February 11, 2009

Gauchos Return Home for 6 of Final 7 Games, Host Cal Poly 'Date Night at the Dome' on Saturday

Feb. 11, 2009

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• The Schedule Game No. 23
Saturday, February 14, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Cal Poly Mustangs
at UCSB's Thunderdome
Radio: KIST 1490-AM in Santa Barbara
Game available on Gametracker

Game No. 24
Wednesday, February 18, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. the University of the Pacific Tigers
at UCSB's Thunderdome
Radio: KIST 1490-AM in Santa Barbara
Game available on Gametracker

• Gauchos Return Home For Six Of Last Seven Games
After playing 14 of its last 19 games away from home, UCSB returns to Santa Barbara for six of its final seven regular season games beginning with a Valentine's night match-up against Cal Poly. For "Date Night at the `Dome," fans can purchase two tickets for the price of one and the first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive commemorative "I Love You" teddy bears. 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.

• Valentine's Night Is 'Date Night At The Dome'
The UC Santa Barbara men's basketball team will host Cal Poly on Valentines night, Feb. 14, and while there will be little love lost between the Central Coast rivals, there should be plenty of love in the stands. Valentines night will be "Date Night at the 'Dome." Couples will be able to purchase two tickets for the price of one, and the first 1,000 fans through the gates will receive special Valentines teddy bears. In addition to the teddy bears and two-for-one tickets, couples will have the opportunity to win "Date Night" prizes when they participate in a variety of couples-themed promotions throughout the game. Tickets are available by clicking here to download a coupon that can be redeemed at the Thunderdome box office beginning at 6:00 p.m. on game night, or at the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus.

• 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. Steve Wendt, the voice of the UCSB women's basketball team, will handle the play-by-play for a several of men's games.

• The Gaucho Record
UCSB returns home with an overall record of 9-13 and a Big West mark of 3-7. The Gauchos ended a four-game losing streak on Feb. 7 with a 65-56 win at UC Irvine. The victory was UCSB's third true road win of the year and the fifth away from home. Santa Barbara has gone 4-4 in home games this season with two of the losses coming to North Carolina and Utah State, both of which are ranked in the top-25.

• UCSB To Host Montana State In Feb. 21 ESPNU BracketBuster Match-Up
UCSB will host Montana State in an ESPNU BracketBuster game. The Gauchos will play the Bobcats on Saturday, Feb. 21 at 7:00 p.m. in the Thunderdome. The Gauchos and Bobcats have played eight times in a series that dates back to 1972. The last time the teams met was on Nov. 24, 2007, when UCSB recorded a 76-61 victory in Santa Barbara. The game will not be televised.

• UCSB Rallies To Victory At UC Irvine, 65-56
Chris Devine scored 19 points and Will Brew, Jr., added 14, including 12 in the second half, as UC Santa Barbara overcame a 10-point deficit to win at UC Irvine, 65-56. The Gauchos trailed the Anteaters 30-20 with less than three minutes to play in the first half, but scored the final nine points to pull within one, 30-29 at halftime. A lay-up by Devine, a three-pointer by James Powell and a pair of buckets by James Nunnally gave UCSB hope going into the break. Irvine maintained the lead for the first 10 minutes of the second half. When Michael Hunter made a driving lay-up with 12:17 to play, the Anteaters still led by six, 42-36. A 15-footer by Devine, a three-point shot by Sam Phippen and then a pair of free throws from Jaimé Serna, however, gave the Gauchos their first lead of the game, 43-42 with 9:59 remaining. After UCI reclaimed the lead 45-43 on an old-fashioned three-point play by Brett Lauer, UCSB went ahead for good on the first of two three-pointers from Brew. His three with 9:12 to play put the Gauchos up 46-45. Serna then made a jumper from the side of the lane to extend the lead to 48-45. Anteater forward Eric Wise, who finished with a game-high 23 points, pulled his team back within one on a lay-up, but Brew was fouled while attempting a three-pointer and made two out of three free throws to make it 50-47 Gauchos. Wise responded again, making another lay-up, but Brew's second three-pointer of the game gave UCSB its biggest lead to that point, 53-49, with 5:59 to play. Following consecutive defensive stops, Brew made one out of two free throws and then scored on a lay-up with 4:21 to play, extending the lead to 56-49. The freshman had scored eight straight for the Gauchos. Wise and Devine traded baskets and UCSB still led by seven, 58-51, with 3:22 left in the game, but a three-pointer by Brett Lauer, his fourth of the game, cut the gap to 58-54. The Anteaters got no closer the rest of the way as the Gauchos ended a four-game losing streak with a 65-56 win.

