November 26, 2007

UCSB Renews Old Rivalry, Hosts UNLV at Thunderdome Tuesday Night

Nov. 26, 2007

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The Schedule
Game No. 7
Tuesday, November 27, 2007 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. UNLV Runnin' Rebels
at UCSB's Thunderdome

Game No. 8
Saturday, December 1, 2007 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos Loyola Marymount Lions
at LMU's Gersten Pavilion TV: CSTV

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 5-1 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. The Gauchos have opened the home portion of their schedule with three consecutive wins, defeating Cal Poly Pomona 75-56, San Francisco 74-69 and, on Saturday, Montana State, 76-61.

Devine Returns After Missing Montana State Game
Junior forward Chris Devine, UCSB's second leading scorer at 14.2 points per game, is expected to return to the lineup when then the Gauchos host UNLV on Tuesday night at the Thunderdome. Devine attended the funeral of a good friend and missed Saturday's win over Montana State. Not only was it the first game Devine had ever missed as a Gaucho, but it was the first time in his two-plus seasons he had not been a starter.

Harris Named Big West Player Of The Week
Senior guard Alex Harris was named Big West Player of the Week on Monday. Harris led the Gauchos to wins over San Francisco and Montana State last week. I the two wins, he averaged 28.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. In the win over Montana State on Saturday, Harris scored 29 points, including 20 in the second half, to lead the way. He had 27 in the win over USF.

Gauchos Off To Their Best Start In A While UCSB has started the season with a 5-1 record. Last year, the Gauchos won their first four games before losing back-to-back contests to go 4-2. This year's start is the best since the team went 6-0 to open the 1992-93 season. That year, UCSB started the year with an 8-1 record. Additionally, the three-game winning streak is the Gauchos' longest since they won three in a row to end the regular season last year.

UCSB Ranked 22nd In Mid-Major Poll
After opening the 2007-08 season ranked 20th in the Collegeinsider.com Mid-Major Poll and then dropping to 23rd in the second poll, UCSB has moved up one spot to 22nd in this week's poll.

Harris, Powell Lead Second Half Surge In Win Over Montana State
Alex Harris scored 29 points and James Powell added 15 to lead UC Santa Barbara to a 76-61 men's basketball win over Montana State on Saturday night. The Gauchos led 55-53 with 8:58 to play, but outscored the Bobcats 21-8 the rest of the way to win their third straight game. Powell started the game-ending run with a three-pointer and finished with 13 points in the second half. Harris scored UCSB's first 14 points of the second half, including eight from the free throw line, to help the Gauchos break a 30-30 halftime tie. In all, the senior guard had 20 of his points in the second half and made 15-of-18 free throws, all in the second half. He alsohad a team-high eight rebounds. Divaldo Mbunga had 17 points and nine rebounds for the Bobcats and he gave Montana State its final lead of the game, 29-27, on a lay-up with 42 second to play in the first half. Nedim Pajevic added 11 points and five rebounds, while Ivan Elliott had 11 points and seven rebounds for the Gauchos.

Probable Starters - Notes
G - Justin Joyner - Has had two or more assists in all six games.
G - Alex Harris - The 29 points vs. Montana State was his third-highest total ever.
G - James Powell - After scoring 17 points in first three games, has 44 in last three.
F - Chris Devine - Missed the first game of his career on Saturday night vs. MSU.
F - Ivan Elliott - Made a career-high three three-pointers vs. Montana State.

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 totaled four steals in the last two games.
G - D.J. Posley - Leads the Gauchos with nine steals and has two in each of last two.
G - George Murphy - Has yet to play in a game.
F - Nedim Pajevic - UCSB is 5-0 when he scores in double-figures.
F - Sam Phippen - After playing three minutes in first five, played nine in last game.
F - Beau Gibb - Has not attempted a shot in last two games, 17 total minutes.
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 145-123 (.541) 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 334-223 (.600) at four-year schools.

