Gauchos Travel to Ole Miss for NIT First Round Game, Harris Takes Aim at Scoring Record
March 17, 2008
Game No. 32
Wednesday, March 19, 2008 at 5:00 p.m. (PDT)
2008 MasterCard National Invitation Tournament
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at the University of Mississippi Rebels.
at the Tad Smith Coliseum, Oxford, Miss.
Radio: KTMS 990/1490-AM
UCSB Returns To Postseason For First Time Since 2003
UC Santa Barbara will play in the 2008 MasterCard National Invitation Tournament, marking the first time since the 2002-03 season that the Gauchos have taken part in postseason play. That year, UCSB also played in the NIT, losing a heartbreaking overtime game at San Diego State in the first round.
Gauchos Travel To Ole Miss In First Round
The Gauchos, a No. 7 seed in the NIT, will travel to Oxford, Miss., to play the University of Mississippi, a No. 2 seed in the first round of the tournament. UCSB has never played the Rebels, who open tournament play with a 21-10 overall record, and a 14-2 mark at the Tad Smith Coliseum. Ole Miss is led by guard Chris Warren, who is averaging 15.5 points and just over four assists per game. Forward Dwayne Curtis is averaging 15.1 points and a team-leading 9.3 rebounds. In all, the Rebels have four players averaging double-figures in points, and three players averaging 5.5 rebounds or more. Ole Miss opened the season with a 13-0 record. They have posted wins over Clemson, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. Their only home losses have come to South Carolina and Auburn.
Gauchos Make Fifth Appearance In NIT
UCSB will be making its fifth appearance in the National Invitation Tournament. As noted above, the Gauchos last played in the NIT in 2003 when they lost a first round game in overtime at San Diego State. Santa Barbara also took part in 1989, 1992, and 1993. The Gauchos have not fared well in the NIT, posting an 0-4 record. In 1989, they dropped a 70-62 decision at Wichita State. In 1992 and 1993, UCSB hosted Arizona State and Pepperdine, respectively, and lost by scores of 71-65 and 53-50.
On The Record
UCSB enters the National Invitation Tournament with an overall record of 23-8. The Gauchos finished with a Big West record of 12-4, tying with Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Northridge for the league's regular season championship.
Gauchos Set New School Standard For Wins
A Feb. 20 win at Pacific gave UCSB its 20th victory of the 2007-08 season. The Gauchos win at Long Beach State in the regular season finale was the Gauchos' 23rd of the season, breaking the previous school record for wins set in 1987-88 when they finished 22-8. This marks the ninth time in school history that the Gauchos have won 20 games in a season, the eighth in the modern era, and the first since the 2001-02 campaign. For head coach Bob Williams, it is the second time that he has led the program to 20 wins, the first being in 2001-02. Santa Barbara also hit the 20 victory plateau in 1991-92, 1989-90, 1988-89, 1987-88, 1970-71, 1960-61, and 1940-41. Williams and Jerry Pimm are the only coaches in school history to lead more than one team to 20 wins.
Harris Named Big West Co-Player Of The Year
UCSB senior guard Alex Harris was selected as the 2008 Big West co-Player of the Year, along with Cal State Fullerton's Scott Cutley. Harris, who finished the regular season averaging 20.2 points per game, was also chosen First Team All-Big West for the second consecutive year after leading the Gauchos to a share of the league's regular season championship. He is the fourth UCSB player to earn the Big West Player of the Year award, joining Brian Shaw (1988), Lucius Davis (1992), and Branduinn Fullove (2003).
Not To Be Forgotten
While Alex Harris was UCSB's only First Team All-Big West honoree, three other Gauchos were named Honorable Mention All-Big West. Junior forward Chris Devine, a two-time Second Team All-Big West choice, senior forward Ivan Elliott, and sophomore guard James Powell were each accorded Honorable Mention recognition. Devine is second on the team in scoring at 12.2 points per game, and rebounding at 5.3 per game. He also leads the team in steals (38) and is second in field goal percentage (51.0%). Powell is third on the team in scoring at 12.1 points per game, and he paces the team in three-point baskets (73), is second in assists (2.7 per game), and second in steals (35). He is also second on the team in three-point field goal percentage at 45.6%. Elliott is averaging 9.7 points per game. He leads UCSB in overall field goal percentage (56.6%), three-point field goal percentage (47.3), and rebounding (5.6 per game).
