November 19, 2007

Harris Expected Back as the Gauchos Host San Francisco on Tuesday, Montana State on Saturday

Nov. 19, 2007

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The Schedule
Game No. 5
Tuesday, November 20, 2007 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. USF Dons
at UCSB's Thunderdome

Game No. 6
Saturday, November 24, 2007 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Montana State Bobcats
at UCSB's Thunderdome

On The Radio
All UC Santa Barbara basketball games are broadcast live in Santa Barbara on KTMS, 990 and 1490 AM. KEYT-TV Sports Director Gerry Fall is in his fourth 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 this season.

The Bob Williams Show
The Bob Williams in Paradise show will be aired each Tuesday night from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on KTMS 990 and 1490 AM in Santa Barbara. Coach Williams will talk about past and upcoming games, interview Gaucho players and welcome guests from the Santa Barbara sports community. Bob in Paradise is broadcast live each week from The Paradise Cafe on the corner of Anacapa and Ortega in downtown Santa Barbara.

The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara is 3-1 on the season. The Gauchos opened the 2007-08 season by winning two out of its three games at the Basketball Travelers Classic in Palo Alto, Calif. UCSB defeated Northwestern State and Harvard before losing to the tourney host, Stanford. Last Thursday, the Gauchos opened their home schedule with a 75-56 win over visiting Cal Poly Pomona.

UCSB Remains At Home For The Holiday
The Gauchos will remain at home for their next three games and five of their next six. After opening the year in the tournament at Stanford, UCSB's schedule had it playing six of seven games at home with the only exception being a short Dec. 1 trip to Los Angeles to play Loyola Marymount. In addition to San Francisco and Montana State, Santa Barbara will host UNLV (Nov. 27), Pepperdine (Dec. 5) and Utah Valley State (Dec. 7).

Harris Remains Day-To-Day As Gauchos Take On USF
Senior guard Alex Harris, UCSB's leading scorer at 23.0 points per game through the first three games, missed the team's most recent contest, a home win over Cal Poly Pomona. Harris injured his left thumb in practice on Nov. 14 when a hard pass was kicked by one of his teammates and hit him. Although there is no break, the defending Big West Conference scoring champion was put in a brace and forced to miss the first game of his career. Harris will be re-evaluated on Tuesday morning, the day of the USF game.

UCSB Ranked 23rd In Mid-Major Poll
After opening the 2007-08 season ranked 20th in the Collegeinsider.com Mid-Major Poll, UCSB has dropped to 23rd after the first week of play. Gonzaga continues to lead the poll.

Powell, Pajevic Lead Home Win Over Cal Poly Pomona
Sophomore guard James Powell scored a career-high 24 points and senior forward Nedim Pajevic added 11 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two blocked shots, to lead UCSB past Cal Poly Pomona, 75-56, on Thursday. The Broncos, an NCAA Division II program, are picked to finish second in the California Collegiate Athletics Association. After struggling with his shooting in the first three games of the season, Powell missed his first shot against Pomona, a three-point attempt, and then made eight of his last 11, including four of his last six three-pointers. Pajevic made both of his field goal attempts, including a three-pointer, and all six of his free throws. In addition to his 11 points, the Weber State transfer led UCSB in rebounds (8), assists (5) and blocked shots (2). Junior forward Chris Devine added 13 points for the Gauchos, who made 52.4% of their shots overall and 50.0% (11-of-22) from beyond the three-point arc.

Probable Starters - Notes
G - Justin Joyner - Leads the Gauchos with 14 assists through four games.
G - D.J. Posley - Has fouled out of two of the the Gauchos first four games.
G - James Powell - Scored a career-high 24 points in win over Cal Poly Pomona.
F - Chris Devine - Only UCSB player in double-figures in all four games.
F - Ivan Elliott - Dislocated a finger on his right hand vs. CPP, but expected to play.

Probable Reserves - Notes
G - Nick Quick - Made the first three-pointer of his career against Cal Poly Pomona.
G - Jordan Weiner - Has made 2-of-3 shots overall and from three-point range.
G - Paul Roemer - Has had his two highest scoring games ever in first four.
G - Alex Harris - Remains day-to-day with injured left thumb.
G - George Murphy - Has yet to play in a game.
F - Nedim Pajevic - Leads the team in field goal percentage at 55.6%.
F - Sam Phippen - Has played in three of the four games.
F - Beau Gibb - Has 12 points in four games after scoring 15 all of last year.
F - Spencer Ford - Freshman forward will redshirt 2007-08 season.

