Gauchos Travel to Cal State Northridge Wednesday for Final Road Game of 2008-09 Campaign

Gauchos Travel to Cal State Northridge Wednesday for Final Road Game of 2008-09 Campaign

Feb. 23, 2009

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• The Schedule
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

Game No. 27
Saturday, February 28, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. UC Davis Aggies
at UCSB's Thunderdome
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.

• 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.

• Gauchos Play Final Road Game Before Returning Home For Three
UC Santa Barbara will travel to Cal State Northridge on Wednesday, Jan. 25 for a 7:00 p.m. game against the Matadors. The game in Northridge will be the Gauchos' final road contest of the 2008-09 season. UCSB will play its final three games of the regular season at the Thunderdome, hosting UC Davis (Feb. 28), UC Riverside (Mar. 5), and Long Beach State (Mar. 7). 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.

• The Gaucho Record
UCSB returns to conference play at Cal State Northridge with an overall record of 12-13 and a Big West record of 5-7. The Gauchos have put together a season-best four-game winning streak, including a 78-71 non-conference overtime win over Montana State on Feb. 21. The other three wins during the streak were league contests against Pacific, Cal Poly, and UC Irvine. Santa Barbara, which will play its final three games at home this season, is 7-4 in home games and 3-9 in road games in 2008-09. The Gauchos are 2-0 in neutral court games.

• Devine Named Big West Player Of The Week For The Second Straight Week
Senior forward Chris Devine was named Big West Player of the Week for the second straight week after leading the Gauchos to wins over Pacific and Montana State last week. Devine averaged 23.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. In the win over Pacific, he became the fourth Gaucho in history to eclipse the 1,500 mark and in the win over Montana State, he scored seven of his 20 points in overtime.

• UCSB Needs Overtime For Fourth Straight Win, 78-71 Over Montana State
Chris Devine scored 20 points, including seven in overtime, and James Nunnally added 14, including a tip-in that tied the score with 26 seconds to play in regulation, as UC Santa Barbara overcame an 11-point first half deficit to record a 78-71 non-conference win over visiting Montana State on Saturday night. UCSB trailed for most of the game, but when a slashing Devine took a perfect feed from Nunnally and made a lay-up with 4:08 to go in regulation, the score was tied. Devine was fouled on the play and made the free throw to give the Gauchos their first lead of the game, 60-59. A pair of free throws by Nunnally on the next possession made it 62-59 with 2:54 left in the game. The Bobcats didn't quit, scoring the next seven consecutive points. Branden Johnson made a three-pointer and a lay-up on consecutive possessions, and then Marquis Navarre, who finished with a team-high 13, was fouled while making a lay-up. Navarre made the free throw to give Montana State a 67-62 lead with 1:04 to play. Jordan Weiner, who had eight points, made the second of his two three-pointers to pull UCSB closer at 67-65 with 55 seconds left. With 43 seconds to play, Jaimé Serna rebounded a Bobcat miss and the Gauchos called timeout. Out of the timeout, UCSB got the ball to James Powell who drove the right side of the lane and missed a tightly contested lay-up, but Nunnally was there for the follow with 29 second left, tipping the ball in before stumbling and falling out of bounds. The freshman's tip-in tied the score at 67-67. Montana State had one more chance, but Navarre missed a three-pointer in the final second and the game headed to the overtime. The extra session was all Gauchos. In fact, the Bobcats missed all six of their shots in the overtime and were outscored 11-4 with Devine scoring seven. Devine had seven rebounds, three assists and a pair of blocked shots to go along with his game-high 20 points. It was his third straight game with 20 or more. Nunnally added five rebounds and a career-high four assists. Powell had 11 points, including three three-point baskets.

• The Opponents
The Gauchos and Cal State Northridge have played 37 times since the first game of the series in 1960. In the first meeting between the teams this season - Jan. 28 at the Thunderdome - the Matadors came from behind to post a 72-70 win. Last year, each team won on the other's home court with UCSB winning at Northridge, 77-66. The Gauchos and UC Davis have played 17 times dating back to 1939. UCSB holds a 13-4 edge all-time, but the Aggies won the first meeting this season, 89-75 in Davis on Jan. 22.