Probable Starters - Notes
G - Justin Joyner - Has had more turnovers than assists just twice this season.
G - Alex Harris - Needs 12 points to become UCSB's all-time leading scorer.
G - James Powell - Made 20-of-34 shots from three-point range in last six games.
F - Chris Devine - Had season-high 11 rebounds in Big West Tourney game vs. UC Irvine.
F - Ivan Elliott - Has 48 career blocked shots and needs one to move into UCSB top-10.
Probable Reserves - Notes
G - Nick Quick - Has attempted eight shots in just 16 minutes of action.
G - Jordan Weiner - 15 out of his 17 field goals are from three-point range.
G - Paul Roemer - Played 482 minutes this season after playing just 132 as a freshman.
G - D.J. Posley - Had career-high six steals in Big West Tournament game against UC Irvine.
F - Nedim Pajevic - Has had four or more rebounds in six consecutive games.
F - Sam Phippen - Scored two points at Utah State, his only points since Dec. 1 at LMU.
F - Beau Gibb - Oxford, Miss., native going home for NIT game.
After Shaky Start, UCSB Rebounds To Tie For Big West Crown
The Gauchos needed a strong finish to earn a tie for the Big West regular season title. After winning its first Big West Conference game this season, 79-64 over Long Beach State on Jan. 3, UCSB dropped a pair, to Cal State Northridge and at UC Irvine, to fall to 1-2 in league play. Following wins at Cal State Fullerton and Cal Poly, the Gauchos were 3-2, but a home loss to Pacific dropped them to 3-3. After the 1-2 start, Santa Barbara went 11-2, and it won nine of 10 Big West games after starting 3-3. The only loss in the final 10 league games was a home defeat to Irvine. The Gauchos also closed the regular season with six straight Big West wins, and seven straight conference road wins. In fact, the only loss over the final seven regular season games came in an ESPNU O'Reilly BracketBuster game at Utah State on Feb. 21.
The Bob Williams File
Bob Williams is in his 10th season as the head coach at UC Santa Barbara. This year his team recorded an overall record of 23-8 and a Big West mark of 12-4. The 23 wins are a new school record. In 2006-07, the Gauchos were 18-11 overall and 9-5 in league. Williams has led Santa Barbara to winning records in six of the last seven 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 163-130 (.557) overall record and an 100-64 (.610) 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 352-230 (.605) at four-year schools. Finally, dating back to the conclusion of the 2005-06 season, Williams' Gauchos have posted a 49-22 (.691) overall record.
Eight-Game Streak Was Longest In A Long Time
UCSB's eight-game winning streak, which was ended at North Carolina on Dec. 22, was the longest that a Gaucho team has put together since Bob Williams became head coach in 1998-99. It was also the longest winning streak since the 1988-89 team opened the year by winning 11 consecutive games, and it equaled the second longest streak in school history. Santa Barbara also won eight games in a row in 1971-72, 1960-61, and 1940-41.
Speaking Of Streaking
UCSB's longest winning streak in 2007-08 was eight consecutive games, the longest since the 1988-89 season when the Gauchos opened the season with an 11-0 record. On the other side of the coin, Santa Barbara's longest losing streak this season has been two games. the Gauchos have dropped consecutive games just one time, when they narrowly lost to Cal State Northridge on Jan. 5, 88-84, and then at UC Irvine on Jan. 10, 66-63.
32 Ties A Record
UCSB's first round game in the National Invitation Tournament will be the Gauchos 32nd game of the 2007-08 season. The 32 games played will tie a school record for most games played in a season, a mark previously set in 2002-03, the last time the program made an appearance in the NIT. Also, assuming James Powell, Justin Joyner, and Ivan Elliott are in the starting lineup for Santa Barbara's first postseason game in five years, they would each tie the school record for games started in a season at 32. The record is currently held by Mark Hull and Nick Jones, each of whom started all 32 games in 2002-03.
