Two

Jan. 19, 2009

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• The Schedule
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

Game No. 19
Saturday, January 24, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at the University of the Pacific Tigers
at Pacific's A.G. Spanos Center
Radio: KIST 1490-AM in Santa Barbara
TV: ESPNU
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 Remains On The Road
UC Santa Barbara 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 Thursday's game with an 8-9 record overall and a 2-3 record in Big West games. On Saturday night, the Gauchos defeated Cal Poly on the road, 72-62. The win ended a four-game road losing streak and it was the team's first Big West road victory this season. UCSB has now won two of its last three games, defeating UC Irvine (68-61) and losing to Cal State Fullerton (62-58).

• Two Of Next Three On ESPNU: Here's Where To Find It
UCSB will be televised on ESPNU twice in the next three games. The game at Pacific on Saturday, Jan. 24 and a Jan. 29 home game against Cal State Northridge will both be carried live on ESPNU with Steve Physioc and former Arizona star Miles Simon calling the action. The Gauchos' game against Northridge has been moved to 8:00 p.m. to accommodate the telecast. ESPNU is available on channel 264 on Cox Digital Cable in Santa Barbara, on Direct TV channel 614, and Dish Network channel 148. Check with your local cable provider for your channel number.

• UCSB Gets Back On-Track With 72-62 Win At Cal Poly
D.J. Posley scored a career-high 17 points and Jordan Weiner added a career-high 14, to lead UC Santa Barbara to a 72-62 road win at Cal Poly on Saturday night. Posley scored 11 of his 17 points in the second half while Weiner had 12 of his 14 in the first half. The Mustangs had their biggest lead of six points twice in the first half, the last time at 16-10 with 11:41 to play. That's when Weiner went to work, making three three-pointers over the next three minutes, leading a 9-2 run and giving the Gauchos their first lead of the game at 19-18 with 8:33 left. Cal Poly took one more lead in the first half, 20-19 on a jumper by Shawn Lewis, but a 7-0 UCSB run, which included another Weiner three-pointer, was capped by a Jaimé Serna lay-up, giving the Gauchos a 26-20 lead. The lead reached as high as eight in the first half, 30-22, but was 33-27 at the buzzer. Cal Poly scored the first basket of the second half on a short jumper by Titus Shelton, cutting the Gaucho lead to 33-29. The four-point deficit was the closest the game would be the rest of the way. UCSB's biggest lead was 55-41 with 7:26 to play in the game. The Mustangs got no closer than 61-56 the rest of the way. In addition to his career-high 17 points, Posley added a career-high seven rebounds as well as four assists and a pair of steals. He and Weiner, who both came off the bench, were forced into a more prominent role because of the absence of Paul Roemer, who missed the game with an injured shoulder. Freshman center Greg Somogyi was also a key in the second half, scoring all of his eight points in the final 20 minutes. Senior Chris Devine added eight points, six rebounds, two assists and a season-high four steals.

• The Opponents
UCSB and UC Davis have played 16 times in a series that dates back to 1959. The Gauchos 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. The Gauchos and Pacific have played 97 times in a series that dates back to 1947. The Tigers hold a 50-47 all-time edge over Santa Barbara. The teams split a pair of games last season with each winning on the road. Pacific won in Santa Barbara, 71-58, and UCSB won in Stockton by a score of 60-53.

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 171-140. 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 360-240 (.600) at four-year schools.

• Roemer Joins Byrd, Joyner On Injured List
UCSB junior guard Paul Roemer injured his right shoulder in practice last week. He missed Saturday's game at Cal Poly and is doubtful for Thursday night's game at UC Davis. Prior to Saturday night, Roemer had played in all 16 games, starting seven. He is averaging 3.7 points, 2.1 assists, and 1.5 rebounds per game. 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, is redshirting the 2008-09 season as he recovers from wrist surgery.

• On The Road Again
UCSB will remain on the road for its next two games. The Gauchos will also play four of their next five away from home. When the next two games have been played, they will have played 12 out of 16 games away from home and when the next five games are in the books, the figure will be 14 out of 19 games. UCSB has struggled on the road this season with a 2-6 record in true road games and a 4-6 mark in games away from home. Following the next five games, the Gauchos will end the season by playing six of their final seven games at home.

• Something In Reserve
The bad news for UCSB on Saturday at Cal Poly was that no starter scored in double-figures. The good news is that two reserves scored in double-figures and that the bench combined for a season-high 44 points. Senior guard D.J. Posley had a career-high 17 and sophomore guard Jordan Weiner had a career-high 14. Posley scored 11 of his points in the second half while Weiner scored 12 of his in the first half. The reserve guard-duo was supplemented by freshman center Greg Somogyi, who had eight points, and sophomore forward Sam Phippen, who had five. The reserves accounted for 61.1% of the Gauchos 72 points, including 24 in the second half.

• 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 67.4% from the charity stripe for the season, they have made 76 out of 97 in the last four games, 78.4%. UCSB has been at or over 70.0% in its last four games, the longest such streak of the season. Overall, the Gauchos have been over 70.0% eight times this season. They made a season-best 87.1%, 27-for-31, on Jan. 4 at UC Riverside.