The Opposition
UCSB and UNLV have played 34 times with the Runnin' Rebels holding a decisive 28-6 all-time advantage. The Gauchos, however, have won two straight and three out of the last five games between the schools. UCSB handed UNLV its only home loss of the 2006-07 season, a 79-76 decision at the Thomas & Mack Center on Nov. 17, 2006. The Rebels finished the year 19-1 at home, 30-7 overall and in the Sweet 16. The teams last met at the Thunderdome on Feb. 10, 1996, with Santa Barbara posting a 65-57 win. The Gauchos and Loyola Marymount have played 79 times in a series that began in 1937. The Lions hold an all-time advantage of 46-33 and they have won the last two games. The last time the teams met, on Nov. 29, 2006, LMU defeated UCSB at the Thunderdome by a score of 58-55.

The Gauchos At Home
With wins over Montana State, San Francisco and Cal Poly Pomona, UCSB is 3-0 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. Dating back to the 2006-07 campaign, UCSB has won five straight Thunderdome games.

Spreading It Around
While only two players (Alex Harris and James Powell) 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 four have done so in blocked shots.

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 limited 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 six games in 2007-08, that has changed. Santa Barbara's first six opponents have turned the ball over 126 times, an average of 21.0 per game. Interestingly, in 2006-07, the highest total of turnovers forced by UCSB was 21, by Pepperdine in a double overtime game. This season, four of the first six opponents have had 21 or more turnovers in a game and none has had fewer than the 16, the total that Stanford produced on Nov. 11. In the season opener, Northwestern State coughed-up 28 turnovers, a season-high. In 2006-07, Gaucho opponents averaged 13.4 turnovers per game and had 16 or more seven times in 29 games and 20 or more just once.

The Turnover Story, Part Deux: A Turnover Turnaround
Prior to Saturday's game against Montana State, it looked as though the Gauchos were trying to keep up with the Joneses, in this case the opposition, when it came to turnovers. UCSB had a season-high 23 turnovers in its Nov. 20 win over San Francisco. It was the second time this season that the Gauchos had 20 or more turnovers and it increased their average on the season to 17.0 per game, a sharp increase from last year's average of 13.9. In Saturday's win over Montana State, however, UCSB seemed to right the ship on the turnover front. After turning the ball over seven times in the first half against the Bobcats, the Gauchos had just three in the second half and finished with a season-low 10, 11 fewer than their opponent, a season-high turnover margin. The 10-turnover performance lowers UCSB's average on the year to 15.8 per game, 5.2 fewer than its opponents.

Rebounds? We Don't Need No Stinking Rebounds!
Baloney. UCSB has won despite having its problems rebounding through six games. In Saturday's win over Montana State, the Gauchos lost the battle of the boards by eight, 38-30. It was the fourth time in six games, and fourth in the last five, that Santa Barbara had fewer rebounds than its opponent. On the year, UCSB is being outrebound by a decisive 4.4 per game margin. The Gauchos have outrebounded just two opponents (Northwestern State by two and Cal Poly Pomona by five). Their largest rebound deficit of 17 came on Nov. 11 at Stanford.

Marginalized
UCSB and its opponents have not played many close games this season. Of the Gauchos six games, five have been decided by 15 points or more with UCSB winning four of those games. The only close game that Santa Barbara has played this season, in terms of final score, was a 74-69 decision over San Francisco on Nov. 20. The Gauchos' only loss this season came at Stanford and it was won by a margin of 19 points. In UCSB's five wins, the total margin of victories has been 78 points, an average of 15.6 points per win. While the smallest margin was the five-point win over USF, the largest margin was 21, in the opener against Northwestern State.

Doubling Up
After one game this season, UCSB had five players averaging in double-figures. After two games, only three players were averaging 10 or more. After three games, it was down to two. As the Gauchos enter this week, they have four players averaging in double-figures for the first legitimate time this season. Alex Harris leads the way at 25.0 per game, while Chris Devine is at 14.2. James Powell and Nedim Pajevic have each scored 61 points in six games, 10.2 per game.

That `70s Show
The Gauchos' magic number this year has been 70. When UCSB scores 70 or more points in a game, it wins. When it scores fewer than 70 points, it loses. Actually, that was pretty easy to pinpoint since it had just 48 points in its loss to nationally-ranked Stanford, but the Gauchos have scored in the 70s four times and in the 90s once, winning all five games.

