Gauchos Take Three-Game Winning Streak Into Non-League Game vs. Montana State Saturday

Gauchos Take Three-Game Winning Streak Into Non-League Game vs. Montana State Saturday

Feb. 19, 2009

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• The Schedule
Game No. 25
Saturday, February 21, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. (PST)
ESPNU BracketBusters
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Montana State Bobcats
at UCSB's Thunderdome
Radio: KIST 1490-AM in Santa Barbara
Game available on Gametracker

Game No. 26
Wednesday, February 25, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Cal State Northridge Matadors
at CSUN's Matadome
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.

• Gauchos Remain At Home
UC Santa Barbara played 14 of 19 games on the road. Before their Feb. 14 home game against Cal Poly, the Gauchos played just one home game over a 34-day span. Those days are over. UCSB has been at home for the last two games and will be at home for four of its final five games, including Saturday night's game against Montana State. Tickets for all Gaucho games and for the Big West Tournament, which will run from March 11-14 at the Anaheim Convention Center, can be purchased from the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, by calling 805-893-UCSB, or online by clicking here.

• BE Great: Gaucho Athletics Celebrates Black History Month
UCSB Athletics is proud to promote the celebration of Black History Month as part of its "BE Great" life skills programs aimed at providing an outstanding all-around experience for Gaucho student-athletes. To see the thoughts of some Gaucho athletes on the importance of Black History Month, please click here.

• The Gaucho Record
UCSB enters Saturday's game with an overall record of 11-13 and a Big West record of 5-7. The league record is not likely to change on Saturday. On Wednesday, Feb. 18, the Gauchos Pacific by a score of 67-57. The win extended Santa Barbara's winning streak to three games in a row. On Feb. 7, UCSB won on the road at UC Irvine, 65-56, and then on Feb. 14 the Gauchos defeated Cal Poly, 68-66.

• Devine Named Big West Player Of The Week
Chris Devine was named Big West Player of the Week after scoring a career-high 29 points, including a pair of game-winning free throws with 7.3 seconds left, in UCSB's 68-66 win over Cal Poly on Feb. 14. Devine, who made 10-of-16 field goal attempts, also had five rebounds and a season-high four assists in the victory.

• Devine, Powell Lift UCSB Past Pacific, 67-57
The last time UC Santa Barbara played Pacific, on Jan. 24, the Gauchos were beaten 58-36. On Wednesday night at the Thunderdome, they scored 36 points again, but this time it was only halftime and they held a 36-27 lead, and ultimately defeated the Tigers, 67-57. UCSB has now won three straight games for the first time all season. Pacific had its two-game winning streak ended. Things didn't start well for the Gauchos as they trailed 13-5 less than five minutes into the game, but that was when Chris Devine, who finished with a game-high 26 points, got things going. Devine and James Powell combined for 26 points over the final 14:35 of the first half as UCSB outscored the Tigers 31-14 to take a 36-27 lead into the break. Powell finished with 16. The Gauchos, who have had their troubles holding leads in the second half of games this season, had not trouble on trouble against Pacific. When Tiger guard Michael Kirby made a three-point basket with 18:37 to play, the lead was down to five, 36-31. Paul Roemer, however, responded with a lay-up on the other end to up the margin to seven, 38-31, and it never dropped below that the rest of the way. The Gauchos, who made 13-of-14 free throws down the stretch, finished the game 22-for-24 at the line. Devine was 10-for-10 and Powell was a perfect 4-for-4. In addition, UCSB committed just nine turnovers, including a mere three in the second half. Pacific, which was led by Chad Troyer's 11 points and Bryan LeDuc's 10, attempted just 33 shots from the field, connecting on 15, 45.5%. The Tigers also had 17 turnovers, while the Gauchos had just nine, including three in the second half. Santa Barbara, which shot 47.7% from the field and needed just three three-pointers in the game, also won the rebounding battle 28-22. Devine paced his team in rebounds as points, collecting eight.

• 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 174-144. 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 105-71 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 363-244 (.598) at four-year schools.

