Winners of Six out of Seven Games, Gauchos Head to Pacific and Cal State Northridge to End 2005-06 Regular Season
Feb. 28, 2006
Game No. 26
Thursday, Mar. 2, 2006 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at University of the Pacific Tigers
at UOP's A.G. Spanos Center
Radio: KIST 1340 AM
Game No. 27
Saturday, March 4, 2006 at 4:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Cal State Northridge Matadors
at CSUN's Matadome
Radio: KTMS 990 AM
The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara enters the week with an overall record of 13-12 and a Big West Conference mark of 5-7. The Gauchos begin the week in fifth-place in the league and they could finish anywhere from fourth through seventh. A fifth-place finish or below means that UCSB would play in the first round of the Big West Tournament which will begin on Wednesday, March 8. On Saturday the Gauchos recorded an 81-71 victory over visiting UC Riverside. It was UCSB's final home game of the 2005-06 season.
UCSB Remains Hot As It Enters Final Weekend
Although UCSB had its five-game winning streak ended by Cal State Fullerton on Thursday, the Gauchos rebounded with an 81-71 win over UC Riverside on Saturday afternoon at the Thunderdome. The win was UCSB's sixth in its last seven games. The last time the Gauchos played Pacific, on Jan. 28 in Santa Barbara, they lost a 65-53 decision. The defeat at the hands of the Tigers was UCSB's third in a row at the time and it dropped the team's record to 7-11 overall and 1-6 in the Big West. Since then, the Gauchos have been one of the hottest teams in the Big West. In fact, their current run of six wins in seven games includes three straight road wins for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.
Gauchos Complete Home Season In Style, Defeat UC Riverside 81-71
Cecil Brown, playing possibly his final home game at UC Santa Barbara, scored 19 points, while Alex Harris had 15 and another senior, Cameron Goettsche, added 14, to lead the Gauchos past visiting UC Riverside, 81-71 on Saturday afternoon. Brown, listed as a senior, could return for a sixth year in 2006-07. He missed two full campaigns because of injuries and UCSB will petition the NCAA for another season of activity for its leading scorer. If, however, Saturday's game was his home finale, he made it a good one as he hit 7-of-13 shots from the field, all five of his free throws, and finished with a team-high 19. He also had five rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals. Goettsche, who definitely played his final game at the Thunderdome, added six rebounds, two blocked shots, a steal and an assist to his line. He made 6-of-8 shots. The Gauchos three other seniors also contributed. Josh Davis had seven points and a game-high three assists, Joe See tallied four points and Michael Chambers had seven, three of which came on UCSB's only three-point basket of the game. Santa Barbara had a 34-28 advantage at the half, but the Highlanders scored the first four points of the second half to pull within two, 34-32. After wholesale substitutions, the Gauchos responded with baskets by Davis and Goettsche to make it 38-32 and from that point on, the lead dipped to four points once, but never lower. A jumper by Harris with 13:21 remaining gave UCSB its biggest lead of the game, 50-38. Harris' 15 points equaled his second-highest total of the season. He scored 10 of his points in the second half. The Gauchos finished the game at 50.0% shooting from the field overall. They made a season-low one three-point basket (1-for-10), but also had a season-low four turnovers. Riverside shot 44.6% for the game, including 35.7% from three-point range. Highlander senior Rickey Porter led all scorers with 24 points. He had 16 points in the first half when he made 4-of-6 three-point attempts and all four of his free throws.
Possible Starters - Notes
G - Joe See - Has made 17 of his last 18 free throw attempts, 94.4%.
G - Cecil Brown - In his last five games he has averaged 18.8 points and made 29-of-56 shots, 51.8%.
G - Michael Chambers - He made UCSB's only three-pointer of the game against UC Riverside.
F - Chris Devine - Fouled out in 26 minutes against UC Riverside. He has fouled out three times.
F - Glenn Turner - Has had seven or more rebounds seven times in the last nine games.
Possible Reserves - Notes
G - Josh Davis - Has 23 points in the last three games, his highest three-game total of the season.