• The Opponents
UCSB and Cal Poly have played 91 times in a series that dates back to 1938. The Gauchos have won the last three games, including a 72-62 decision in San Luis Obispo on Jan. 17. Santa Barbara won both of the games between the schools during the 2007-08 campaign. UCSB and Pacific have played 98 times in a series that began in 1947. The Tigers hold a 51-47 all-time lead. The game will mark the second of the season between the schools. Pacific defeated the Gauchos in Stockton on Jan. 24, 58-36. Last year, the schools split a pair of games with each team winning on the other teams home court.

• Possible Starters - Notes
G - 1 - D.J. Posley - Played just 14 minutes in the win at UC Irvine.
G - 4 - Paul Roemer - His three-pointer at UC Irvine was his first since returning from injury.
G - 20 - Will Brew, Jr. - Scored 14 points, his second-highest total this year, at UC Irvine.
F - 0 - Jaimé Serna - Averaging 11.7 points and 6.0 rebounds in the last three games.
F - 10 - Chris Devine - Has moved into fourth on UCSB's all-time scoring list with 1,459 points.

• Possible Reserves - Notes G - 2 - Nick Quick - Played a career-high seven minutes on Jan. 24 at Pacific.
G - 3 - Jordan Weiner - Ranks second on the team with 19 three-point baskets.
G - 21 - James Nunnally - Has averaged 7.0 points per game in the last five.
G - 42 - James Powell - Averaging 15.0 points per game at home, 7.3 on the road.
F - 15 - Sam Phippen - Had career-high five rebounds in win at UC Irvine.
F - 44 - Jesse Byrd - Had six rebounds at UCI, his highest total since returning from injury.
C - 55 - Greg Somogyi - His 30 blocked shots are second most by a freshman in UCSB history.

• 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 172-144. 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 103-71 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 361-244 (.593) at four-year schools.

• Then There Was One: The Injury Report
Junior point guard Justin Joyner is the only UCSB player remaining on the injured list. Joyner had surgery on his right wrist prior to the season and will not play in 2008-09. He will apply to the NCAA for a redshirt year and should return as a junior in 2009-10. Jesse Byrd, who missed eight games with a knee injury, has played in the last three games. While his time has been limited, Byrd has 6.3 points and 3.3 rebounds since his return. Junior guard Paul Roemer missed three games with a shoulder injury, but has been back for the last three games.

• Home Cooking Should Mean Less Heartburn
Since opening the season with three consecutive home games, UCSB has spent a lot of time on the road. As mentioned earlier, the Gauchos have played 14 of their last 19 games, including seven of 10 Big West games, away from home. They have gone 5-9 in games away from home, including 3-9 in true road games. At home, UCSB is 4-4. Statistically, the difference in road games vs. home games is striking, particularly the various shooting percentages for the Gauchos and their opponents. As noted in the chart below, Santa Barbara shoots better and defends better at the Thunderdome. While UCSB is being outscored in road games by a 7.1 point per game margin, it is outscoring opponents in home games by a margin of 3.8 points per game.

• Home-Road Comparison

Category         Home   Road
Scoring          67.2   62.8
Opp. Scoring     63.4   69.9
Margin           +3.8   -7.1
FG%              45.5%  42.7%
Opp. FG%         41.9%  47.8%
3-Pt. FG%        37.8%  29.0%
Opp. 3-Pt. FG%   31.3%  41.6%
FT%              71.6%  67.5%  

• Getting Defensive
While the Gauchos have had their problems on the offensive end of the court at times this season, they have been pretty solid defensively. On the year, UCSB opponents are averaging 65.5 points per game, shooting 44.7% overall and 36.5% from three-point range. In the last four games, opponents are averaging 64.5 points per game and they are shooting 41.6% overall and 32.5% from three-point range. The Gauchos have limited opponents to fewer than 60 points twice in the last four games.