• Possible Starters - Notes
G - 1 - D.J. Posley - Has had three or more assists in three of the last five games.
G - 4 - Paul Roemer - Played 18 minutes vs. Pacific, the most since his return from injury.
G - 20 - Will Brew, Jr. - Has averaged 9.3 points per game in the last three.
F - 0 - Jaimé Serna - Has started the last nine games.
F - 10 - Chris Devine - Has averaged 23.5 points in the last four games.

• 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 3.5 assists in the last two games.
G - 42 - James Powell - Scored 16 vs. Pacific, his highest total since Jan. 10.
F - 15 - Sam Phippen - Has 10 rebounds in last three games.
F - 44 - Jesse Byrd - Has 15 rebounds in the last three games, a total of 32 minutes.
C - 55 - Greg Somogyi - His 34 blocked shots are second most ever by Gaucho freshman.

• 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 meeting with Montana State will be UCSB's fifth as part of the BracktBuster series. The Gauchos played Detroit in the inaugural event in 2003, losing 75-59. In 2006, they traveled to San Jose State and won, 76-72. In 2007, Santa Barbara hosted, and lost to Eastern Washington by a score of 71-70. Last year, UCSB lost at Utah State, 72-59.

• 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 five games. While his time has been limited, Byrd has averaged 4.6 points and 3.0 rebounds since his return. Junior guard Paul Roemer missed three games with a shoulder injury, but has been back for the last five games as well.

• Turnover Turnaround
One of the primary reasons that UCSB has put together a three-game winning streak - its longest of the year - is its improvement in taking care of the ball. While the Gauchos are averaging 15.3 turnovers through 24 games, they have cut that back in the last three games. In each of the first two wins of the streak, at UC Irvine and home against Cal Poly, UCSB had 11 turnovers. On Wednesday night against Pacific, the Gauchos had nine, their second-lowest total of the season. In the last three, they have averaged just 10.3 miscues per outing.

• Rebounding Revival
After being outrebounded in four straight games, UCSB has regained its rebounding edge in the last four games. On Feb. 5 at Cal State Fullerton, the Gauchos crushed the Titans on the boards, 49-32. Since then, the Gauchos have outrebounded UC Irvine (34-26), Cal Poly (40-38) and, most recently, Pacific (28-22). On the season, UCSB is now outrebounding its opponents by 1.7 per game. The Gauchos have outrebounded 14 of their 24 opponents.

• Getting Defensive
The Gauchos had another solid defensive performance in the Feb. 18 win over Pacific. UCSB limited the Tigers to 57 points and just 33 field goal attempts. In addition, the Gauchos forced 17 turnovers. On the year, UCSB opponents are averaging 65.2 points per game, shooting 44.3% overall and 36.9% from three-point range. In the last six games, opponents are averaging 63.5 points per game while shooting 40.7% overall and 33.9% from three-point range. The Gauchos have allowed 70 or less points 16 times in 24 games this season, including the last three.

• Freebies
UCSB made a season-best 91.7% from the free throw line in its win over Pacific on Wednesday. The Gauchos hit 22-of-24 shots from the charity stripe against the Tigers. While they are making 69.0% overall this year, they have made 73.6% in Big West games.

• 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 24 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, Somogyi, and Serna were in the starting lineup together for the first time on Wednesday vs. Pacific.

• Freshmen Block Party
The Gauchos have blocked 60 shots on the season, an average of 2.5 per game. Freshman Greg Somogyi leads the way with 34, 56.7% 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 five, and Will Brew, Jr., has two. Combined the first-year foursome has 50 of the team's 60 swats, an impressive 83.3%.

• 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 nine different starting fives.