G - Alex Harris - Had 15 points vs. UC Riverside, equaling his second-highest total of the season.
G - Lance Hurdle - Has 16 steals in just 138 minutes this season.
G - James Powell - Freshman guard is redshirting the 2005-06 season.
G - Derek Rasp - Will not make the trip this weekend because of an injured right foot.
F - Chidi Ajufo - Has played just 12 minutes in last 20 games.
F - Tom Garlepp - Has played just one minute in the last two games.
F - Cameron Goettsche - With 14 points vs. UC Riverside, he has now had 10 or more in three of four.
F - Chris Moore - Has played just eight minutes in the last 13 games.
The Gauchos and Pacific have met 92 times in a series that began in 1947. The Tigers hold a 48-44 all-time edge over UCSB and they have been even more dominant the last two seasons-plus. Pacific has won the last five meetings in the series, including a 65-53 decision in Santa Barbara on Jan. 28. Last year, UOP won at the Thunderdome by a score of 58-43 and in Stockton by a score of 79-56. The 43 points that the Gauchos scored in the first game between the schools last season were the fewest points they scored all year. Prior to the current five-game winning streak by Pacific, UCSB had won four in a row and 10 of 12 in the series. UCSB and Cal State Northridge have played 31 times in a series that dates back to 1960. The Gauchos hold a 23-8 edge in the all-time series. On Jan. 26 in Santa Barbara, the Matadors handed UCSB a 59-46 loss. In 2004-05, the teams split their games with each winning on its home floor. The Matadors topped the Gauchos in Northridge by a score of 70-50, but about two weeks later UCSB bounced-back with a 65-52 win in Santa Barbara.
The Bob Williams File
Bob Williams is in his eighth season as the head coach at UC Santa Barbara. Last year his team struggled with injuries and finished 11-18 overall and 7-11 in the Big West Conference. It marked the first time that a Williams-coached UCSB team finished below the .500 mark in league play. During the 2004-05 season, however, Williams became the fifth UCSB coach to record 100 wins. Prior to last season, he had guided the Gauchos to three straight winning seasons, the first time the program accomplished the feat since 1987-88 through 1989-90. In 2002-03, Williams' 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 postseason trip to the 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 Championship ever and first NCAA Tournament appearance in 12 years. Including this season, Williams' UCSB teams have posted a 120-109 (.524) overall record and a 78-53 (.587) 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 309-209 (.597) at four-year schools. He recorded his 300th career coaching victory on Dec. 20, 2005, against Sonoma State.
Bob Williams' Gaucho teams have been particularly successful in the month of February. Although the Gauchos split their final two home games of the year, losing to Cal State Fullerton and then defeating UC Riverside, they still enter Thursday's game at Pacific with a solid 6-1 record this February. In his career, Williams has recorded a 40-19 (.678) record in February games. Last year, although they finished the year with an overall record of 11-18, the injury-riddled Gauchos were a respectable 3-4 in the second month of the year.
The Gauchos On The Road
UCSB is 4-8 on the road this season, but has won four out of five and three straight since starting the year with seven straight road losses. UCSB's win at UC Davis on Jan. 15 ended a nine-game road losing streak that dated back to the final two road games of the 2004-05 season. After a loss at Cal Poly on Jan. 21, the Gauchos won consecutive road games at UC Irvine, Long Beach State and San Jose State and thus they will take a three-game road winning streak into their game at Pacific. It marks the first time since the 1999-2000 season that UCSB has won three consecutive road games. UCSB was 2-13 in true road games last season and 1-1 in neutral site games.
The Gauchos At Home
The Gauchos finished 9-4 at home this season. After winning their first six Thunderdome games, they dropped consecutive games to UC Irvine, Cal State Northridge and Pacific. UCSB closed the year on the upswing at home, winning three of its last four games. In 2004-05, Santa Barbara went 8-4 at the Thunderdome, including 2-1 in non-conference games and 6-3 in league games. In three seasons prior to last year, Santa Barbara posted home records of 10-2 and the Gauchos have never won fewer than eight home games in a season under Bob Williams. UCSB is 74-30 at home since Williams arrived for the 1998-99 season.