Freebies
UCSB made a season-high 23 free throws in Saturday's win over Montana State. The Gauchos were 23-of-27, 85.2%. It was the fifth time in six games that they had made at least 76.0% of their free throw attempts and they improved their overall mark to 80.0% on the button. UCSB's lone subpar performance from the line came in its loss at Stanford when it made just 4-of-9, 44.4%.

The Harris Poll
After missing UCSB's home opener against Cal Poly Pomona with an injured right thumb, senior guard Alex Harris hasn't wasted any time returning to form. On Saturday against Montana State, Harris scored a season-high 29 points on 6-of-13 shooting overall, 2-of-5 from three-point range, and 15-of-18 from the free throw line. Both the 15 makes and the 18 attempts were career-highs and the 29 points were the third highest total of his career. On Tuesday, Nov. 20, his first game back from injury, Harris made 7-of-12 shots overall, 4-of-7 from three-point range, and scored 27 points. He is now averaging an even 25.0 points per game. A Preseason All-Big West and Mid-Major All-America selection, the native of Alameda, Calif., also had a season and team-high eight rebounds in Saturday's win over the Bobcats. Harris has scored 24 or more in four of his five appearances this season, the only exception being an 18-point outing at Stanford, and he has led the team in scoring in every game in which he has played. He is now averaging 4.4 rebounds, third on the team. Harris is now making 47.9% of his field goals overall and 38.5% from beyond the three-point arc. He has also shown a penchant for going to the free throw line this season. Harris has attempted 29 free throws in the last two games and, in his five games, he has attempted 56 free throws, 11.2 per game. In fact, with his 47 successful free throws, he is actually averaging 9.4 points per game from the free throw line alone. Finally, with 125 points thus far on the season, Harris has now scored 1,190 in his career, the 14th most in school history. He needs 23 more to move into 12th-place all-time.

The Devine File
Junior forward Chris Devine did not play in Saturday's game against Montana State. He was in Alaska to attend the funeral of a very close friend. It marked the first game in his career that he has missed. Devine scored a season-high 18 points in his last game, a UCSB win over San Francisco. He is now averaging 14.2 points per game, a high for the season, and has eclipsed double-figures in all five games this season. In fact Devine, a Preseason All-Big West Conference choice, has not scored fewer than 13 points in any game this year. Also, since starting the season by making just 3-of-8 shots in a win over Northwestern State, he has made 21-of-35 shots in the last four games, 60.0%. Devine has scored a total of 71 points and has moved past the 800 point mark for his career with 834. 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 24.0 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 twice, including a season-high 32 on Nov. 20 against San Francisco. He has played 22 or fewer three times.

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 10.2 points and he is tied for the team-lead at 5.7 rebounds per game. In Saturday night's win over Montana State, he made his first start of the season and finished with 12 points, five rebounds and a team-high three assists. On Nov. 20, in a win over San Francisco, Pajevic registered the first double-double of his career with 10 points and 10 boards. He has now scored 10 or more points in three straight games and five times in six games this season. The Gauchos are a perfect 5-0 when the native of Sarajevo, Bosnia scores 10 or more points. During the current three-game winning streak, Pajevic has averaged 11.0 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists. He has made 10-of-16 shots from the field, 62.5%, and 12-of-14 from the free throw line, 85.7%. Pajevic also has the best assist-to-turnover ratio on the team with 14 assists and three turnovers a 4.7-to-1.0 ratio.

Old Buddy, Old Powell
After struggling with his offense through the first three games of the season, sophomore guard James Powell has had his two best offensive performances of the season in the last three games. In the home opener against Cal Poly Pomona, Powell scored a career-high 24 points on 8-of-12 shooting overall and 4-of-7 from three-point range. It was a key performance because it came in the absence of an injured Alex Harris. After a one-game offensive respite which saw him score five points in a win over San Francisco, Powell bounced back with 15 points, including 13 in the second half, of UCSB's win over Montana State. He made 6-of-13 shots overall, including 5-of-9 in the second half as the Gauchos blew open a game that was tied at half. Powell is now averaging a season-high 10.2 points per game and his field goal percentage is at a season-best 40.4%. In the last three games, the Pomona, Calif., native has averaged 14.7 points and 2.0 rebounds per game. In the three games, he has made 16-of-32 shots from the field, 50.0%, and 7-of-17 from three-point territory, 41.2%. Powell is ranked second on the team with his nine three-pointers.

