February 15, 2008

Gauchos Open Three-Game Road Trip Saturday at UC Davis

Feb. 15, 2008

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The Schedule
Game No. 25
Saturday, February 16, 2008 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at UC Davis Aggies
at UCD's Pavilion
Radio: KTMS 990/1490-AM
Television: None
Internet: Bigwest.org

Game No. 26
Wednesday, February 20, 2008 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at the University of the Pacific Tigers
at UOP's Spanos Center
Radio: KTMS 990/1490-AM
Television: None
Internet: Bigwest.org

UCSB Travels To Utah State For ESPNU O'Reilly BracketBusters
UCSB will play at Utah State on Friday, Feb. 22 in the ESPNU O'Reilly BracketBusters. The teams have not met since the Aggies departed the Big West for the Western Athletic Conference following the 2004-05 campaign. While 100 schools will take part in BracketBusters, just 14 games will be televised, including the UCSB-USU match-up. ESPN determined this week that the game will be broadcast on ESPNU and it will tip-off at 6:00 p.m. (PST)

On The Record
UC Santa Barbara enters Saturday's game at UC Davis with an overall record of 18-6 and a Big West mark of 7-4. The Gauchos have won four of their last five games, including Thursday's 60-47 home victory over Cal Poly. Since opening Big West play with a 1-2 record, UCSB has gone 6-2.

UC Davis Up First As Gauchos Open Difficult Season-Ending Stretch
UCSB will open a very difficult season-ending stretch when it plays at UC Davis on Saturday. The Gauchos will play their next three, and five of their final six games of the regular season on the road. In addition to UC Davis, they will play at Pacific, Utah State, Cal State Northridge and Long Beach State. The only home game over the final few weeks of the season will be a March 1 encounter with UC Riverside.

That's 12-Up...Again
For the second time this season, UCSB is 12 games above the .500 mark, a season-high. This season has marked the first time that a Gaucho team has been 12 games over the break-even point since the 1991-92 was 20-8 with one game yet to play.

UCSB Uses Stellar Defense To Defeat Cal Poly, 60-47
Alex Harris scored 21 points, Chris Devine added 16 and UC Santa Barbara forced 24 turnovers, as the Gauchos defeated visiting Cal Poly on Thursday night, 60-47. UCSB, which also had a season-high 16 steals, limited the Mustangs to 34.8% shooting. Cal Poly played without Thomas who had a sprained ankle. For their part, the Gauchos played without reserve guard D.J. Posley who was suffering with the flu. The Mustangs led off-and-on for much of the first half, taking their final lead, 23-21, on a short jumper by Charles Anderson with 3:09 to play. UCSB ended the half on an 8-2 run, including a lay-up by Harris as time ran out. The play began when Jordan Weiner stole the ball from Clark with just over three second left and fed Harris for the basket and the 31-25 lead. The Gauchos exploded out of the gates in the second half with an 11-1 run over the first seven minutes, taking a commanding 42-26 edge. Several of the baskets early in the second half came inside the paint with Devine and Justin Joyner each making short jumpers, and Harris scoring on a lay-up. The lead ballooned to 20, 58-38, when Harris made a pair of free throws with 5:25 to play. UCSB scored just two more points, a baseline jumper by Beau Gibb with 1:04 to play, but the lead never dropped below 13. Clark paced Cal Poly with 14 points while Lorenzo Keeler added eight. Titus Shelton scored just five points, but had a game-high nine rebounds as the Mustangs won the battle of the boards by a whopping 39-22 margin. Joyner added eight points and three steals for UCSB. Devine and Harris each paced the way with four rebounds. Ivan Elliott, who finished with just two points and one rebound, had team-highs of four steals and four assists. James Powell and Weiner also had three steals apiece.

Probable Starters - Notes
G - Justin Joyner - Has averaged 12.0 points per game in the last two games.
G - Alex Harris - Became third UCSB player over 1,500 points and now has 1,545, third all-time.
G - James Powell - Tied his career-high with three steals in win over Cal Poly.
F - Chris Devine - 22nd Gaucho to hit 1,000 career points. Has 1,061 in career, 19th all-time.
F - Ivan Elliott - Had career-highs of four steals and four assists vs. Cal Poly.

Probable Reserves - Notes
G - Nick Quick - Has attempted eight shots in just 13 minutes of action.
G - Jordan Weiner - All 13 of his baskets this season have been three-pointers.
G - Paul Roemer - Has three blocked shots in the last three games.
G - D.J. Posley - Missed Thursday's game with the flu. Questionable for UC Davis game.
F - Nedim Pajevic - Has averaged 4.3 rebounds per game in the last three games.
F - Sam Phippen - Played seven minutes in Thursday's win over Cal Poly.
F - Beau Gibb - Has played in 22 of 24 games.
F - Peter Jordan - Walk-on freshman has played in two games this 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 158-128 (.553) overall record and an 93-63 (.597) 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 347-228 (.604) at four-year schools.

