Gauchos Head to Illinois State for World Vision Invitational

Gauchos Head to Illinois State for World Vision Invitational

Nov. 26, 2008

Complete Release in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

• The Schedule
The World Vision Basketball Invitational at Illinois State
Game No. 5
Friday, November 28, 2008 at 6:30 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Winston-Salem State Rams

Game No. 6
Saturday, November 29, 2008 at 6:30 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Nicholls State Colonels

Game No. 5
Sunday, November 30, 2008 at 1:30 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Illinois State Redbirds

Note: All games are played at Illinois State’s Redbird Arena in Normal, Illinois.  
All games are broadcast live in Santa Barbara on KIST 1490-AM.

• This Week
Monday’s loss at San Francisco was the Gauchos’ first road game of the season.  UCSB is in the midst of its longest road run of the season.  After spending Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday morning in The City, UCSB traveled to Normal, Ill., for the World Vision Invitational.  The Gauchos will play three games in three days beginning on Friday and continuing Saturday and Sunday.  They will return to Santa Barbara on Monday, but will hit the road again for a Dec. 4 game at Utah Valley.

• On The Radio
All UC Santa Barbara basketball games are broadcast live in Santa Barbara on KIST 1490-AM. KEYT-TV Sports Director Gerry Fall is in his fifth year as the play-by-play voice of the Gauchos. Former Los Angeles Lakers and UCSB star Don Ford handles the color commentary for the majority of games, home and road. When Ford is not available for road games, Bill Mahoney, yours truly, will handle the task. Steve Wendt, the voice of the UCSB women’s basketball team, will handle the play-by-play for a handful of men’s games this season.

• The Gaucho Record
UCSB will enter the World Vision Invitational with a record of 1-3.  After opening the year with a win over Cal State Los Angeles, the Gauchos have lost games to Utah State, North Carolina, and San Francisco.  The losses to Utah State and San Francisco were by two points and one point respectively.  In 2007-08, UCSB set a school record with 23 wins, finishing 23-9.

• Late Rally Sends San Francisco Past UCSB, 73-72
The University of San Francisco used a 15-0 run late in the game to overcome an 11-point UC Santa Barbara lead, and then held-on for a 73-72 win in San Francisco on Monday night.  The Gauchos, who led most of the game, committed six of their 21 turnovers during the decisive rally that began with just over four minutes left and ended when Dior Lowhorn made a three-pointer from deep in the left corner.  Lowhorn’s three gave the Dons a 69-65 lead with 1:04 left.  He had eight of his 17 points during the late stretch.  UCSB, on the other hand, did not even attempt a field goal over the same period.  The late USF rally spoiled what had been a very good performance by the Gauchos.  Defensively, they had done a nice job on Lowhorn, who came into the game averaging 21 points.  They also saw their two top scorers shake slumps.  Senior forward Chris Devine had a season-high 24 points and eight rebounds.  He made 5-of-8 shots from the field and 14-of-16 free throws.  Junior guard James Powell finished with 22 points, making 7-of-15 shots overall and 6-of-12 from three-point range.  He was particularly hot in the first half when he made 5-of-6 from three-point territory and had 17 points.  As a team, Santa Barbara had its best rebounding game of the season, winning the battle of the boards, 33-23.  Junior Jesse Byrd, returning to the school where he played his first two collegiate seasons, matched Devine with eight rebounds.  Although San Francisco shot 46.0% for the game, the Dons made 11-of-18 three-point attempts, 61.1%.  UCSB hit 47.8% overall and 42.9% from outside the arc.

• Three Game Losing Streak: It’s Been A While
UCSB will enter the World Vision Invitational with a three-game losing streak.  Last year, the Gauchos never lost more than two games in succession, doing so just twice.  The last time they dropped three consecutive games was in February of the 2006-07 season.