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 175-144. 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 364-244 (.599) at four-year schools.

• Possible Starters - Notes
G - 1 - D.J. Posley - Played career-high 33 minutes in win over Montana State.
G - 4 - Paul Roemer - Tied his season-high with two steals vs. Montana State.
G - 20 - Will Brew, Jr. - Made at least one three-pointer in four straight games.
F - 0 - Jaimé Serna - Has had six or more rebounds three times in last five games.
F - 10 - Chris Devine - Scored 20 or more in three straight, four out of last five.

• Possible Reserves - Notes
G - 2 - Nick Quick - Played a career-high seven minutes on Jan. 24 at Pacific.
G - 3 - Jordan Weiner - Had eight vs. Montana State, his third-highest total of the season.
G - 21 - James Nunnally - Had 14 points, including game-tying tip-in in final minute, vs. MSU.
G - 42 - James Powell - Has made 5-of-10 from three-point territory in last two games.
F - 15 - Sam Phippen - Has 12 rebounds in the last four games, a total of 35 minutes.
F - 44 - Jesse Byrd - Played 25 minutes vs. Montana State, his high since returning from injury.
C - 55 - Greg Somogyi - His 35 blocked shots are second most ever by a Gaucho freshman.

• 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 six games. In Saturday's win over Montana State, he played 25 minutes - his highest total since returning. Junior guard Paul Roemer missed three games with a shoulder injury, but has also been back for the last six games

• Four-Game Winning Streak: It's Been A While
UCSB's current four-game winning streak is the longest winning streak that they have put together during the 2008-09 season. In fact, it is the longest winning streak that the Gauchos have had since winning eight in a row near the beginning of the 2007-08 season. Prior to the current four-game winning streak, UCSB had not won more than two in a row at any point this season, a feat which was accomplished just twice.

• Streaky Numbers
The Gauchos have been solid during their current four-game winning streak. They are outscoring their opponents 69.5 to 62.5, a margin of 7.0 points per game. In addition, they have won all four rebounding battles and have a +6.0 average rebounding edge in the four games. Perhaps the most impressive areas during the streak are shooting and turnovers. In the last four games, UCSB has made 46.7% of its shots overall and 38.2% from three-point range. That compared to 44.5% and 33.2% on the season. The opponents are shooting 41.1% overall and 35.1% from three-point range in the last four games as opposed to 44.2% and 36.8% overall. Finally, in the area of turnovers, the Gauchos have just 44 turnovers in the last four games, an average of 11.0 per game. On the season, they are averaging 15.2 turnovers per outing.

• Home Cooking, Less Heartburn
After opening the season with three consecutive home games, UCSB spent a lot of time on the road. Prior to their Feb. 14 game against Cal Poly, the Gauchos played 14 of 19 on the road, including seven of their first 10 Big West Conference games. Prior to the game against the Mustangs, Santa Barbara had played just one home game over a 34-day span. UCSB has gone 5-9 in games away from home, including 3-9 in true road games. After Saturday's win over Montana State, UCSB is now 7-4 at the Thunderdome. Statistically, the difference in road games as opposed to home games is significant, particularly the various shooting percentages for the Gauchos and their opponents. As noted to the right, Santa Barbara shoots and defends better at the Thunderdome. While UCSB is being outscored in road games by a 7.1 point per game margin, they are outscoring opponents in home games by a margin of 4.6 points per game. Please note the accompanying chart for a deeper look at the difference for the Gauchos between home and road games.

• Home-Road Comparison

Category          Home     Road
Scoring           68.3     62.8
Opp. Scoring      63.7     69.9
Margin            +4.6     -7.1
FG%               46.0%    42.7%
Opp. FG%          41.6%    47.8%
3-Pt. FG%         36.7%    29.0%
Opp. 3-Pt. FG%    33.7%    41.6%
FT%               73.4%    67.5%	

• Rebounding Revival
After being outrebounded in four straight games, UCSB has regained its rebounding edge in the last five 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), Pacific (28-22), and Montana State (37-29). On the season, UCSB is now outrebounding its opponents by 2.0 per game. The Gauchos have outrebounded 15 of their 25 opponents.