In 2007-08, the Gauchos equaled their all-time best record in true road games by going 10-4. They had a five-game road winning streak ended at Utah State on Feb. 22. Still, UCSB won its last seven Big West road games. Most recently, the Gauchos have posted road wins at Long Beach State (70-68 in overtime on Mar. 8), at Cal State Northridge (77-66 on Mar. 6), and at the University of the Pacific (60-53 on Feb. 20). Prior to the win over the Tigers, the Gauchos won at UC Davis, UC Riverside, Cal Poly, and Cal State Fullerton. They also have victories at Eastern Washington, Ball State, and Loyola Marymount. In addition to Utah State, Santa Barbara dropped road games at North Carolina, Stanford, and UC Irvine. In 2006-07, the Gauchos also recorded an all-time best 10-4 record on the road. Dating to the 2005-06 season, UCSB has gone 24-10 in its last 34 true road games.
The Gauchos At Home
UCSB completed its home season on Mar. 1 with a 73-55 win over UC Riverside, giving it an 11-3 record at the Thunderdome in 2007-08. The Gauchos opened the season by winning their first seven home games, stretching a two-season home winning streak to nine, but they went 4-3 to end the campaign. On Jan. 5, Cal State Northridge defeated UCSB 88-84, ending the nine-game home winning streak. The Gauchos also dropped games to Pacific (71-58 on Jan. 24) and UC Irvine (65-59 on Feb. 9). This season, Santa Barbara logged home wins over Cal State Fullerton, Cal Poly, UC Davis, Long Beach State, UC Riverside, UNLV, San Francisco, Montana State, Utah Valley, Pepperdine, and Cal Poly Pomona. The nine-game home winning streak that was ended by Northridge, was the longest the program has had since it won 15 in a row bridging the 1987-88 and 1988-89 seasons. The Gauchos did end on a two-game home winning streak.
Top One-Two Punches
Alex Harris and Chris Devine set a school record last year for most points by two UCSB players in a single-season. This year, Harris and Devine have combined for 973 points, a figure that would rank fourth all-time, if not for the fact that Harris and James Powell have combined for 981, the third most by a one-two punch in school history. Regardless of what happens, Harris will be the only player in school history who has been a part of two out of the top three one-two punches.
Take Me To Your Leaders
While only four players (Alex Harris, James Powell, Chris Devine, and Ivan Elliott) have led the Gauchos in scoring this season, the same has not held true for the other statistical categories. UCSB has had eight players lead or tie for the team-lead in steals, six lead or tie for the team-lead in rebounding, five lead or tie for the lead in assists, and six have led or tied for the team-lead in blocked shots.
Starters From The Start
UCSB's starting lineup has been pretty consistent this year. There has been very little change. Three Gauchos have started all 31 games, and two others have started 30 of 31. Senior forward Ivan Elliott, as well as sophomore guards James Powell and Justin Joyner, have made all 31 starts for Santa Barbara. While they have been the only staples in the starting lineup, senior guard Alex Harris and junior forward Chris Devine have started 30 of the 31 games. Harris missed the home opener on Nov. 15 against Cal Poly Pomona with a thumb injury, and Devine was absent from the Nov. 24 home game against Montana State. He attended a funeral in his native Alaska. Outside of the regular five, two other players made starts for the Gauchos. The interlopers were D.J. Posley, who started in place of Harris on Nov. 15, and Nedim Pajevic, who started in place of Devine on Nov. 24.
As mentioned above, UCSB has had the same starting lineup in 29 of 30 games. The only two players to start a game, outside of the regular five, have been forward Nedim Pajevic (Nov. 24 vs. Montana State), and guard D.J. Posley (Nov. 15 vs. Cal Poly Pomona.