• The Bob Williams File
Bob Williams is in his 11th season as head coach at UC Santa Barbara.  In 2007-08, Williams guided the Gauchos to a 23-9 overall record.  The 23 wins were a school record, and UCSB also won its second Big West regular season title with a 12-4 conference record.  Following the campaign, the Gauchos were awarded a bid to the National Invitation Tournament.  It was the third time that a Williams-coached UCSB team advanced to postseason play.  The 2002 Gauchos won the school’s first Big West Tournament title, advancing to the NCAA Tournament, and in 2003, they won the league’s regular season championship and played in the NIT.  Williams has been selected Big West Coach of the Year twice, in 1998-99 and 2002-03.  In 1998-99, he took over a UCSB program that had not recorded a winning season in five years, and after seeing his team lose its first eight games that year - extending a two-season losing streak to 16 straight games - the Gauchos turned things around, winning 15 of their final 20 games and finishing on top in the Big West’s Western Division.  Williams has a UCSB record of 164-134.  He guided the program to eight winning seasons in his first 10 years, and a pair of 20 win seasons.  He has a career record of 100-64 in Big West games.  Prior to his arrival at UCSB, Williams spent eight years at UC Davis and in those eight years, his teams recorded 20 or more wins five times and a 158-76 record.  In Williams’s final season, the Aggies went 31-2, won the NCAA Division II National Championship and he was named NABC Division II Coach of the Year.  Including two seasons at Menlo College, Williams has an overall career record of 353-234 (.601) at four-year schools.

• Possible Starters - Notes
G     1    D.J. Posley - Played career-high 31 minutes and had career-high five rebounds at USF.
G     4     Paul Roemer - Has made four three-point baskets in his last two games.
G     42     James Powell - Scored season-high 22 and had season-high six three-pointers at USF.
F     10    Chris Devine - 24 points at USF gives him 1,202 for career, moving into 13th at UCSB.
F     44    Jesse Byrd - Had career-high eight rebounds at USF.

• Possible Reserves - Notes
F    0     Jaimé Serna - Played 21 minutes in Monday’s game at USF, equaling his personal-high.
G    2     Nick Quick - Has played in two out of the four games.
G    3     Jordan Weiner - 17 of his 19 career field goals are from three-point range.
G    11    Justin Joyner - Injured wrist will force him to redshirt 2008-09 season.
F    15    Sam Phippen - Has scored eight points this year after going for seven in 2007-08.
G    20    Will Brew, Jr. - Made his second three-point basket of the season at USF.
G    21    James Nunnally - Scored game-high 22 points on Nov. 21 against No. 1 North Carolina.
C    55    Greg Somogyi - Has six blocked shots in 28 minutes of action.

• Time Change For Jan. 29 Home Game Against Cal State Northridge
The UCSB-Cal State Northridge Big West Conference game, originally scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 29, has been moved to 8:00 p.m. to accommodate ESPNU, which will televise the game nationally.

• The Opponents
UCSB has never played Winston-Salem State or Nicholls State.  The Gauchos have played Illinois State once, defeating the Redbirds 84-69 on Jan. 5, 1978 in Santa Barbara.

• Joyner Will Redshirt 2008-09 Season
Junior point guard Justin Joyner will miss the 2008-09 season as he rehabilitates his surgically-repaired right wrist.  The Big West-leader in assist-to-turnover ratio and the Gauchos’ leader in assists in 2007-08, Joyner played his entire sophomore season with a broken bone in the right wrist, starting all 32 games.

• Youth Is Served
UCSB has played four freshmen in each of its first four regular season games.  Forward Jaimé Serna, guards Will Brew, Jr., and James Nunnally, and center Greg Somogyi have each played key roles in the first four games.  The last time a Gaucho team played four or more freshmen in a game was in 200-01, when Branduinn Fullove, Jacoby Atako, Nick Jones, Casey Cook, and J.J. Todd each played in several games together.  The difference this year is that all four freshmen are true freshmen.  In 2000-01, Jones and Todd were redshirt freshmen. 