• Turnover Turnaround
One of the primary reasons that UCSB has put together a four-game winning streak - its longest of the year - is its improvement in taking care of the ball. While the Gauchos are averaging 15.2 turnovers through 25 games, they have cut that back in the last four games. In each of the first two wins of the streak, at UC Irvine and home against Cal Poly, UCSB had 11 turnovers. On Feb. 18 against Pacific, the Gauchos had nine, their second-lowest total of the season. Against Montana State, they had 13. In the four games they have averaged 11.0.

• Making Good Points
While they needed overtime to do it, the 78 points scored by the Gauchos against Montana State was their third highest total of the season. It was the first time in six games that UCSB had scored 70 or more points and just the eighth time in 2008-09 that the 70-point barrier has been eclipsed. The most points scored by the Gauchos this season was 81 in an 81-61 non-conference win over Loyola Marymount on Dec. 13.

• 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 25 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 has the most starts of any of UCSB's freshmen with 17. Combined, the foursome has 39 starts.

• Freshmen Block Party
The Gauchos have blocked 65 shots on the season, an average of 2.5 per game. Freshman Greg Somogyi leads the way with 35, 53.8% 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 10, while James Nunnally has five, and Will Brew, Jr., has two. Combined the first-year foursome has 52 of the team's 65 swats, an impressive 80.0%.

• A Fresh 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 Saturday's win over Montana State, he scored 20 points, grabbed seven rebounds, had three assists, and a pair of blocked shots. Seven of his points came in the overtime. It was the third straight game in which Devine has scored 20 or more. He had 26 points and eight rebounds in a Feb. 18 win over Pacific and on Feb. 14, he scored a career-high 29 points in a win over Cal Poly. The senior from Eagle River, Alaska, who has been named Big West Player of the Week two straight weeks, has improved his scoring average to a season-best 16.3 points per game, second in the Big West. In his last six games, he has averaged 21.7 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.9 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 46-of-81 field goal attempts, 56.8%, in the last six games, hitting at least half his shots in all six. On Feb. 18 against Pacific, Devine was a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line. When he missed one in the overtime against Montana State, it ended a streak of 19 in a row. Devine and has gone 22-of-24, 91.7%, in the last four games. His overall field goal percentage is at 53.7%, tops in the Big West. On the season, in addition to averaging 16.3 points per game, Devine is averaging 6.5 rebounds, 1.5 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 1,534 career points. He needs 47 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 683 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 16.3 points per game overall, Devine has tallied 303 in the last 17 games, 17.8 per game. Over that span, he scored in double-figures 15 times, including a stretch of eight straight games. He has also scored 20 or more eight times this season, including seven times in the last 13 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. He has had seven or more rebounds in 11 of the last 14 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 the Feb. 18 win over Pacific and 11 in Saturday's overtime win over Montana State. The 16 Powell had against the Tigers was his highest point total since he had 19 on Jan. 10 against Cal State Fullerton. He has scored in double-figures in two straight for the first time since doing so on Jan. 8 and Jan. 10. When he missed his first field goal attempt against Pacific, the Pomona, Calif., native had made just one of his last 17 shots over a span of just more than three games, but since then, he has gone 9-of-16 overall, 56.2%, and 5-of-10 from three-point range, 50.0%. Powell is now averaging 10.2 points, 2.7 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 13.4 points per game while shooting 39.4% overall and 34.4% 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 13 times, including nine times in 11 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 42 and he has made at least one in 20 of 25 games. Powell has 159 career three-point baskets, seventh most in school history. He needs five 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 903 career points and needs 97 to become the 23rd Gaucho to score 1,000 points.

• Byrd Watching
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 six games. In six games since his return, Byrd has averaged 4.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. On Saturday night against Montana State, he had two points and six rebounds. More significant perhaps than the points and rebounds, Byrd played 25 minutes against the Bobcats, his highest total since returning and on Dec. 17 at Weber State. In the last four games, Byrd has 21 rebounds in just 56 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 14 of 17 appearances. The transfer from San Francisco still leads UCSB in field goal percentage at 56.6%. He has a pair of double-doubles this season. In the Dec. 17 game 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 before his injury, Byrd averaged 10.4 points and 9.8 rebounds.