UCSB Goes 8-5 In Non-Conference
Not only have the Gauchos battled back to go above the .500 mark, they have also finished a pretty solid non-conference season. The win over San Jose State last Saturday was UCSB's fourth in a row over a non-Big West opponent and its fifth in six games. The Gauchos finished the 2005-06 non-conference schedule with a record of 8-5, including 6-0 at the Thunderdome and 2-5 on the road. Last season, UCSB went 3-6 in non-conference games. Granted the team is playing fewer Big West games this season, but the last time the Gauchos won as many as eight non-conference games was in 1988-89 when they had a perfect 9-0 record in non-league encounters.
The Lonely Three-Pointer
UCSB made a season-low one three-point basket in Saturday's win over UC Riverside. The Gauchos' previous low was three, which they had in four games this season. The last time UCSB had fewer than one three-point basket in game was during the 2003-04 campaign. On Jan. 22, 2004, in win over Cal State Northridge, the Gauchos made no three-point baskets. The lowest total last season was three. The sole three-point basket by the Gauchos on Saturday was made late in the second half by Michael Chambers.
Free At Last
Early in the season, free throws were anything but for UCSB. In fact, they were quite costly. Through 25 games, the Gauchos are shooting 69.8% from the free throw line, but in 12 Big West games, they have made 76.0%, first in the league. In the last 10 games overall, UCSB has hit 148-of-186, 79.6%. In their last eight Big West games, the Gauchos have gone 111-of-136 from the line, 81.6%. In the last six games overall, Santa Barbara made 115-of-140, 82.1%. On Saturday, the Gauchos made 24-of-31 free throw attempts, 77.4%. At the beginning of the season, UCSB made 70.0% or better from the line just one time in its first eight games and just four times in its first 15 games. In their last 10 games, the Gauchos have been above 70.0% nine times and above 80.0% six times. Finally, in their last three games, they have shot 86 free throws, making 70, their highest three-game totals of the year.
Still A Pretty Good Barometer
Through 23 games this season one thing was for certain. If UCSB can entered the locker room at halftime with a lead, they were going to win. The Gauchos entered last Thursday's game against Cal State Fullerton with a perfect 10-0 record in games that they led after 20 minutes. So much for perfection. Against the Titans, UCSB led by eight points, 43-35, at the break, but were outscored in the second half by a 45-33 margin and dropped an 80-76 game. On Saturday against UC RIverside, however, the Gauchos led at the half and went on to win, improving to 11-1 when up at the break.
UCSB scored 81 points Saturday's win over UCR. It was the third time this season that the Gauchos had scored 80 or more points in a game and the second time in the last five. While Santa Barbara is averaging 67.4 points per game on the year, it has averaged 77.7 per game in the last three and 73.0 per game while winning six out of its last seven. Also on Saturday, the Gauchos made exactly 50.0% of their shots to improve to 45.6% overall for the year. It was the eighth time in 25 games that UCSB had made 50.0% or better from the field. Last year, the Gauchos made 50.0% or better in just one game.
Turning Over A New Leaf, But Not Much Else
In Saturday's win over UC Riverside, the Gauchos really took care of the ball. UCSB committed a season-low four turnovers against the Highlanders, the fewest ever committed in the Bob Williams era. The previous low of five came in a game at UC Riverside last season. The Gauchos have now had six games of 10 or fewer turnovers this year. Also, despite having 23 turnovers on Feb. 18 at San Jose State, UCSB has averaged just 11.6 turnovers in the last five games.
Help, Cecil! Help!