The Bob Williams File
Bob Williams is in his 10th season as the head coach at UC Santa Barbara. Last year his team recorded an overall record of 18-11 and a Big West mark of 9-5. The 18 wins were the most regular season wins by a Gaucho team since 1991-92 and it equaled the second most wins a Williams-coached UCSB team has ever had. Williams has led Santa Barbara to winning records in five of the last six seasons, the only exception being a 2004-05 team that was ravaged by injuries. He has guided UCSB to a pair of postseason appearances. In 2002-03, the Gauchos went 18-14 overall and 14-4 in league. The 2002-03 Big West mark earned Santa Barbara its first-ever Big West regular season championship along with a trip to the postseason National Invitation Tournament. Additionally, the success earned Williams his second Big West Coach of the Year award, his first coming after an impressive 1999 campaign. In 2001-02, Williams guided UCSB to its first Big West Conference Tournament title ever and first NCAA Tournament appearance in 12 years. Including this season, Williams' UCSB teams have posted a 143-123 (.538) overall record and an 86-59 (.589) 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 332-223 (.598) at four-year schools.

Incoming!
UCSB signed four players to National Letters of Intent in the early signing period and all four are high school players from California. Will Brew, Jr., a 6-foot-3, 175 pound guard from St. Mary's High School in Berkeley, Jaime Serna, a 6-foot-7, 235 pound forward from Santa Margarita High School in Rancho Santa Margarita, James Nunnally, a 6-foot-5, 205 pound swingman from Weston High School in Stockton, and Greg Somogyi, a 7-foot-2, 230 pound post player from Woodside Priory in Portola Valley, have all signed to join the Gauchos next year. Somogyi is a native of Hungary who is spending his second year at Woodside Priory. Head coach Bob Williams believes this is one of, if not the, best recruitin

The Opposition
Santa Barbara and San Francisco will be meeting for the 34th time. The Dons have a 23-10 lifetime advantage over the Gauchos, but UCSB has won the last two meetings, including a 74-69 victory in The City on Dec. 17, 2006. The Gauchos also won the last Thunderdome meeting between the schools, 82-59 on Nov. 18, 2005. UCSB and Montana State have played seven times in a series that began in 1972. The Gauchos are a perfect 7-0 in the series against the Bobcats, including a resounding 88-56 win on Nov. 13 in Missoula, Mont. The 32-point margin in last season's game was the largest in the history of the series.

The Gauchos At Home
UCSB is 1-0 at the Thunderdome this season. Last year, the Gauchos struggled at home with an uncharacteristic 8-6 record. Conversely, they were 10-4 in true road games.

Give `Em A Hand, A Healthy Hand
UCSB has three key players nursing a variety of injuries to their hands or wrists. Senior guard Alex Harris missed the game against Cal Poly Pomona with an injured left thumb. He remains day-to-day as the Gauchos head into the week. Forward Ivan Elliott suffered a dislocated finger on his right hand during the game against Pomona and though he returned in the second half, he struggled holding the ball. Finally, point guard Justitn Joyner continues to play with a sore right wrist. He is playing with a special splint-like wrap that absorbs some of the impact when he receives a pass or uses his right hand in any way.

Turning Over A New Leaf
Probably the most important aspect of the defense being employed by UCSB this season is its penchant for causing turnovers. In recent years, Gaucho teams have played good defense in the sense that they have generally held opponents to low field goal and three-point percentages, and relatively low point totals. What UCSB's defense has not done, is force turnovers and thus create points from the turnovers. Through four games in 2007-08, that has changed. Santa Barbara's first four opponents have turned the ball over 83 times, an average of 20.7 per game. In the season opener, Northwestern State coughed-up 28 turnovers, a season-high, and on Nov. 11 at Stanford, the Cardinal had 16, the season-low. In 2006-07, Gaucho opponents averaged 13.4 turnovers per game and had 16 or more seven times in 29 games and 17 or more four times. This year, three of the four opponents have had at least 17 turnovers. Additionally, last season's single-game high by an opponent was 21, set by Pepperdine in a double overtime game. This year, two opponents, Northwestern State and Harvard, have already had more than 21...in regulation.