The Opposition
Santa Barbara and UC Davis have played 15 times in a series that began in 1939. The Gauchos lead the series with a record of 12-3. On Jan. 26, in the first game between the schools this season, UCSB defeated the Aggies by a score of 60-45 at the Thunderdome. The Gauchos have now won two straight games against UC Davis. The last time the team's met in Davis, on Feb. 1, 2007, UCSB recorded a 66-48 victory. The Gauchos and Pacific have played 96 times in a series that dates back to 1947. The Tigers hold a 50-46 all-time edge, including a 71-58 win at the Thunderdome on Jan. 24. The Pacific win ended a two-game UCSB winning streak in the series. The Gauchos won at the Spanos Center last season, 70-62.

The Gauchos On The Road
The Gauchos are 6-3 in true road games this season. They won their last three road games, 64-53 at UC Riverside on Jan. 30, 75-60 at Cal Poly on Jan. 19, and 87-72 at Cal State Fullerton on Jan. 12. In addition, they have victories at Eastern Washington, Ball State and Loyola Marymount. The trio of road defeats have come at North Carolina, Stanford and UC Irvine. UCSB has also gone a perfect 2-0 in neutral court games with wins over Northwestern State and Harvard at the Basketball Travelers Classic in Palo Alto, Calif. 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 20-9 in its last 29 true road games.

Plenty Of Turnover
UCSB opponents are averaging 18.4 turnovers per game in 2007-08, an increase of 5.1 per game over the 13.4 per game they averaged in 2006-07. Last year, a Gaucho opponent had 20 or more turnovers just once, 21 by Pepperdine in a double overtime game. In 2007-08, UCSB has forced 20 or more turnovers nine times in 24 games and only three opponents have had fewer than 16. On Thursday night, the Gauchos forced Cal Poly into 24 turnovers, the most by an opponent since Pepperdine had 25 on Dec. 5. In two games prior to Thursday's win over the Mustangs, UCSB forced Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine into a total of 24 turnovers.

The Steal Curtain
What UCSB lacked in rebounding in Thursday's win over Cal Poly, they made up for in steals. The Gauchos tied their season-high with 16 steals on Thursday night. Senior forward Ivan Elliott had a career-high four to lead the way, but three other UCSB players, Justin Joyner, James Powell, and Jordan Weiner, each either tied for set a career-high with three. In all, seven different players had at least one steal against the Mustangs. The Gauchos also had 16 steals on Dec. 5 against Pepperdine. They have had 10 or more steals five times in 2007-08. In three games prior to Thursday, Santa Barbara had a total of 18 steals. On the year, UCSB now has 197 steals, the eighth most in school history. If you read the next page, that would be page three, you will note that the Gauchos are on a pace to set a new school record for steals in a season.

Rebounding Deficit
When UCSB wins the rebounding battle this season, which it has done just nine times in 24 games, it does so by small margins. The largest rebounding victory by the Gauchos this season was a nine rebound advantage over Cal Poly on Jan. 19. On the other hand, when they lose the rebounding battle, they often do so by a major margin. On Thursday, while UCSB won the game, the Mustangs exacted their rebounding revenge by a 39-22 margin. It equaled the second largest rebounding deficit for the Gauchos this season and it was the fourth time than an opponent had outrebounded them by at least 10. On Dec. 22 at North Carolina, Santa Barbara was outrebounded by a season-high 27 rebounds, 57-30.

Marginalizing
UCSB has started Big West play with a 7-4 record this season. Three of the four losses in conference action have come by six points or less. The only double-figure margin of defeat came at the hands of Pacific on Jan. 24, 71-58. Of the seven wins in league play, six came by way of double-digit margins. Four of the wins (Long Beach State, the first Cal State Fullerton game,the first Cal Poly game, and UC Davis) came by 15 points and the other, UC Riverside, was an 11-point decision. UCSB's 83-80 win over Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 7 was the only close league victory that the team has had this season. In all, 16 of 24 Gaucho games have been decided by 10 or more points this year and UCSB has gone 13-3 in those games.