The Steal Curtain
The Gauchos had 14 steals in their Mar. 14 Big West Tournament game against UC Irvine giving them 266 on the season, extending their new school record. The previous record of 236 steals was set in 1998-99, Bob Williams' first year as head coach of the Gauchos. In the last eight games, UCSB has had 85 steals, an average of 10.6 per game. In a Feb. 14 win over Cal Poly, they tied their season-high with 16, equaling the third highest total in school history. They also had 16 on Dec. 5 against Pepperdine. UCSB has had 10 or more steals seven times this season, including four times in the last eight games. Last year, in 29 games, UCSB had just 180 steals.
Plenty Of Turnover
UCSB opponents are averaging 18.2 turnovers per game in 2007-08, an increase of 4.8 per game over the 13.4 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 10 times in 31 games, and only three opponents have had fewer than 15. The highest total by a Gaucho opponent this season was 28, in the opener against Northwestern State. On Mar. 14, in the Big West Tournament contest against UC Irvine, the Gauchos forced the Anteaters into 23 turnovers, the third most by an opponent this season.
The Gauchos enter National Invitation Tournament with an average rebound deficit of 3.2 per game. After outrebounding three consecutive opponents to end the regular season, UCSB was beaten badly on the boards in the Big West Tournament by UC Irvine, 38-26. It marked the sixth time this season that the Gauchos have lost the rebounding battle by a double-digit margin. On the other hand, UCSB's largest rebounding margin this season has been nine, on Jan. 19 at Cal Poly.
UCSB picked a bad time to have its worst shooting and second-lowest scoring game of the season. The Gauchos made just 15 out of 47 shots in their Big West Tournament game against UC Irvine, 31.9%. Previously, the lowest percentage for a game was 32.1% in a Jan. 24 loss to Pacific. In the three games prior to the loss to Irvine, UCSB had made 71-of-141 shots, 50.4%. Finally, the 50 points scored were the second fewest scored by the Gauchos this season. They tallied 48 in a Nov. 11 loss at Stanford.
Dialing Long Distance
UCSB made four three-point baskets on Mar. 14 against UC Irvine. On the season, Santa Barbara has now made 234 three-point baskets, a new school record. Previously, the school record was 219, set in 2002-03. On Mar. 1, in a home win over UC Riverside, the Gauchos made 11-of-19 shots from beyond the three-point arc, 57.9%. It was their highest mark since making 60.0% in a Jan. 12 win at Cal State Fullerton. It was also the 10th time this season that they have made at least 50.0% of their three-point attempts. For the season, Santa Barbara is shooting 41.3% from three-point range, the top mark in the Big West Conference, and well above the school record of 40.3% set during the 2001-02 season. Entering the NIT, UCSB has made 10 or more three-point baskets nine times, including a season-high 12 in victories over UNLV, Utah Valley, and Ball State.
Some Magic Numbers Aren't Quite As Magical Anymore
UCSB limited UC Irvine to just 55 points in the Big West Conference Tournament on Mar. 14, but the Anteaters won, becoming the first team to score fewer than 61 points and beat the Gauchos. Santa Barbara is now 15-1 when holding an opponent to 61 points or less this season. Finally, UCSB attempted 29 free throws last Friday, eight more than Irvine. The game ended another statistical streak. Prior to the loss, the Gauchos were a perfect 11-0 when they had more free throw attempts than their opponent. They are now 11-1.
UCSB defeated Long Beach State by a mere two points in the final game of the regular season on Mar. 8. The margin of victory over the 49ers was the Gauchos smallest this season. In the second-to-the last game, on Mar. 6 at Cal State Northridge, they won by 11 points, 77-66. On the season, 15 of UCSB's 23 wins have come by margins of 10 or more. The largest margin of victory for Santa Barbara this season came on Dec. 19 at Ball State when the Cardinals fell by a 79-52 count. On the other side of the coin, the Gauchos have lost eight games this season, four of which have come by double-digit margins. The largest margin of defeat that UCSB has suffered this season was a 105-70 loss on Dec. 22 at top-ranked North Carolina.
Alex Harris has scored 10 or more points in all 30 of his appearances this season. In fact, dating back to the 2006-07 season, he has scored 10 or more 36 in 36 consecutive games. James Powell and Chris Devine are second on the team with 20 double-figure scoring efforts, and Ivan Elliott is fourth with 15. In all, eight different UCSB players have scored 10 or more points in a game at least one time in 2007-08.