• Three-Point Rollercoaster
In the last four games, UCSB has been on a three-point rollercoaster. Beginning on Jan. 24 at Pacific, the Gauchos have made 14.3%, 57.1% (vs. Cal State Northridge), 22.2% (at Cal State Fullerton, and 53.8% (at UC Irvine).

• Rebounding Revival
After being outrebounded in four straight games, UCSB has regained its rebounding edge in the last two games. On Feb. 5 at Cal State Fullerton, the Gauchos crushed the Titans on the boards, 49-32. The total rebounds and the margin were both season-highs. On Feb. 7 at UC Irvine, UCSB outrebounded UC Irvine by eight, 34-26. On the season, Santa Barbara is outrebounding its opponents by 1.5 per game.

• 20-20: A Rare Feat
On Feb. 5, senior Chris Devine and freshman Jaimé Serna each scored 20 points. It was just the second time this season that two Gauchos scored 20 points in the same game. On Nov. 24 at San Francisco, Devine had 24 while James Powell scored a season-high 22.

• Comeback Kids
On Feb. 7 at UC Irvine, UCSB trailed by 10 points late in the first half. The Gauchos used a 9-0 run at the end of the half to cut the Anteater lead to one, 30-29, at the break. In the second half, UCSB outscored UCI 36-26 and won the game by a score of 72-65. It marked the first time this season that the Gauchos came back from a halftime deficit to win. Entering the game at Irvine, Santa Barbara had trailed at half in nine games, losing them all.

• 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 22 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 together four times this season.

• Freshmen Block Party
The Gauchos have blocked 54 shots on the season, an average of 2.45 per game. Freshman Greg Somogyi leads the way with 30, 55.6% 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 nine, while James Nunnally has three, and Will Brew, Jr., has two. Combined the first-year foursome has 44 of the team's 54 swats, an impressive 81.5%.

• 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 eight different starting fives.

• Devine Intervention
Chris Devine had three of his best performances of the season in the last three games. On Feb. 7 at UC Irvine, he had a team-high 19 points to go along with five rebounds, one assist and one steal. Devine made 8-of-12 shots for the game, including a three-pointer. In two games prior to the game at Irvine, he recorded double-doubles, going for 20 points and 12 rebounds on Feb. 5 at Cal State Fullerton and 16 points and 12 rebounds on Jan. 29 against Cal State Northridge. He now has four double-doubles on the year. On the season, Devine is averaging a team-high 15.0 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. In the last three games, he has averaged 18.3 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game. Over that same span, he has made a pair of three-point shots while making 19-of-32 shots overall, 59.4%. When he scored 20 points on Feb. 5 at Cal State Fullerton, Devine jumped from sixth-place on UCSB's all-time scoring list to fourth, where he still resides with 1,459 career points. He needs 122 to move past Mark Hull and into third all-time. In addition, he enters the week with 663 career rebounds, sixth all-time. He needs just two to move past Scott Fisher and into fifth. If, or more likely when, Devine moves into fifth, he will join Doug Rex as the only players in school history to rank in the top-five in both rebounds and points. While he is averaging 15.0 points per game overall, Devine has tallied 228 in the last 14 games, 16.3 per game. Over that span he scored in double-figures 12 times, including a stretch of eight straight games. He has also scored 20 or more five times this season, including four times in the last 10 games. He had a season-high 27 points on Jan. 22 at UC Davis. Devine opened league play with back-to-back 20 point games for the only time this season. He tallied 20 on Jan. 2 at Long Beach State and he went for 24 on Jan. 4 at UC Riverside. The Eagle River, Alaska-native has had seven or more rebounds in eight of the last 11 games, averaging 7.9 per game over that span.