• Devine Intervention
Chris Devine continued to roll in Wednesday's win over Pacific with game-highs of 26 points and eight rebounds. On Feb. 14, he scored a career-high 29 points in a win over Cal Poly. Devine scored 12 of the team's final 16 points, including the last two on a pair of free throws with 7.3 seconds to play, breaking a 66-66 tie and giving the Gauchos a 68-66 win. For that effort, he was named Big West Player of the Week. The senior from Eagle River, Alaska has improved his scoring average to a season-best 16.1 points per game, second in the Big West. In his last five games, he has averaged 22.0 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.0 steals per game. Also over that span, Devine had a pair of double-doubles, going for 16 points and 12 boards on Jan. 29 against Cal State Northridge, and 20 points and 12 rebounds on Feb. 5 at Cal State Fullerton. He now has four double-doubles on the year and 13 in his career. In addition, he has made 37-of-63 field goal attempts, 58.7%, in the last five games. On Wednesday against Pacific, Devine was a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line. He has now made 18 in a row over two games and has gone 20-of-21, 95.2%, in the last three games. His overall field goal percentage is at 53.9%, tops in the Big West. On the season, in addition to averaging 16.1 points per game, Devine is averaging 6.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1.0 steals per game. 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 1,514 career points. He needs 67 to move past Mark Hull and into third all-time. On Feb. 14 against Cal Poly, he had five rebounds, moving him past Scott Fisher and into fifth all-time. He remains in fifth with 676 boards and he has joined Doug Rex (1968-71) as the only players in school history to rank in the top-five in points and rebounds. While he is averaging 16.1 points per game overall, Devine has tallied 283 in the last 16 games, 17.7 per game. Over that span he scored in double-figures 14 times, including a stretch of eight straight games. He has also scored 20 or more seven times this season, including six times in the last 12 games. Prior to scoring a career-high 29 on Feb. 14 against Cal Poly, Devine had a season-high 27 points on Jan. 22 at UC Davis. The Eagle River, Alaska-native has had seven or more rebounds in 10 of the last 13 games, averaging 7.6 per game over that span.

• Old Buddy, Old Powell
After scoring a total of five points over a three-game span, James Powell had 16 in Wednesday's win over Pacific. Powell made 5-of-9 shots overall, including 2-of-4 from three-point range, in collecting his highest point total since he had 19 on Jan. 10 against Cal State Fullerton. When he missed his first field goal attempt against the Tigers, the Pomona, Calif., native had made just one of his last 17 shots over a span of just more than three games, but he finished the game by making 5-of-8. He is now averaging 10.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game. He has been significantly better in home games than on the road. In home games, Powell is averaging 13.6 points per game while shooting 38.7% overall and 32.8% 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 12 times, including eight times in 10 home games and once on a neutral court. Powell has gone scoreless three times this season, at Pacific and at Cal State Fullerton, and on Feb. 14 vs. Cal Poly. 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 39 and he has made at least one in 19 of 24 games. Powell has 156 career three-point baskets, seventh most in school history. He needs eight 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 game against Montana State with 892 career points and needs 108 to become the 23rd Gaucho to score 1,000 points.

• Byrd Calls
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 five games. In five games since his return, Byrd has averaged 4.6 points and 3.0 rebounds per game. On Wednesday night against Pacific, he had four points and two rebounds in nine minutes. In the last three games, Byrd has 15 rebounds in just 33 minutes of play. He is now second on the Gauchos in rebounds at 6.4 per game. Prior to his injury, Byrd had five or more rebounds in every game in which he played and has now done so in 13 of 16 appearances. Byrd made his only field goal attempt on Wednesday and has made 10-of-17 shots, 58.8%, since his return. The transfer from San Francisco still leads UCSB in field goal percentage at 58.2%. He 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 two points and one rebound in 19 minutes on Wednesday night. On Feb. 14 against Cal Poly, he had four points and seven rebounds. The seven rebounds were one short of Serna's career-high of eight, set on Feb. 5 at Cal State Fullerton. Also against the Titans, he made 8-of-12 shots from the field and scored a career-high 20 points. The native of Laguna Beach has had one other double-figure scoring game, on Jan. 29 he had 11 against Cal State Northridge. Despite scoring just two vs. Pacific, Serna has averaged 8.2 points and 5.0 rebounds in the last five games. He is now averaging 3.7 rebounds per game, third on the team. Finally, while Serna is averaging 19.9 minutes per game, he has played 20 or more in nine of the last 12, averaging 23.5 per game over that span.