UCSB's list of double-doubles this season is a short one indeed. This year, just one Gaucho, Nedim Pajevic, has had a double-double. He had 10 points and 10 rebounds in a Nov. 20 win over San Francisco. That has been the only double-double recorded by a Gaucho player this season. In 2006-07, Chris Devine had five double-doubles, and Ivan Elliott had one. In fact, prior to Devine's 11 rebound performance against UC Irvine in the Big West Tournament, Pajevic's 10 rebounds against San Francisco were the most by a UCSB player this season, and the only double-figure rebounding performance by any player. Devine's effort gives the Gauchos two double-figure rebounding efforts through 31 games in 2007-08.
The Harris Poll
Senior guard Alex Harris was named Big West co-Player of the Year, First Team All-Big West, and Second Team All-District 15 by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. He enters the NIT as the Gauchos leading scorer at 20.2 points per game, a figure that ranked second in the Big West Conference. In the team's loss to UC Irvine in the Big West Tournament semifinals, Harris made just 3-of-13 shots from the field, but he finished with a game-high 17 points, making a pair of three-pointers and 9-of-14 from the free throw line. In the regular season finale at Long Beach State, he scored 21 points, including a tie-breaking free throw with less than a second to go in overtime to give UCSB of the Big West regular season championship. On Mar. 6, in a pivotal game at Cal State Northridge, Harris scored 25 points and had a team-high seven rebounds. He was 5-for-13 from the field overall and 3-for-7 from three-point range. He enters the NIT having scored 1,676 points in his career, second on UCSB's all-time career scoring list. The program's all-time leader, Carrick DeHart, finished his career with 1,687 points. Harris joined DeHart as one of just two players in school history to score 1,600 or more. In addition, Harris has now scored 607 points on the season, the fourth most all-time. It marks the sixth time in UCSB history that a player has scored 500 or more points in a season and Harris is the only player to have accomplished the feat twice. In fact, he is the only player to score 600 or more twice. He had 611 last season, the third most all-time. Harris has scored 13 or more points in all 30 of his appearances this season and he has scored in double-figures in 37 straight dating back to the 2006-07 season. He has led or tied for the team-lead in scoring 23 times this year, going for 20 or more 15 times, and 25 or more seven times. He scored a season-high 31 points on Jan. 19 at Cal Poly. The 1,218 points that he has scored in the last two seasons are the the most scored by a Gaucho player in a two-year span. Harris is second on the team in three-point baskets with 72, the fourth most in school history. By making 2-of-9 in the last game, he has now made 70 out of his 159 attempts, 42.9%, fourth on the team. Harris has made at least one three-point basket in 29 of 30 games. In addition, he has hit two or more 22 times, and three or more 10 times. 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 192 out of 476, 40.4%, the third most makes and the fifth highest percentage in UCSB history. In addition to his 31-point game at Cal Poly, Harris scored 29 points on Nov. 24 against Montana State. In that game, he had career-highs for free throws, 15, and free throw attempts, 18. Harris has gone to the free throw line 215 times, the most in the Big West and a new school record. In addition to scoring, he has become one of the team's most dependable rebounders. Harris enters the NIT averaging 3.8 rebounds per outing, but in the last nine games, he averaged 4.5 per game and had at least five five times. He had a season-high eight rebounds on Nov. 24 against Montana State, and seven on three occasions. The durable Harris has played in all but one game during his career at UCSB. He missed the Gauchos Nov. 15 home opener against Cal Poly Pomona, but has played in, and started the other 30 games. In fact, he has played at least 28 minutes in all 30 of his appearances in 2007-08.