• Getting Defensive
While opponents are shooting 44.9% overall against the Gauchos, the last three opponents have made just 69-of-168 overall, 41.1%, and the last two have gone 45-of-113, 39.8%. Taking the defensive tone a little further, UCSB has held each of its last three opponents to 62 points or fewer. On the year, the opposition is averaging 64.4 points per game, but in the last three they are averaging 61.7. In 17 games this season, Santa Barbara has held opponents to 70 points or fewer 12 times, including a season-low 38 by Nicholls State on Nov. 29. The most points tallied by a Gaucho opponent this season was the 87 scored by Illinois State on Nov. 30. Then top-ranked North Carolina scored 84 on Nov. 21.

• Making A Point
The Gauchos scored 72 points on Jan. 17 at Cal Poly, the first time they had eclipsed 70 in five games and - believe it or not - equaling the team's second highest scoring output of the season.

• As The Ball Turns...Over
One game after recording a season-high 24 turnovers against Cal State Fullerton, UCSB brought some sanity back to the court. In Saturday's win at Cal Poly, the Gauchos committed just 11 turnovers, one more than their season-low, and they had a positive assist-to-turnover ratio for the first time in five games. Santa Barbara had 14 assists to go with its 11 turnovers. UCSB is now averaging 16.5 turnovers per game, and even with the season-high 24 against the Titans factored in, they have averaged just 14.0 per game in the last six games. In two of those games - Dec. 29 against Ball State and Jan. 2 at Long Beach State - they had a season-low 10 turnovers.

• Stolen Moments
The Gauchos are averaging 7.0 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. On Saturday, Santa Barbara tied its season-high with 11 steals, including a season-high four by Chris Devine. Overall, six different players had at least one steal against Cal Poly and three, James Powell and D.J. Posley joining Devine, had at least two. Posley leads the Gauchos with 24 on the season.

• 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 17 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. Brew, Nunnally, and Serna have been in the starting lineup in each of the last two games.

• Freshmen Block Party
The Gauchos have blocked 46 shots on the season, an average of 2.7 per game. Freshman Greg Somogyi leads the way with 25, 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 36 of the team's 46 swats, an impressive 78.3%.

• 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.

• Possible Starters - Notes
G - 20 - Will Brew, Jr. - After career-high 18 vs. UCI, has scored two points in the last two games.
G - 42 - James Powell - Has averaged 15.7 points in last three games.
G - 21 - James Nunnally - Played career-high 31 minutes at Cal Poly.
F - 0 - Jaimé Serna -Has had at least one steal in three straight games.
F - 10 - Chris Devine - Has 1,369 career points. Needs 31 to move into 7th all-time.

• Possible Reserves - Notes
G - 1 - D.J. Posley - Had career-highs for points (17) and rebounds (7) at Cal Poly.
G - 2 - Nick Quick - Has played in 8 out of the 17 games.
G - 3 - Jordan Weiner - Scored career-high 14 points at Cal Poly.
G - 4 - Paul Roemer - Missed Cal Poly game with shoulder injury. Still questionable.
F - 15 - Sam Phippen - After scoring 7 points last year, he has 43 in 17 games this year.
F - 44 - Jesse Byrd - Could return in mid-February after knee surgery on Dec. 31.
C - 55 - Greg Somogyi - Ranks second on all-time freshman blocked shot list with 25.

• Devine Intervention
Although Chris Devine had his streak of double-figure scoring games ended at eight consecutive when he had eight points on Jan. 17 against Cal Poly, he is generally playing his best offensive basketball since the 2006-07 season. Devine is averaging 14.1 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. In the last nine games, he has scored 138 points, an average of 15.3 per game. The eight-game double-figures scoring streak was 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. The Eagle River, Alaska-native has averaged 7.0 rebounds per game in the six games since the team's leading rebounder, Jesse Byrd, went down with a knee injury. He enters Thursday's game at UC Davis with 1,369 total points and needs 31 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 619, the eighth most all-time. He needs 18 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 scored nine points, took four rebounds, and had a pair of steals in the Jan. 17 win at Cal Poly. The nine-point effort ended Powell's streak of double-figure scoring games at five in a row. He had 19 points in each of two games prior to Jan. 17, two of his three highest scoring games of the year. Powell is enters the week averaging 11.9 points per game. In the game at Cal Poly, he made 3-of-7 shots. The seven attempts were his lowest total since he attempted a season-low five at San Diego State on Dec. 20. Powell has scored in double-figures 10 times this season. He had a season-high 22 on Nov. 24 at San Francisco. While he has made 17-of-36 shots in the last three games, a solid 47.2%, he has generally struggled with his shooting this season, making 34.8% overall and 29.1% from three-point range. In 10 games prior to the last three, 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 32 and he has made at least one in 16 of 17 games, including the last six. He is averaging 2.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.2 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. Powell has made 149 career three-pointers, the eighth most in UCSB history. He needs one to tie for seventh. Finally, Powell enters the week with 851 career points and needs 149 to become the 23rd Gaucho to hit the 1,000 point mark.