• On The Road Again
Monday’s loss at San Francisco was Santa Barbara’s first road game of the 2008-09 season.  In 2007-08, the road was quite friendly to UCSB.  Last season, the Gauchos posted a 10-5 record in true road games and a 12-6 mark in all games away from home.  Most impressively was their road performance in Big West Conference games.  After losing at UC Irvine in its first league road game, UCSB won its last seven conference road games in succession.  Even more impressively, of the five losses in true road games, four came against teams that advanced to postseason play: North Carolina, Stanford, Mississippi, and Utah State.

• As The World Turns...Over
For about 36 minutes on Monday, it seemed as though UCSB was going to improve on the 21-turnover game it had against No. 1 North Carolina.  Through the first 36, the Gauchos had 15 turnovers, nothing to write home about, but good enough to leave them with an 11-point lead.  However, from the 3:53 mark to the 1:04 mark, they committed six turnovers and attempted no shots.  An 11-point lead had been transformed into a four-point deficit and, ultimately, a 73-72 loss.  Santa Barbara has had 21 turnovers in each of the last two games, and has been over 20 in three out of four.  Overall, the Gauchos have 76 turnovers in their four games, an average of 19.0 per game.  the game against North Carolina.   

• On The Rebound
If there is such a thing after a loss like the one at USF, the bright side for the Gauchos on Monday night was rebounding.  They finished with a 33-23 rebounding edge.  In the previous two games, against Utah State and North Carolina, UCSB had been outrebounded by 23 total rebounds, an average of 11.5 per game.

• Devine Intervention
Senior forward Chris Devine, a preseason mid-major All-American, is averaging 14.8 points and 5.8 rebounds through four games.   Devine had his best offensive game of the year on Monday night at San Francisco when he had 24 points, equaling the fifth highest total of his career.  In the game against Dons, Devine made 5-of-8 field goal attempts and 14-of-16 free throws.  His free throw totals, both makes and attempts, were new career-highs and the field goal shooting performance bumped his field goal percentage back to the 50.0% mark.  In two games prior to Monday, the Eagle River, Alaska native had totals of 18 points and three rebounds while making just 7-of-19 shots from the field, 36.8%.  On Nov. 14, in the season-opener against Cal State Los Angeles, Devine had 17 points and 11 rebounds.  It was the 10th double-double of his career, but the first since his sophomore season in 2006-07.  Devine is, in fact, the only current Gaucho with a double-double.  Also, it was the first time that he had produced double-figures in rebounds since the 2006-07 season.  The 59 points he has scored on the season, gives him 1,202 career points, the 13th highest total in school history.  He needs just 26 to move into 12th, 34 to move into 11th, and 35 to enter the top-10.  Also, with 549 career rebounds, Devine needs 34 more to move into the all-time top-10 in that category.  In his UCSB career, he has now played in 93 of a possible 94 games, missing just one for a non-injury related reason.  All 93 of Devine’s appearances have been starts.

• That’s Jaimé, not Jamie
Freshman forward Jaimé Serna tied a season-high with 21 minutes played against San Francisco.  He had four points, three rebounds and a steal against the Dons.  Last week against No. 1 UNC, Serna scored a season-high six points.  He made both of his field goal attempts and both of his free throw attempts.  Serna is now averaging 4.0 points per game on the season.  He is third on the team in redounding at 3.8 per game and second with three blocked shots.  He had a season-high seven boards in the opener against Cal State Los Angeles and he has yet to miss a free throw attempt, making all four, all in the last two games.