Justin Joins In
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 Saturday's win over Montana State, he scored four points, one more than he had scored in the three games prior. In the four games since the Harvard match-up, Joyner has made just 1-of-13 field goal attempts and he has missed all seven of his three-point attempts. Despite his scoring woes, he remains one of the Gauchos' most valuable players on both ends of the court. Joyner leads UCSB in assists with 20, 3.8 per game, and he is among tops in the backcourt with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.5-to-1.0. He has two or more assists in all six games and four or more three times. Finally, although Alex Harris has played one fewer game than him, Joyner is tied with Harris for the team-lead in minutes played with 163. His average of 27.2 minutes per game ranks second on the team.

Ivan The Good
Senior forward Ivan Elliott bounced back from a two-point game in the home opener against Cal Poly Pomona, with eight points, six rebounds, two assists and one blocked shot on Nov. 20 against San Francisco and then, on Saturday against Montana State, he had 11 points, seven rebounds, three blocked shots, two assists and a steal. The 11 point game was Elliott's second double-digit effort of the year and it improved his scoring average to 8.7 points per game, fifth on the team. Also, in the win over the Bobcats, he made a career-high three three-point baskets, in four attempts. On the season, Elliott has now made 7-of-13 shots from outside the three-point arc, 53.8%. In fact, his three-point percentage is better than both his overall field goal percentage (47.8%), and his free throrw percentage (33.3%). Elliott has also pulled even for the team rebounding lead at 5.7 per game. He has averaged 6.5 per game in the last two and the seven he had on Saturday equaled his season-high. Elliott has had five or more rebounds in five consecutive games. He has scored seven or more points five times in six games this season, including a career-high 17 in the season-opening win over Northwestern State. Finally, Elliott leads the team with nine blocked shots and the three he had against Montana State equaled his career and season-high.

Don't Roemer Alone
Sophomore guard Paul Roemer has worked his way into UCSB's regular rotation. Roemer, a walk-on from Concord De La Salle High School, played in spots as a freshman, but this year his role has expanded greatly. After playing 132 minutes in 16 games in 2006-07, an average of 8.3 per game, Roemer has already logged 101 minutes in six games this season, 16.8 per game. He has scored 19 points, 3.2 per game, just six fewer than he scored during his freshman campaign. Actually, Roemer scored 18 of his 19 points in two games this season, going for a career-high 10 on Nov. 9 against Northwestern State, and for eight, his second-highest all-time total, on Nov. 15 against Cal Poly Pomona. He tallied one point on Saturday against Montana State. In addition to his career-high of 10 pints, he had a career-high four assists in the win over Northwestern State and he has had two or more in four of the six games this season, averaging 1.8 per game. Roemer also has five steals this season, including two in each of the last two games.

Strike A Posley
After scoring just five points in the first four games, junior guard D.J. Posley scored a season-high six points in the Nov. 20 win over San Francisco. On Saturday, he tallied two points in the win over Montana State, and since beginning the year by missing nine shots in a row, Posley has hit five of his last 10, 50.0%. Generally considered one of the best defensive players on the team, the Hazel Crest, Ill., native leads the Gauchos with nine steals and he has had two in each of the last two and one or more in five of six games this season. Posley had a career-high three on Nov. 9 against Northwestern State.

No Bee Gee, He
Remember the Bee Gees? The name stood for Brothers Gibb. Anyway, junior forward Beau Gibb has become a key player off the bench for UCSB. Although he has not scored in 17 minutes over the last two games, he continues to play solid defense in his reserve role. Gibb logged 12 minutes against Montana State and is now averaging 10.5 minutes per game. He is also averaging 2.0 points and 1.7 rebounds per game. He tied his UCSB-high with six points on Nov. 15 against Cal Poly Pomona, and his five rebounds on Nov. 9 against Northwestern State was also a personal best.

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