Cecil Brown had 19 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals in UCSB's win over UC Riverside on Saturday. He is now averaging a team-high 14.4 points per game and his scoring average is at its highest point all season. In fact, since Brown was averaging 13.2 points per game after a five-point effort on Feb. 2 against UC Davis, his average has gone up 1.2 points per game. In the six games since the averaged bottomed-out, Brown has tallied exactly 18.0 points per game and made 35-of-70 shots from the field, 50.0%. Brown has scored 10 or more points in each of the last six games and 22 times in his 24 outing this season. At one point, he scored in double-figures in 16 straight games, the most by a Gaucho player since the 1998-99 season. Brown has 20 or more points three times this season and in his career, including twice in the last five games. He scored a career-high 28 points on Dec. 7 against Pepperdine, the most points scored by a Gaucho since the end of the 2002-03 season. On Feb. 13 he became the first UCSB player this season to earn Big West Player of the Week honors after he averaged 18.5 points and made several key shots in road wins over UC Irvine and Long Beach State. Brown is particularly on fire from the free throw line. On Saturday against UCR, he was 5-for-5 from the line to extend his streak without a miss to 24 in a row. In fact, dating back to Jan. 15, Brown has made 41 of his last 42 attempts from the line, 97.6%. Over that span, he has seen his percentage on the year improve from 58.6% to 81.7% He also leads the team with 40 three-point baskets, but he has made just one in his last three games. The 40 three-pointers by Brown are 16 more than his previous career-high of 24 set in 2003-04. He has also become a key playmaker for the Gauchos and his 53 assists rank second on the team. In the Feb. 18 win at San Jose State, he had a career-high six assists. Brown also had five rebounds in each of the last four games and he is now averaging 4.0 per outing.
Sophomore forward Chris Devine is in a bit of a scoring slump. In Saturday's win over UCR, he was limited to 26 minutes before fouling out and he had eight points on 3-of-5 from the field and 2-of-4 from the free throw line. Devine, who had gone 14 straight games in double-figures, has scored in single-digits three times in the last four games. On Thursday, Feb. 23, in a loss to Cal State Fullerton, he did post his third double-double of the season as he equaled career-highs in points with 21 and rebounds with 11. Devine's other double-doubles this season came on Feb. 9, in a win at Long Beach State (14 points, 11 rebounds) and on Jan. 2 in a loss at UC Riverside (21 points, 11 rebounds). Devine ranks second on the team in scoring at 12.4 points per game and he continues to rank second in rebounding at 5.6 per game. He had seven rebounds vs. UCR on Saturday and has had seven or more 11 times. He has now scored 10 or more 18 times. Devine leads the team in field goal percentage at 58.4% and steals with 25. His field goal percentage also leads the Big West Conference. With his 21 points last Thursday, he has also matched Cecil Brown for the most 20 point games by a Gaucho this season with three. After seven games this year, Devine was averaging 8.4 points per game, but in the last 18 games, he has scored 250 points, 13.9 per game. He has made at least half of his shots in 20 of 25 games and has made 60.0% or better 15 times. Devine is also the only UCSB player to have started all 25 games. Finally, when he fouled out of Saturday's game against UCR, it was his fourth disqualification this season, the most on the team.
Senior guard Joe See scored just four points against UCR on Saturday, making 2-of-6 shots. He did make his final two shots after opening the game by missing four in a row. In last Thursday's game against Cal State Fullerton, See made 5-of-7 shots overall, 4-of-6 from three-point range, and he finished with 14 points , his highest total since he had 15 in the Big West opener at UCR on Jan. 2. The four three-pointers were the most he had made since he drilled five threes in the season-opener against San Francisco. See, who has started the last 17 games, is now averaging 7.8 points per game, fourth on the team, and has taken over the team-lead in assists at 2.3 per game. He scored a season-high 17 points in the team's opener against San Francisco. See has now made 36 three-pointers on the year and 123 in his career. He ranks seventh on UCSB's all-time list. As a starter in the last 17 games, he has averaged 9.3 points, 3.2 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game. As a starter, See has made 51-of-103 shots from the field overall, 49.5%, and 26-of-59 from three-point range, 44.1%. Finally, by making 17 of his last 18 free throws, he has taken over the team-lead at 82.1%.