The Turnover Story, Part Deux
There is another, more sinister side to the turnover story for UCSB. While the Gauchos are forcing more turnovers this season, they are also accumulating more on the offensive end. In Thursday's win over Cal Poly Pomona, UCSB had 17 turnovers, the second highest total of the season. The Gauchos are averaging 15.5 turnovers per game, as compared to 13.9 per game last season. With 17 turnovers against Pomona, a downward turnover trend came to a halt. After committing 20 turnovers in the opener against Northwestern State, UCSB had 13 against Harvard and just 12 against Stanford.

Marginalized
At some point this season, UCSB is going to play in a close game. Will they be ready? Who knows, but nothing that has happed in the first four games would seem to have prepared them for a nail-biter. The Gauchos are outscoring opponents 73.5 to 63.8 points per game, a margin of +9.7 points per game. The closest of the four games was a 79-61 decision over Harvard. UCSB has beaten its three opponents by an average of 19.3 points per game, with the largest margin of 21 coming against Northwestern State. The Gauchos' sole loss came by 19 points, 67-48, to Stanford.

Sharing The Wealth
Santa Barbara has three players, Alex Harris, Chris Devine and James Powell, averaging in double-figures. The Gauchos, however, have had six different players score 10 points or more through the first four games. Devine has scored in double-figures in all four games and Harris has done so in all three in which he has played. In addition, forward Nedim Pajevic has scored 10 or more in three of the four games while three others, Powell, Ivan Elliott and Paul Roemer have scored 10 or more one time each.

Free Play
While their first four opponents have attempted 28 more free throws, the Gauchos have been far more efficient. UCSB has done an outstanding job of defending the charity stripe in 2007-08 (tongue in cheek). Opponents have made just 60 of their 101 attempts, 59.4%. On the other side of the le ger, the Gauchos have drained 58-of-73, 79.5%. The only sub-par game was a 4-for-9 performance in the loss to Stanford, in the three wins, Santa Barbara has made 54-of-64, 84.4%. Alex Harris has made 23-of-27 in his three games, an outstanding 85.2%, while Chris Devine has hit 15-of-19, 78.9%. Interestingly, two reserve forwards, Nedim Pajevic and Beau Gibb, have each been perfect from the line. Pajevic has made all eight of his attempts, while Gibb has made all four of his.

Harris, Devine Honored
Senior guard Alex Harris and junior forward Chris Devine were chosen to the Big West Conference's preseason all-league team. Harris, who led the circuit in scoring in 2006-07 at 21.1 points per game, was a First Team All-Big West Conference choice as a junior. Devine, who averaged 14.1 points and a team-leading 6.6 rebounds per game, is a two-time Second Team All-Big West selection. He was also chosen to the preseason All-Big West Team prior to the 2006-07 season. In addition to the preseason league honor, Harris was selected to a pair of Preseason Mid-Major All-America Teams. He was named Second Team Mid-Major All-America by collegehoops.net and to the 25 member Mid-Major All-America squad selected by collegeinsider.com.

The Harris Poll
Senior guard Alex Harris missed Thursday's game against Cal Poly Pomona with an injured right thumb. While he listed as day-to-day, he is likely to play against USF. Although he struggled with his shooting a bit, Harris seems to have picked up where he left off last season. Harris averaged a team-leading 23.0 points per game in the three games over the weekend. He led the Gauchos in scoring in all three games and had game-highs of 27 against Northwestern State and 24 against Harvard. Following the tournament, Harris was named to the All-Tournament Team. His 27-point performance equaled the fourth highest total his career. Harris made 21-of-46 field goal attempts in the three games, 45.7%, but after making 2-of-4 attempts from three-point territory against Northwestern State, he made just 2-for-10 in the final two games, both against Stanford. Harris also averaged 4.0 rebounds in the first three games and he tied for team-high honors with seven against Stanford. Additionally, his five steals were the most of any Gaucho in the three games. Finally, with 69 points through the first three games, Harris has now scored 1,138 in his career, moving him from 18th-place to 15th-place on UCSB's all-time list. He needs just four points to pass Raymond Tutt for 14th-place.