• Yes, Serna
Freshman forward Jaimé Serna had seven points and six rebounds in 17 minutes on Saturday night. While he is averaging 5.9 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, Serna has averaged 8.0 points and 5.2 rebounds per game in the last six. On Feb. 5 at Cal State Fullerton, he made 8-of-12 shots from the field and scored a career-high 20 points. Serna also had a career-best eight rebounds against the Titans. One game earlier, he had 11 points against Cal State Northridge, his only other double-digit effort. The native of Laguna Beach has had five or more rebounds 10 times this season.

• The Hungary Hunter
Freshman Greg Somogyi played just seven minutes - his lowest total since Nov. 24 - in the win over Montana State. He was scoreless and did not have a rebound but he did have an assist and a blocked shot against the Bobcats. In two games prior to Saturday's win, the Budapest native averaged 8.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.0 blocked shots per game. On Feb. 14 against Cal Poly, he made 5-of-6 shots and had 10 points. He also tied his career-high with six boards vs. the Mustangs. Somogyi's career-high of 14 points came at UC Davis on Jan. 22. On the year, Somogyi is now averaging 4.1 points and 2.7 rebounds per game. He leads the team with 35 blocked shots on the season, the second most by a freshman in school history. Somogyi needs four 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 five straight, 14 of the last 15 and 21 of 25 overall.

• The Flying Nunnally
Freshman James Nunnally came off the bench and had one of his best all-around games of the season in the win over Montana State. Nunnally had 14 points, five rebounds, and four assists in the victory. He hit 4-of-8 shots overall and 6-of-7 from the free throw line. The four assists tied his career-high, set previously on Feb. 14 against Cal Poly. In addition, it was Nunnally's spectacular tip-in with less than 30 seconds to play in regulation that tied the game and sent it to overtime. He is now averaging 6.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game. Despite going scoreless, and for that matter shotless, on Feb. 18 vs. Pacific, Nunnally has averaged 7.6 points in the last five games. He has averaged 3.7 assists in the last three games. In those three, he has 11 assists and just one turnover. Nunnally has scored nine or more eight times, including four times in the last seven games. He set career-highs of 22 points and seven rebounds on Nov. 21 against North Carolina. While he is shooting 41.7% for the season, he has made 10-of-20 in the last four games, all wins. Also, while he is shooting 73.3% from the free throw line, Nunnally has made 28 of his last 34, 82.4%. Incidentally, 46 of his 60 free throw attempts have come in the last 14 games. Nunnally has had three or more rebounds in eight of the last 11 games and five or more six times.

• Where There's A Will, There's A Way
Freshman guard Will Brew, Jr., got hit in the head and played just 14 minutes in the win over Montana State. He had four points and one rebound against the Bobcats. Prior to that he had put together his best three-game run of the season. On Feb. 18, against 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 three, Brew 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 43.0% 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 44.7% from beyond the three-point arc, the best on the team among players with at least 20 attempts. His 17 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 played a career-high 33 minutes and had seven points, one rebound, three assists, and two steals vs. Montana State. 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 eight games since, he has averaged 4.7 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 has been back for six games and he has started five of those. On Saturday, he had three points, three rebounds, and three assists against Montana State. He has the best assist-to-turnover ratio on the team at 1.5-to-1.0 Roemer scored a season-high 11 on Nov. 28 against Winston-Salem State. He has passed off for a career-high five assists twice - at Illinois State and vs. Loyola Marymount - and he had a career-high five rebounds on Feb. 5 at Cal State Fullerton.

• Jordan Rules
After playing just eight minutes and scoring three points over a four-game span, sophomore guard Jordan Weiner played 15 and had eight, including a key three-pointer near the end of regulation, in the OT win over Montana State. Weiner has made 25 baskets on the year, 21 from three-point range. Of Weiner's last 15 baskets, 14 are three-pointers. He scored a career-high 14 on Jan. 17 at Cal Poly, making four three-pointers.

• Sam He Is
Sam Phippen played seven minutes on Saturday against Montana State. He was had two points and two rebounds. He is averaging 2.2 points and 1.7 rebounds per game. In the last four games, he has had 12 rebounds in 35 minutes. Phippen had a career-high five on Feb. 7 at UC Irvine. He had a career-high six points twice this year.