• Devine's Double-Doubles

Date     Opponent                Pts.    Rebs.
Nov. 14	 Cal State Los Angeles    17      11
Nov. 28	 Winston-Salem            12      10
Jan. 29	 Cal State Northridge     16      12
Feb. 5	 Cal State Fullerton      20      12

• Old Buddy, Old Powell
After scoring 14 and making all four of his three-point attempts in a Jan. 29 game against Cal State Northridge, junior guard James Powell has struggled offensively in the last two games. In the games at Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine, Powell totaled just five points and made only 1-of-11 shots from the field. He is now averaging 10.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game. While UCSB in general has had offensive problems on the road, Powell has epitomized those problems. In home games, the Pomona, Calif., native is averaging 15.5 points per game while shooting 47.2% overall and 32.7% from three-point range. In 12 true road games, he is averaging 7.3 points per game while shooting 27.7% overall and 24.2% from beyond the three-point arc. Ironically, Powell scored his season high - 22 points - on the road in San Francisco. He has been in double-figures 11 times, including seven times in eight home games and once on a neutral court. Powell has gone scoreless twice this season, at Pacific and at Cal State Fullerton. In addition to his 22-point effort at USF, he had back-to-back 19-point games on Jan. 8 and Jan. 10 against UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton. On the year, he continues to lead the Gauchos in three-point baskets with 37 and he has made at least one in 18 of 22 games. He has 154 career three-point baskets, seventh most in school history. He needs 10 to move into fifth all-time. Powell made a season-best six on Nov. 24 at San Francisco. 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 enters the week with 876 career points and needs 124 to become the 23rd Gaucho to score 1,000 points.

• A Byrd In The Lineup Is Better Than One On The Mend
Junior forward Jesse Byrd injured his knee in the Dec. 20 game at San Diego State. He was expected to be out until mid-February, but he returned early and has played in the last three games. In three games since his return, Byrd has averaged 6.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. On Feb. 7 at UC Irvine, he had four points and six rebounds in just 10 minutes. In terms of average, he remains the Gauchos' leader in rebounds at 6.7 per game. Byrd has made 9-of-15 shots, 56.2%, since his return. The transfer from San Francisco still leads UCSB in field goal percentage at 58.4%. Prior to his injury, Byrd had five or more rebounds in every game in which he played and has now done so in 12 of 14 appearances. Byrd has a pair of double-doubles this season. On Dec. 17 at Weber State he had 10 points and 14 rebounds. The 14 rebounds were the most by a Gaucho in five seasons. He also had 13 points and 12 rebounds on Dec. 4 at Utah Valley. In the five games prior to his injury, Byrd averaged 10.4 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.

• Yes, Serna
Freshman forward Jaimé Serna had four points and four rebounds in the Feb. 7 win at UC Irvine. One game earlier, on Feb. 5 at Cal State Fullerton, he had easily his best game as a Gaucho. Against the Titans, Serna made 8-of-12 shots from the field, scoring a career-high 20 points. He also had a career-high eight rebounds. The native of Laguna Beach set a career-high for scoring in two consecutive games prior to the game at Irvine. On Jan. 29 he had 11 against Cal State Northridge. By averaging 11.7 points in the last three games, Serna has lifted his average on the year to 6.1 per game. Also, with 17 boards in the last three, he is now averaging 3.7 per game. Prior to the Feb. 5 game at Fullerton, his personal-best in rebounds was seven, a figure Serna has achieved three times this season. Finally, while Serna is averaging 19.7 minutes per game, he has played 20 or more in eight of the last 10, averaging 23.9 per game over that span.

• The Hungary Hunter
Since scoring a career-high 14 on Jan. 22 at UC Davis, freshman center Greg Somogyi has struggled offensively. In the last four games, the native of Budapest has totaled four points. He was 1-for-3 in 15 minutes on Feb. 7 at UC Irvine. In the two games prior to the last four, Somogyi tallied 22 points, 11.0 per game. On the year, he is averaging 3.9 points and 2.7 rebounds per game. Somogyi continues to lead the Gauchos in blocked shots with 30, the second most by a UCSB freshman ever. He needs nine to tie Doug Muse for first all-time. He had a career-high five on Dec. 20 at San Diego State, and he has blocked at least one shot in 11 of the last 12 and 18 of 22 overall.