• The Hungary Hunter
Freshman Greg Somogyi made 3-of-6 shots and scored seven points in UCSB's win over Pacific. He had 10 points, making 5-of-6 shots, on Feb. 14 against Cal Poly. In the last two games, the Budapest native has averaged 8.5 points while hitting 8-of-12 shots, 66.7% Somogyi also had six rebounds against Cal Poly, tying his career-high. He had a high of 14 points on Jan. 22 at UC Davis. On the year, Somogyi is now averaging 4.3 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. He also had a pair of blocked shots in each of the last two games and now has a team-leading 34 on the year, the second most by a freshman in school history. Somogyi needs five 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 13 of the last 14 and 20 of 24 overall.

• The Flying Nunnally
Freshman James Nunnally came off the bench and was scoreless in UCSB's win over Pacific, but in 18 minutes he had three assists, one blocked shot, and a rebound. He did not attempt a field goal against the Tigers. On Feb. 14, in a win over Cal Poly, Nunnally had one of his best all-around games with nine points, four assists, four rebounds, one blocked shot, and one rebound. The four assists were a career-high. Nunnally is now averaging 6.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game. He has averaged 3.5 assists in the last two games. Nunnally has scored nine or more seven times, including three times in the last six games. He set career-highs of 22 points and seven rebounds on Nov. 21 against North Carolina. His other double-figure scoring game came on Dec. 29 against Ball State when he had 12. While he is shooting 41.2% for the season and made 6-of-12 in the last three games, all wins. Also, while he is shooting 71.7% from the free throw line, Nunnally has made 23 of his last 28, 82.1%. Incidentally, 39 of his 53 free throw attempts have come in the last 13 games. Finally, Nunnally has had three or more rebounds in seven of the last 10 games and five or more five times this season.

• Where There's A Will, There's A Way
Freshman guard Will Brew, Jr., has put together his best three-game run of the season. Wednesday, agaisnt Pacific, he had six points, three rebounds, two assists and one steal. On Feb. 14 against Cal Poly, Brew scored eight points - on 3-of-5 from the field - and had three assists and a pair of rebounds. On Feb. 7 at UC Irvine, he scored 14 points, on 4-of-6 shooting overall and 2-of-3 from three-point range. In the last three, Brew has averaged 9.3 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists while making 8-of-15 shots overall, 53.3%, and 4-of-8, 50.0%, from three-point territory. Brew scored a personal-best 18 - making 6-of-7 three-point attempts - on Jan. 8 against UC Irvine. He has scored in double-figures three times this season, also doing so on Dec. 4 at Utah Valley when he had 11. While he is shooting 42.9% overall, Brew has made 22-of-41 shots in 12 Big West games, 51.1%. He has made 60.0% of his three-point attempts in league games, ranking him first in that category. Overall, he's made 44.4% from beyond the three-point arc, the best on the team among players with at least 20 attempts. His 16 three-pointers is third on the team. Brew also has 23 steals, the 10th most by a freshman in school history.

• Strike A Posley
Senior guard D.J. Posley had two points, two rebounds, two assists, and one steal vs. Pacific. He is averaging 6.0 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. In seven games since, he has averaged 4.4 per game. He's had a season-high five assists three times this year, the last time on Dec. 13 vs. Loyola Marymount.

• Roemer Wasn't Built In A Day
Junior guard Paul Roemer returned to the lineup on Jan. 29. He had missed three games with a shoulder injury. Roemer played 18 minutes vs. Pacific, his highest total since returning. Against the Tigers, he had four points, two assists, and one rebound. He scored a season-high 11 on Nov. 28 against Winston-Salem State.

• Jordan Rules
Sophomore guard Jordan Weiner did not play on Wednesday against Pacific. In three games prior to that game, he played a total of eight minutes and scored there points. He has made 22 baskets on the year, 19 from three-point range. Weiner's last 12 baskets have been from beyond the arc. He scored a career-high 14 on Jan. 17 at Cal Poly, making four three-pointers.

• Sam He Is
Sam Phippen played five minutes on Wednesday against Pacific. He was scoreless. In two games before the game against the Tigers, Phippen had nine rebounds in 23 minutes. On Feb. 7 at UC Irvine, he had five points, equaling his second-highest total ever, along with a career-high five rebounds. Phippen has made six threes this season.

• 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."