Shooting Blues
Despite the win on Thursday night, UCSB continued to struggle a bit with its shooting. The Gauchos hit 21 out of 47 shots against Cal Poly, including 47.6% in the second half. In the last two games, they have made 42-of-99 from the field overall, 42.4%, below their season percentage of 45.6%. From three-point range, the troubles have been a bit deeper. UCSB made 5-of-15 on Thursday night and have now made just 13 out of 41 in the last two games, 31.7%. In two games prior to the most recent two games, the Gauchos made 19 out of 35 three-point tries, 54.3%.

Out Of The Red, Into The Black
With 52 assists and just 34 turnovers in the last three games, UCSB has gone into the black in the assist-to-turnover ratio. Entering Saturday's game at UC Davis, the Gauchos have totaled 363 assists as compared to a mere 355 turnovers. It marks the first time since the second game of the year that they have been on the plus side in that category.

Free, But Valuable
UCSB has been outstanding from the free throw line this season. After making 13-of-15 in the win over Cal Poly, the Gauchos are making 78.4% on the season, tops in the Big West, and third in the nation. On Jan. 19 at Cal Poly, UCSB posted season-highs for makes and attempts by hitting 25 out of 30, 83.3%. In the last 10 games, all in Big West Conference play, Santa Barbara has made 154-of-192, 80.2%. In 24 games this season, the Gauchos have made 80.0% or better from the free throw line 12 times. The school's all-time record of 77.2% was set during the 1982-83 season. Last year's mark of 72.5% was the ninth best ever.

Record Paces>
Assuming the Gauchos make the Big West Tournament and play a 31st game, they are on a record pace in a couple of statistical categories. In addition to free throw percentage, which is impossible to predict, UCSB is on pace to break school records for steals and three-point baskets. The Gauchos are averaging 8.21 steals per game and, if they play 31 games, that pace would put them at about 254 steals, 18 more than the current school record of 236. Their curretn total of 197 steals already ranks eighth on the all-time list. They are also averaging 7.83 three-pointers per game and, if they could average that the rest of the way, would finish with right around 242, 23 more than the current record of 219 set in 2002-03.

The Harris Poll
Senior guard Alex Harris continues to lead the Gauchos and the Big West in scoring at 20.7 points per game. At the outset of the week, he ranked 24th in the nation in scoring. In Thursday's win over Cal Poly, Harris scored a game-high 21 points, making 6-of-14 shots overall and 2-of-5 from three-point range. He also made all seven of his free throws in the win, and added a team--high four rebounds. Harris has scored 13 or more points in all 23 of his appearances this season and he has scored in double-figures in 30 straight dating back to the 2006-07 season. He has led or tied for the team-lead in scoring 18 times this year, going for 20 or more 12 times and 25 or more six times. He scored a season-high 31 points on Jan. 19 at Cal Poly. The senior from Alameda, Calif., has now scored 1,545 points in his career. On Feb. 7, in a win over Cal State Fullerton, Harris became the third player in school history to move past the 1,500 point barrier. He enters Saturday's game at UC Davis with 1,545 career points, ranking third all-time. He needs 36 to move past Mark Hull (1,580) and into second-place on the all-time list. The Gauchos' all-time leading scorer is Carrick DeHart, who finished his career with 1,687 points. In addition to scoring, Harris paces the team in three-point shooting. By making 2-of-5 on Thursday, Harris is now shooting 48.4% from three-point territory. He has hit 60 out of 124 attempts this season and has made at least one three-point basket in 22 of 23 games. In addition, he has hit two or more 19 times, and three or more nine times. In the last four games, he has gone 13-of-26, 50.0%. Harris made a career-high six three-point baskets, in eight attempts, on Dec. 7 against Utah Valley. In his career, he has now hit 180 out of 432, 41.7%. the fourth most makes and the second highest percentage in UCSB history. Prior to his 31-point game at Cal Poly, Harris' season-high was 29 points on Nov. 24 against Montana State. In that game, he had career-highs for free throws, 15, and free throw attempts, 18. On the year, Harris has gone to the free throw line 157 times, an average of 6.8 times per game. He has made 84.1% of his attempts overall, but has gone 43 out of his last 46, 93.5%. By going 7-of-7 from the charity stripe in the game against Cal Poly, Harris is now 427-of-540 in his career, 79.1%. He is the school's all-time leader in free throws and free throw attempts. With four rebounds in the last game, he is now averaging 3.6 per game. Harris had a season-high eight rebounds on Nov. 24 against Montana State. Finally, Harris was a Preseason All-Big West and Mid-Major All-America selection.