• 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 has started the last two games, the first two starts of his career. On Jan. 10 against Cal State Fullerton, he made his first start and tied his career-high with seven rebounds while playing a career-high 32 minutes. On Jan. 17 against Cal Poly, he was limited to 18 minutes before he was ejected from the game after walking onto the court during a mini-fracas. Serna had four points, three rebounds, and one steal in the game against the Mustangs. He is averaging 4.9 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 4.5 rebounds. Also, while he is averaging 18.6 minutes per game, he has played 21 or more in four of the last five, averaging 24.0 per game over that span.

• The Hungary Hunter
Freshman center Greg Somogyi had one of his best offensive games of the season on Jan. 17 at Cal Poly, making 4-of-7 shots and scoring eight points. Somogyi is now averaging a season-high 4.0 points per game, including 6.0 in the last two games, and the field goals and attempts were both career-highs. The eight points were one short of his career-high of nine, set on Dec. 29 against Ball State. Somogyi also had three rebounds and one blocked shot in his 17 minutes against the Mustangs. He continues to lead the Gauchos in blocked shots with 25, the second most by a UCSB freshman ever. He had a career-high five - in just 15 minutes - on Dec. 20 at San Diego State, and he has blocked at least one shot in seven straight and 14 of 17 overall.

• Strike A Posley
Senior guard D.J. Posley had easily his best game as a Gaucho in the Jan. 17 win at Cal Poly. Coming off the bench for the third straight game, Posley had career-highs of 17 points and seven rebounds. He also had two steals and a game-high four assists. He made 6-of-9 shots from the field and 5-of-6 from the free throw line against the Mustangs. Posley is now averaging 6.6 points per game, fourth on the team, while he paces UCSB in assists (2.6 per game) and steals (24). He has had a season-high five assists three times and four or more five times. Also, Posley has had at least one steal 15 times in his 16 appearances this season, two or more six times, and a season-high four on Dec. 13 against Loyola Marymount. He has at least one steal in his last 11 games. Finally, while Posley is shooting just 39.4% for the season, he has gone 10-of-16 from the field in the last two games, 62.5%, and 12-of-20 in the last three games, 60.0%. In the seven games prior to the most recent three, the native of Hazel Crest, Ill., made 17 out of 57 shots, 29.8%.

• The Flying Nunnally
Freshman James Nunnally has been in the starting lineup in five of the last six games, including the last three. Despite struggling with his shooting, Nunnally is coming off of two of his best all-around games. On Jan. 10 against Cal State Fullerton, he had 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. On Saturday at Cal Poly, Nunnally made just 1-of-5 shots, missing his only three, but finished with five points, four rebounds, three assists, and one steal. He is now averaging 6.2 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. Nunnally has had four or more rebounds in three straight, averaging 4.3 over that span. Also, while he has attempted 43 free throws this season, 27 have come in the last six 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
In two games since scoring a career-high 18 points against UC Irvine, freshman guard Will Brew, Jr., has scored a total of just two points. Brew, who has started nine of the last 10 games, was scoreless on Jan. 10 against Cal State Fullerton and on Jan. 17 against Cal Poly, he had just two points. However, in each of the last two games he has had three assists. In fact, in the last two games, Brew has six assists and just three turnovers in 52 minutes. On the year, he is now averaging 4.1 points, 1.9 assists, 2.2 rebounds, and 1.0 steals per game. He has scored in double-figures twice, going for 11 on Dec. 4 at Utah Valley in addition to his outburst against UCI. Brew has 69 points on the year, 29 coming in those two games. In the game against UCI, he made 6-of-7 three-point attempts, including six in a row to start the game. He now has 12 three-pointers on the year, tied for third on the team. On Jan. 8 against UCI, he not only had 18 points, but he tied his high with five rebounds.

• Roemer Wasn't Built In A Day
Junior guard Paul Roemer missed the Jan. 17 game at Cal Poly with a shoulder injury. He remains questionable for this week's games. After starting the first seven games of the season, Roemer has come off the bench in each of his last eight. 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 and is now tied for third on the team. The four rebounds he had against Fullerton equaled his total for seven previous games.

• Jordan Rules
Sophomore guard Jordan Weiner came off the bench to score a career-high 14 in the Jan. 17 win at Cal Poly. Weiner made a career-high four three-pointers and scored 12 points in the first half against the Mustangs. He scored 11 points, his previous season-high, on Dec. 29 against Ball State. Weiner has now made 14 three-pointers and two two-pointers on the year. He is second on the team in three-pointers made.

• Sam He Is
After scoring just two points over a three-game span, sophomore forward Sam Phippen had five points in eight minutes on Jan. 17 at Cal Poly. Phippen made his fourth three-pointer of the season and also had three rebounds against the Mustangs. He is now averaging 2.5 points and 1.5 rebounds per game and has scored 43 points in 17 games after tallying just seven points in 15 games last year.

• 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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