A Turning Point
Before getting the flu and missing practices on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday last week, junior forward Glenn Turner had started six straight games for UCSB. Last Thursday night against Cal State Fullerton, he was limited to 14 minutes off the bench and he had just two points and three rebounds. In Saturday's win over UCR, Turner returned to the starting lineup, played 25 minutes and had seven points, seven rebounds and one blocked shot. While Turner is averaging 4.9 points per game, sixth on the team, he leads the team in rebounding at 5.7 per game. Despite totaling just 10 rebounds in the last two games, he has averaged 8.6 per game in the last nine. Turner has 10 or more rebounds five times this season, all in the last eight games. In fact, before collecting just three rebounds on Feb. 23 against Fullerton, he had produced 10 or more in five of six games. Turner had a career-high 12 rebounds on Feb. 9 at UC Irvine and he had the first double-double of his career with 12 points and 10 rebounds on Feb. 2 against UC Davis. On Dec. 7 against Pepperdine, Turner scored a career-best 13 points. Turner's one blocked shot on Saturday gives him 32 on the season and 81 in his career, fifth on UCSB's all-time list. He needs just three more to move into fourth all-time.
The Harris Poll
Sophomore guard Alex Harris scored 15 points in Saturday's win over UCR. It was his highest point total in six games and it equaled his second-best scoring effort of the season. Harris is now averaging 8.4 points per game, third on the team. In the last five games, he has averaged 10.0 points per game and in the last seven he has averaged 9.7 per game and made 48.7% of his field goal attempts. Harris has scored 10 or more nine times this season, including five times in the last 13 games. He had a career-high 17 points on Jan. 7 against Long Beach State and beginning with that game, a span of 13 games, Harris has made 32-of-69 shots from the field, 46.4%, a major improvement over his season mark of 38.4%. He also ranks third on the team with 26 three-point baskets, but he did not make one in either of last weekend's games, going 0-for-6 in the two. Prior to the last two, Harris had made at least one three-pointer in five straight games. Like many of his teammates, he has also picked things up at the free throw line. Although he is shooting 70.7% from the stripe, he has made 29-of-36 over the last nine games, 80.6%. Finally, Harris had his first career double-double, a 14-point, 10-rebound performance on Nov. 21 against San Diego.
Cam I Am
Senior forward Cameron Goettsche received his first start in seven games last Thursday against Cal State Fullerton and he struggled. On Saturday, he returned to his role as a key reserve and he had one of his best games of the season. In the win over UCR, Goettsche made 6-of-8 shots from the field and both of his free throw attempts to finish with 14 points. He also had six rebounds, two blocked shots, one assist and a steal. The 14 points were Goettsche's second highest total of the year and the most since he had a career-high 21 on Dec. 20 against Sonoma State. He has now scored 10 or more points in three of the last four game and while he is averaging 7.3 per game on the year, Goettsche has averaged exactly 10.0 per game in the last five. In his last four games as a reserve, all Gaucho wins, he averaged 12.0 per game, and made 20-of-32 shots from the field, 62.5%. Goettsche has also blocked 26 shots and now has 64 in his career, seventh all-time.
Senior guard Michael Chambers played 55 minutes in UCSB's first 16 games. In the last nine games, Chambers has played 165 minutes, including 131 in the last seven, the first seven starts of his career. In Saturday's win over UCR, Chambers had seven points. In fact, he has had seven points in each of the last three games. He has also made at least one three-pointer in five straight and he made UCSB's lone three against UCR. Chambers had a season-high 11 points in his first start on Feb. 2 against UC Davis and while he is averaging 4.7 points per game in his 18 appearances, he is averaging 7.1 per game as a starter. Finally, since Chambers entered the starting lineup, the Gauchos have gone 6-1.
Senior guard Josh Davis has had three of his best offensive games in more than a month in the last three. While he made 2-of-5 from the field on Saturday against UCR, Davis made three of his four free throw attempts and scored seven points. In the last three games, he has scored 23 points, 7.7 per game, his highest three-game total of the year. In the last three games he has made 6-of-13 from the field, a modest 46.2%, but a major leap from his 28.3% mark for the season. Also, in the last two games, he has gone 9-of-10 from the free throw line, 90.0%. Davis has 10 steals in his last nine games and needs just one to move into eighth-place on UCSB's all-time career list.