The Devine File
Junior forward Chris Devine was named Honorable Mention All-Big West. Before fouling out of UCSB's Big West Tournament game against UC Irvine, he had eight points, a season-high 11 rebounds and a pair of steals. He completed the regular season on a positive note, scoring 17 points and collecting seven rebounds in an overtime win at Long Beach State. It was Devine's highest point total since he had 18 on Jan. 12 at Cal State Fullerton. In the last three games, Devine has made 11-of-18 field goal attempts, 61.1%, a marked improvement over the three games prior to the last three. In those three contests, he averaged just 6.0 points, making 6-of-20 shots from the field, 30.0%. It marked the first time this season that Devine had scored fewer than 10 points in three consecutive games, and the stretch came on the heels of a stretch in which he had 15 or more in three straight, his longest such streak in Big West play this year. Devine is averaging 12.2 points per game, second on the team. He has scored 10 or more points 20 times in his 30 appearances this year, 10 times in the last 20 games. He scored in double-figures in the first 10 games of the season. He scored a season-high 24 on Jan. 5 against Cal State Northridge, and his other 20 point game came at Ball State on Dec. 19 when he made 9-of-10 shots and had 22. On Jan. 24 against Pacific, Devine became the 22nd player in UCSB history to move past the 1,000 point mark. He enters the NIT with a career total of 1,129 points, a figure that ranks 18th all-time. He needs six to move into 16th-place. Devine is second on the team in rebounding at 5.3 per game. He has had seven or more 12 times, and in addition to his season-high 11 in the Big West Tournament, he had nine on Dec. 1 at Loyola Marymount. Devine is second on the team in field goal percentage at 51.0%. He leads the team in steals with 38. He has had two or more steals 12 times and four in a Dec. 22 game at North Carolina. In a Mar. 6 win at Cal State Northridge, he made his ninth three-point basket of the season, his first since he made a pair on Jan. 12 at Cal State Fullerton. Devine has now made nine this year, one more than he had in his first two seasons combined. He is also second on the team in free throws made (99), and free throws attempted (127). Devine attempted a season-high 10 in the regular season finale at Long Beach State. Although he missed UCSB's Nov. 24 home game against Montana State to attend a funeral in his native Alaska, Devine has been the program's workhorse during his first three seasons. When he missed the game against Montana State it was the first DNP of his career. He has played in, and started, 30 games this season. He has also played in, and started, 88 games over the last three seasons. His 88 starts over the last three years are the most of anyone over that span. Devine played 20 or more minutes 28 times this season, and 30 or more on 13 occasions.
Old Buddy, Old Powell
Sophomore guard James Powell was named Honorable Mention All-Big West. He struggled in the Big West Tournament scoring just four points on 1-of-6 overall and 1-of-4 from three-point range. Powell finished the regular season by scoring in double-figures in six straight games, the longest streak of his career. He cooled off a bit from three-point range in the final two regular season games, making 4-of-10 in wins at Cal State Northridge and Long Beach State, but overall he closed with a rush from beyond the three-point stripe. In a Mar. 1 home win over UC Riverside, Powell made a career-best 7-for-8 from outside the arc, scoring 24 points, one shy of his career-high. In the game before that, Feb. 22 at Utah State, he made six out out 10 three-point attempts. In the last six games, including the Big West Tournament, Powell has connected on 20-of-34 three-point tries, 58.8%. Powell's recent three-point binge has pushed him past Alex Harris and into the team-lead with 73 three-pointers, tying him for third on UCSB's all-time single-season list. Powell is second on the team in three-point field goal percentage at 45.6%, a figure that ranks third on the school's single-season list. He is also now shooting 40.7% from three-point range for his career, the fourth best mark in school history. Powell made six three-pointers and scored a career-high 25 points in a Jan. 30 win at UC Riversde, and in addition to his 24-point game against the Highlanders on Mar. 1, he had 24 on Nov. 15 against Cal Poly Pomona. He enters the NIT ranked third on the team at 12.1 points per game and in the last seven, he has averaged 15.0 per outing. In all, he has been in double-figures 20 times this season, all in the last 28 games, and he has scored 20 or more six times. Since scoring a total of 17 points through the first three games, Powell has averaged 13.2 points per game. Since opening the year by going 2-for-12 from three-point range, Powell has made 71 out of his last 148 attempts, 48.0%. He has made at least one three-point basket in 18 straight games and 28 times in 31 games this season. He had made two or more in 10 straight prior to the last game, and he has done so 22 times this year. Powell has hit three or more 10 times. On Nov. 27 against UNLV, he made what was then a career-high five three-point baskets, all in the second half. His final three against the Runnin' Rebels came with less than a second to play and gave UCSB a 63-60 win. Powell is averaging 2.2 assists per game, second on the team, and he has had two or more in 13 of the last 18 games. He tied a career-high with six on Jan. 5 against Cal State Northridge. He is is second on the team with 35 steals and he has had two in three of the last five games. Finally, Powell is one of three Gauchos to start all 31 games.