• The Flying Nunnally
Freshman James Nunnally came off the bench and had six points, two rebounds, and a steal at UC Irvine. On Feb. 5 at Cal State Fullerton, he had nine points, equaling his third-highest total of the year, and four rebounds. Nunnally has scored nine or more six times, including twice in the last four games. He set career-highs of 22 points and seven rebounds on Nov. 21 against North Carolina. While he is shooting 40.7% for the season and made 3-of-6 at Irvine, he has not been up-to-par with his shooting in recent games. In the last eight games, Nunnally has made 15-of-47 shots overall, 31.9%. Over that same span, he made 3-for-14 from thee-point range, 21.4%. He is now averaging 6.4 points and 3.2 rebounds per game overall. Nunnally has had three or more rebounds in six of the last eight games and he has had five or more five times this season. Also, while he has attempted 51 free throws on the year, 37 have come in the last 11 games.

• Where There's A Will, There's A Way
Freshman guard Will Brew, Jr., scored 14 points, on 4-of-6 shooting overall and 2-of-3 from three-point range in the Feb. 7 win at UC Irvine. It was Brew's second-highest point total of the season - he had 18 on Jan. 8 against the Anteaters. Not only did he score 14 points, but he scored eight straight for the Gauchos in the pivotal second half. In six games between his career-best 18-point performance and his 14-point outburst, Brew scored 10 total points. He had a third double-figure scoring effort on Dec. 4 when he had 11 points at Utah Valley. Overall, Brew is averaging 4.1 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game. He also has 22 steals, equaling the 10th most by a freshman in school history. He is shooting 45.2% from three-point range, the best on the team among players with at least 20 attempts. Brew now has 14 three-pointers on the year, third on the team.

• Strike A Posley
Senior guard D.J. Posley played 14 minutes at UC Irvine, his lowest total since he cramped-up and missed the second half of a Nov. 21 game against North Carolina. He had three points, two assists, and a steal against the Anteaters. In two games prior to Saturday, Posley had played 31 and 30 minutes respectively. It was the first time in his career he played 30 or more in consecutive games. He is averaging 6.1 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and a team-leading 2.6 assists per game. Posley scored a career-high 17 points on Jan. 17 at Cal Poly, making 6-of-9 shots from the field. He also had a career-high seven rebounds against the Mustangs. He's had a season-high five assists three times this year, but not since Dec. 13 against Loyola Marymount.

• Roemer Wasn't Healed In A Day
Junior guard Paul Roemer returned to the lineup on Jan. 29. He had missed three games with a shoulder injury. Roemer has been in the starting lineup in each of the three games since his return. On Feb. 7 at UC Irvine he had three points, on a three-point basket, and a pair of rebounds. On Feb. 5 against Cal State Fullerton, he tied his career-high with five rebounds. Roemer is averaging 3.3 points, 1.7 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game. He scored a season-high 11 on Nov. 28 against Winston-Salem State.

• Jordan Rules
Sophomore guard Jordan Weiner was scoreless in three minutes on Feb. 7 at UC Irvine. After averaging 17.5 minutes over a four-game span, Weiner has totaled just four in the last two games. He has made 22 baskets on the year, 19 from three-point range. Weiner has made at least one three in five of the last six games and his last 12 buckets have been from beyond the arc. He scored a career-high 14 on Jan. 17 at Cal Poly, making four three-pointers in the process. His other double-figure scoring game of came in his only start of the year on Dec. 29 vs. Ball State.

• Sam He Is
Sam Phippen played arguably his best game as a Gaucho on Feb. 7 at UC Irvine. In 17 minutes, his highest total since Dec. 4, he scored five points our minutes and had a career-high five rebounds. He also made his sixth three-point basket of the year. Phippen is now averaging 2.4 points and 1.6 rebounds per game.

• 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