The Devine File
Junior forward Chris Devine has had consecutive solid offensive outings. In the win over Cal Poly, Devine made 5-of-9 shots from the field, 6-of-7 from the free throw line, and finished with 16 points. He also tied for the team-lead with four rebounds. While he is averaging 13.0 points per game, he has averaged 15.5 per game in the last two. He had 15, making 6-of-8 shots, on Feb. 9 against UC Irvine. The 16 points that he scored on Thursday night were the most he has had since going for 18 on Jan. 12 against Cal State Fullerton. Devine's current average of 13.0 points per game ranks second on the team. Devine has scored 10 or more points 17 times in his 23 appearances this year, but just seven times in the last 13 games. He scored a season-high 24 on Jan. 5 against Cal State Northridge, and his other 20 point game came when he had 22 at Ball State on Dec. 19. On Jan. 24 against Pacific, Devine became the 22nd player in UCSB history to move past the 1,000 point mark. He enters Saturday's game with a career total of 1,061, a figure that ranks 19th all-time. He needs 56 to move into 18th-place. Devine is second on the team in rebounding at 5.3 per game. He has had seven or more nine times and he had a season-high nine on Dec. 1 at Loyola Marymount. He had eight on Feb. 7 against Cal State Fullerton and that is his highest total in the last nine games. He also had eight in consecutive games to open Big West play in early-January. Devine is second on the team in field goal percentage at 51.9%, but he has made 11-of-17 shots in the last two games, 64.7%. A Preseason All-Big West selection, Devine paces the team in steals with 28, although he has just three in the last six games.

Old Buddy, Old Powell
Sophomore guard James Powell scored six points in each of the last two games. On Thursday night against Cal Poly, he was just 2-of-5 from the field, including 2-of-4 from three-point range. The five shots were his lowest total since he took a season-low two on Dec. 29 at Eastern Washington. On Thursday, he did have three rebounds, two assists and three steals to go along with his six points. Powell is now averaging 11.6 points per game. He scored a career-high 25 on Jan. 30 at UC Riverside. In the game against the Highlanders, he made a career-high six three-point baskets, in nine attempts. In all, he has been in double-figures 14 times this season, all in the last 21 games, and he has scored 20 or more four times, including three times in the last eight games. Since scoring a total of 17 points through the first three games, he has averaged 12.5 points per game. He is now shooting 42.5% from outside the three-point line, but since opening the year by going 2-for-12, Powell has made 49 out of his last 108 attempts, 45.4%. Prior to draining six three-pointers against Riverside, his career-high was five, set on Nov. 27 against UNLV. He made all five three-pointers in the second half against the Runnin' Rebels, including one with less than a second remaining to give the Gauchos the win. Powell has made at least one three-point basket in 11 straight games and 21 times in 24 games this season. He has made two or more in four straight and 16 times. Powell is averaging 2.3 assists per game, second on the team, and he has had two or more in seven of the last eight games. He tied a career-high with six on Jan. 5 against Cal State Northridge. He is also second on the team with 28 steals and he tied his career-high with three on Thursday night against Cal Poly.

Justin Joins In
Sophomore guard Justin Joyner had one of the best overall games of his career in UCSB's loss to UC Irvine on Feb. 9. Joyner scored a career-high 16 points, making 6-of-10 shots overall and a career-best 4-of-6 from three-point territory. In addition, he tied his season-high with seven assists and had just one turnover. He followed up that effort by scoring eight points, grabbing three rebounds, passing off for two assists and producing three steals in Thursday's win over Cal Poly. Joyner is now averaging 4.0 points per game, but he has averaged 12.0 per game in the last two. Also, after going 0-for-5 from the field over a five game span, he has gone 10-of-17 in the last two games, 58.8%. In fact, he has 24 points in the last two games after scoring six in the previous five combined. The seven assists that Joyner had a week ago against UC Irvine equaled his season-high, also achieved on Dec. 7 against Utah Valley. Joyner, who is now averaging 3.8 points per game, leads the Gauchos in assists at 3.9 per game. In addition to his pair of seven assist games, he has had two games with six assists and three games with five assists. In all, Joyner has produced four or more 14 times this season and UCSB has gone 11-3 in those games. Even more impressively, he has now collected 91 assist and just 40 turnovers, an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.3-to-1.0, the best mark in the Big West Conference. He has had more turnovers than assists in a game just one time this season (Four turnovers and two assists on Nov. 11 at Stanford) and in his last 17 games, he has had 67 assists and just 24 turnovers. He has had just six turnovers in the last six games, 161 minutes. In fact, despite playing 640 minutes and handling the ball more than anyone else on the team, Joyner has committed just 40 turnovers, an average of just 1.67 per game. Joyner has made 14 out of 42 three-pointers this season, but 11 have come in four games, two apiece against UNLV and Ball State, three at Fullerton and four against UC Irvine. He has made seven of his last 13 attempts from outside the stripe, 53.8%. The three steals that Joyner had on Thursday against Cal Poly tied a season and career-high.