Ivan The Good
Senior forward Ivan Elliott had nine points, four rebounds, two blocked shots, two steals and one assist in the Big West Tournament loss to UC Irvine. He did have one of his poorest shooting performances of the season, making just 2-of-8 from the field and missing his only three-point attempt. Elliott finished the regular season with a rush, averaging 14.7 points and making 17-of-21 field goal attempts, 81.0%, in wins over Long Beach State, Cal State Northridge and UC Riverside. He enters the NIT as the team's fourth-leading scorer at 9.7 points per game. Elliott leads the team in rebounding at 5.6 per game, and blocked shots with 29. Also, despite making just two out of eight attempts in his last game, he paces the Gauchos in field goal percentage at 56.6%. In the regular season finale on Mar. 8 at Long Beach State, Elliott had 12 points and made all five of his field goal attempts, including a pair of three-pointers. In each of the games prior to that, he scored 16. He scored 68 points in his last five Big West games, an average of 13.6 per game. Over that span, Elliott made 27-of-35 shots from the field, 77.1%. Elliott scored a career-high 22 points in a Feb. 7 win over Cal State Fullerton. He has scored 10 or more points 15 times this season. Elliott leads the Gauchos in three-point field goal percentage at 47.3%. After a brief slump, he has returned to form from beyond the arc in recent games, making 4-of-7 in the last four. Elliott made a career-high three three-pointers on Nov. 24 against Montana State, and he has made two on seven other occasions. In 2006-07, the native San Franciscan made just 5-of-13 shots from three-point territory, but this year he has drilled 26 out of his 55 attempts. Overall, in the last 11 games, Elliott has gone 47 out of 73 from the field, 64.4%. In the last 12 games, he has made 45 out of his 62 two-point attempts, 72.6%. He has had six or more rebounds 18 times this season, but has totaled just seven in the last two games. He had a season-high nine rebounds on Jan. 24 against Pacific, and Dec. 28 at Eastern Washington. Elliott has 31 steals on the season, 16 of which have come in the last 10 games. He had career-highs of four steals and four assists on Feb. 14 against Cal Poly. Finally, he is one of three Gauchos to have started all 31 games during the 2007-08 regular season, playing 18 or more minutes in every game and 25 or more 21 times.
Sophomore guard Justin Joyner has played with a broken bone in his wrist for the entire season, yet he continues to quarterback UCSB at the point guard position, and he was one of three players on the team to start all 31 games. Joyner lead the Gauchos in assists, at 3.6 per game, and the Big West in assist-to-turnover ratio, at 2.04-to-1.00. Joyner had three points, three assists, and one steal in the Big West Tournament game against UC Irvine. He is now averaging 3.7 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. He has had more turnovers than assists in just two games this season (Four turnovers and two assists on Nov. 11 at Stanford, and four turnovers and three assists on Mar. 6 at Northridge.), and in his last 23 games, he has 88 assists and just 39 turnovers. He has had just 21 turnovers in the last 13 games, a span of 353 minutes. Joyner has had a season-high seven assists twice, Dec. 7 against Utah Valley and Feb. 10 vs. UC Irvine. In the Feb. 9 game against Irvine, Joyner also had a career-high 16 points, making 4-of-6 three-point attempts. In all, he has produced three or more assists 21 times this season. In addition to his pair of seven assist games, he has had two games with six assists and three games with five assists. Also, after going 0-for-5 from the field over a five game span, he has gone 17-of-37 in the last eight games, 45.9%. He has improved his overall field goal percentage to 38.5%. In fact, since opening the year by making just 10 of his first 37 shots in the first nine games, he has hit 32-of-72, 44.4%, in the last 22. Joyner has made 16 out of 51 three-pointers this season, with 11 coming in four games, two apiece against UNLV and Ball State, three at Fullerton and his career-high four on Feb. 9 against UC Irvine. Since opening the year by making just two out of 12 three-point attempts over the first six games, Joyner has gone 14-of-39, 35.9%. He is averaging 2.6 rebounds per game and has had a season-high five on four occasions. Joyner is tied for third on the team with 34 steals, including 14 in the last eight games. He has tied his career-high with three steals on four occasions this season and is generally considered one of the best defenders on the team. Not only has Joyner started all 31 games this season, but his 57 starts in the last two years are more than any player on the team with the exception of Alex Harris and Chris Devine. He has played at least 20 minutes in every game this season, and 25 or more on 22 occasions.