The Devine File
Junior forward Chris Devine has been pretty consistent through four games. He is averaging 13.3 points per game and is the only Gaucho to score in double-figures in all four games. Devine had a season-high 14 on Nov. 11 at Stanford, and he has had 13 in each of the other three games. Also, since starting the season by making just 3-of-8 shots in a win over Northwestern State, he has made 15-of-25 shots in the last three games, 60.0%. Devine has scored a total of 53 points and has moved past the 800 point mark for his career with 816. While his 3.8 rebounds per game is a decrease from his past numbers, part of it may be due to the fact that he is playing fewer minutes this year. Whether because of foul trouble or by design, the Eagle River, Alaska, native is averaging just 22.0 minutes per game this season. In 2005-06, he averaged 29.4 minutes per contest and last year he averaged 31.6 per game. This year, Devine has played more than 22 minutes just once, against Stanford, and in that game he had season-highs of eight rebounds and 14 points.

A Piece Of The Pajevic (Pronounced Pie-uh-vich)
Senior forward Nedim Pajevic has been better than advertised so far. A transfer from Weber State who sat out the 2006-07 season as a redshirt, Pajevic is averaging 9.8 points and a team-leading 4.8 rebounds per game. He also has nine assists, 2.3 per game, and four blocked shots. He paces the team in field goal percentage at 55.6%, and he has yet to miss a free throw, going 8-for-8. A native of Sarajevo, Bosnia, Pajevic has scored in double-figures in three of the four games. While he scored a season-high 16 in the Nov. 10 win over Harvard, also collecting seven rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots, his best all-around game probably came in the Nov. 15 win over Cal Poly Pomona. Pajevic was considered a good passer when he transferred and against the Broncos, he proved it as he passed off a game-high five assists. In addition, he had 11 points, two blocked shots and a season-high eight rebounds.

Old Buddy, Old Powell
After struggling with his offense through the first three games of the season, sophomore guard James Powell came alive in the win over Cal Poly Pomona. A native of Pomona, Powell missed his first field goal attempt of the game, but went on to make eight of his next 11, including four of his last six three-point attempts, to finish with a career-high 24 points. The four three-pointers tied a career-high. In the Gauchos' first three games this season, Powell scored 17 points and averaged just 5.7 per game. In the first three, he hit just 7-of-25 shots from the floor overall, 28.0%, and 2-for-9 from three-point range, 22.2%. His previous career-high of 18 points came in a double overtime win at Pepperdine last year. With Alex Harris out of the lineup because of a thumb injury, Powell's offensive explosion was a timely one. He is now averaging 10.3 points per game and he has improved his overall field goal percentage to 40.5%. Also, after getting off to an uncharacteristic poor start from the free throw line (1-for-3), Powell made all four of his attempts against the Broncos.

Justin Time
With the exception of the game against Harvard, sophomore point guard Justin Joyner has struggled to find his offensive game thus far in 2007-08. In the game against Harvard, Joyner had nine points and made 4-of-6 shots, including his only three-point attempt. In the other three games combined, he has scored six points, making 1-of-10 shots from the field. Joyner is playing with an injured right wrist, which has effected his shot. Despite the injury, which is taped up for each game, the Antioch, Calif., native leads the team in assists with 14. He had four assists against Cal Poly Pomona, his second highest total of the season. He had five in the season-opener against Northwestern State. Joyner also had a season-high five rebounds in the win over Pomona.

Ivan The Good
Senior forward Ivan Elliott had a bit of a scare in the Thursday's game against Cal Poly Pomona. In the first half of the game, Elliott suffered a dislocated middle finger on his right hand. He left the court, went into the locker room and didn't return until the second half, with his middle finger taped to his ring finger. Elliott was limited to 19 minutes in the game against the Broncos and he finished with two points and five rebounds. He had trouble holding the ball with his right hand and made just 1-of-5 shots from the field. Elliott is now averaging 8.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. He scored a career-high 17 points in UCSB's season opening win over Northwestern State, but in the three games since, he has scored a total of just 16 points, 5.3 per game. Also, since making 8-of-10 shots against Northwestern State, Elliott has gone 7-of-19, 36.8%. On a positive note, while he is averaging 5.3 rebounds per game, he has collected an average of 6.0 per game in the last three games, and he leads the team with five blocked shots. Also, in the gamer against Pomona, Elliott failed to make a three-pointer for the first time this season.