Ivan The Good
Since scoring a career-high 22 points in a Feb. 7 win over Cal State Fullerton, senior forward Ivan Elliott has gone into a scoring slump. In the last two games, against UC Irvine and Cal Poly, Elliott has scored a total of just six points, 3.0 per game, on 3-of-8 shooting from the field, including 0-for-2 from three-point range. He tied his season-low with just two points on Thursday night against Cal Poly. On the bright side, he set new career-highs for assists and steals against the Mustangs, recording four of each. On Feb. 7, against Cal State Fullerton, Elliott had the best offensive game of his career. Against the Titans, Elliott not only scored a career-high 22 points, but he made a career-high 10 field goals on a career-high 13 attempts. He also made one of his two three-point field goal attempts in the game. Elliott enters the game at UC Davis averaging 9.1 points and a team-leading 5.8 rebounds per game. He has scored 10 or more points 11 times this season. He is second on the Gauchos in three-point field goal percentage at 47.8% and he leads in field goal percentage at 54.6%. Elliott also leads the team in blocked shots with 24. He added three-point shooting to his arsenal this season. In 2006-07, the San Franciscan made just 5-of-13 shots from outside the arc, but this year he has drilled 22 out of his 46 attempts. Although he has slumped from three-point range in recent games, making just one out of nine attempts in the last five. Elliott made a career-high three three-pointers on Nov. 24 against Montana State, and he has made two on five other occasions. Elliott has had a season-high nine rebounds twice this year, on Dec. 29 at Eastern Washington and then again on Jan. 24 against Pacific. However, he had a season-low one rebounds against Cal Poly and has averaged just 3.0 per game in the last three.

A Piece Of The Pajevic (Pronounced Pie-uh-vich)
Senior forward Nedim Pajevic is averaging 5.8 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. He had two points, three rebounds, one assist and one steal in Thursday's win over Cal Poly. On Feb. 7 against Cal State Fullerton, Pajevic had one of his best all-around games of the year. He had nine points, seven rebounds and he tied his career-high with five assists in the win over the Titans. The nine points were the most he has scored since he went for 12 on Dec. 22 at North Carolina, and the seven rebounds were his highest total since he had a season-high 10 on Nov. 20 against San Francisco. Not coincidentally, Pajevic played 24 minutes against Fullerton, the most he has logged since Nov. 24 against Montana State. He has scored 10 or more points six times this season, but he has not done so since the North Carolina game. He went for a season-high 16 points on Nov. 10 against Harvard. In addition, he had a personal-best 10 rebounds on Nov. 20 against San Francisco, recording a double-double in the process as he also scored 10 points. In fact, Pajevic's double-double against the Dons is the only one recorded by a Gaucho player this season. Pajevic has had three or more assists eight times this year, going for a season-high five on Nov. 15 against Cal Poly Pomona, in addition to Feb. 7 against Fullerton. He has had four or more 11 times this year, including four times in the last nine games. Finally, while he is shooting 48.6% overall, Pajevic is making 54.7% from two-point range.

Roemer Charges
Sophomore guard Paul Roemer continues to give the Gauchos valuable minutes as a reserve in the backcourt. In Thursday's game against Cal Poly, Roemer played 20 minutes, his highest total since he played 21 on Jan. 26 against UC Davis. While he is scoreless in the last two games, Roemer is averaging 2.3 points, 1.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. He also has 20 steals. On Feb. 7, in a win over Cal State Fullerton, he had one of his best all-around games. Roemer played 13 minutes in the win over the Titans, and while he scored just two points, making his only field goal attempt, he had a career-high five assists, a career-high two blocked shots, and two steals. He has actually blocked five shots this season, including three in the last three games. Roemer scored a career-high 12 points on Jan. 10 at UC Irvine, making four three-pointers in the process. His only other double-figure game this season came in the opener against Northwestern State when he had 10. Finally, in 2006-07, Roemer played 132 minutes in 16 games. This year, Roemer has played in all 24 games, logging 371 minutes.

Strike A Posley
Junior guard D.J. Posley missed Thursday's game with the flu and his status for Saturday's game at UC Davis has yet to be determined. Posley has gone scoreless in each of the last three games, missing his only four field goal attempts over that span. He is averaging 2.8 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game. He tallied a season-high seven on Dec. 5 against Pepperdine. He has also had six points three times, including Jan. 26 against UC Davis, the last time he scored. Despite ranking seventh on the team in minutes played, Posley is third with 25 steals. In one of his best games this season, he had six assists and no turnovers in a Jan. 12 win at Cal State Fullerton.