A Piece Of The Pajevic
Senior forward Nedim Pajevic is averaging 5.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. He had five points, four rebounds, two assists and a steal in the Big West Tournament game against UC Irvine. He finished the regular season with two of his best showings in Big West games. In the season-finale at Long Beach State, Pajevic tied his season-high with 26 minutes played, made 3-of-4 shots from the field, including his only three-point attempt, scored eight points, collected four rebounds and had three assists. In 20 minutes on Mar. 6 at Cal State Northridge, he had seven points and five rebounds. Pajevic made 3-of-6 shots overall against the Matadors, including his only three-point attempt. The five rebounds equaled his highest total in the last nine games. Pajevic has been solid on the boards in recent games, averaging 4.5 per game in the last six and grabbing at least four in each. Through 31 games, Pajevic has had four or more rebounds 17 times. 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. Pajevic's double-double against the Dons is the only one recorded by a UCSB player this season. He scored his season-high 16 points in the second game of the year, a win over Harvard, and he has had 10 or more six times, the last time coming on Dec. 22 when he had 12 in a loss at North Carolina. By making eight of his 14 shots in the last three games, Pajevic improved to 46.8% overall from the field. Finally, the transfer from Weber State is averaging 1.8 assists per game. He had a season-high five on Nov. 15 against Cal Poly Pomona, and then again on Feb. 7 against Cal State Fullerton, and he has had three or more assists nine times despite never playing more than 26 minutes in a game.
Sophomore guard Paul Roemer continues to give the Gauchos valuable minutes as a reserve in the backcourt. He has played in all 31 games, averaging 15.5 minutes per game. He was scoreless in nine minutes against UC Irvine in the Big West Tournament. Roemer is averaging 2.3 points, 1.2 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game. He also has 26 steals and eight blocked shots. He had a career-high 12 points, on four three-pointers, on Jan. 10 at UC Irvine. In addition to his 12-point game at UC Irvine, Roemer went for 10 in the season-opener against Northwestern State, his only other double-figure game this season. He had a career-high five assists on Feb. 7 against Cal State Fullerton, and a career-high three steals on Dec. 22 at North Carolina. In recent games, Roemer has also become one of the team's top shot blockers. In 2006-07, Roemer played 132 minutes in 16 games. This year, he has played in 30 games, logging 482 minutes.
Strike A Posley
Junior guard D.J. Posley was one of the bright spots in UCSB's Big West Tournament defeat to UC Irvine. He had four points, one rebound, one assist, and a career-high six steals to help the Gauchos claw back into the game. Posley is now averaging 2.7 points and 1.9 rebounds per game. Despite ranking eighth on the team in minutes played, he is tied for third with 34 steals and he has nine in the last three games. Prior to the six-steal performance against Irvine, his career-high was four on Jan. 30 at UC Riverside. Posley has also had three steals twice, and two three times. The four points he scored last Friday were the most he has scored since he had six on Jan. 26 against UC Davis. Posley scored a season-high seven points on Dec. 5 against Pepperdine. He has also had six points three times. The Chicago-area native has made five three-point baskets this season, but none since he drained his only attempt on Jan. 10 at UC Irvine. He has played in 27 of 31 games, missing four during February with a bad case of the flu.