• Old Buddy, Old Powell
Junior guard James Powell had his best game of the young season in Monday’s loss at San Francisco.  After struggling through the first three games, Powell scored a season-high 22 points, making 7-of-15 shots overall and 6-of-12 from three-point range.  He is now leading the Gauchos in scoring at 15.3 points per game.  In the first three games, Powell made just 30.4% of his field goals overall and just 17.4% from three-point range.  The slow start was not unprecedented for the Pomona, Calif., native.  After three games last season, wins over Northwestern State and Harvard, and a loss to Stanford, Powell was averaging 6.0 points per game.  In those three games, he made 7-of-25 shots overall, 28.0%, and 2-for-9, 22.2% from three-point territory.  Despite his early shooting struggles last season, Powell finished the year as the school record holder in three-point field goal percentage at 46.7%, and his 79 total three-point baskets were the second most in school history.  This year, he has been in double-figures three times in four games.  An Honorable Mention All-Big West choice in 2007-08, Powell had a career-high seven rebounds on Nov. 14 against Cal State Los Angeles.  Finally, with 10 three-pointers through three games, he now has 127 in his career, the eighth most in UCSB history.  

• The Word On Byrd
Junior forward Jesse Byrd had his best game as a Gaucho against the No. 1 team in the country, North Carolina.  Byrd, who transferred to UCSB from San Francisco, made 4-of-5 shots from the field, all four of his free throws, for 12 points.  He also had five rebounds.  In his return to USF on Monday, Byrd was scoreless in 23 minutes - he attempted just one shot - but he had a career-high eight rebounds and did an outstanding defensive job on the Dons’ best player, Dior Lowhorn.  Overall, the Oakland native is now averaging 6.0 points and a team-leading 5.8 rebounds per game.  Byrd had five rebounds in each of the first three games before going for eight at San Francisco.  Despite missing his only shot on Monday, Byrd has made 8-of-11 field goal attempts, 72.7% in the last three games.  The 12 points he had against the Tar Heels equalled the all-time best that he recorded against Cal State Fullerton during his freshman season at USF.

• The Flying Nunnally
After scoring a combined eight points and collecting a total of two rebounds in the first two games, freshman swingman James Nunnally broke through in the loss to North Carolina.  Nunnally, playing 26 minutes, had 22 points, seven rebounds, one blocked shot and one steal.  He made 8-of-15 shots overall, and 3-of-4 from three-point range.  The 22 points were the most scored by a Gaucho freshman since Branduinn Fullove had 22 in a game at Boise State on March 3, 2001.  On Monday at USF, Nunnally had four points and a pair of assists in 14 minutes.  He still ranks third on the team in scoring at 8.5 points per game.

• Strike A Posley
Senior guard D.J. Posley had four points and a team-high three assists on Monday at San Francisco.  In addition, after missing the second half against North Carolina because he cramped-up, Posley was able to play a career-high 31 minutes against the Dons, and he also had a career-high five rebounds.  He was off to a pretty good start in the game against the Tar Heels.  While he had missed both of his field goal attempts, he had five assists and a steal in nine minutes before missing the second half.  Posley leads the Gauhos in assists with 16, an average of 4.0 per game.  He has had five assists twice, against Cal State Los Angeles as well as UNC, the second highest total of his career.    

• Roemer Wasn’t Built In A Day
Junior guard Paul Roemer has started to emerge as a legitimate three-point threat.  After making 1-of-3 from beyond the arc in the first two games, he has made 4-for-5 in the last two games, scoring six points in each.  On Monday at San Francisco, Roemer had six points and a pair of rebounds in a career-high 31 minutes.  Last week, against No. 1 UNC, he had six points and a season-high four assists, just one shy of his career-high.  Roemer is averaging 4.3 points and has made 5-of-8 three-point shots.

• Something Is Brewing
Freshman Will Brew, Jr., tied his season-high with five points in the loss at San Francisco.  He also made the second three-point shot of his career.  Brew had three assists in a career-high 20 minutes last week against North Carolina.  He is second on the team in assists with nine and third in steals with four.  Brew had three steals in a narrow loss to Utah State, equaling the highest total by a Gaucho this season.  

• Dunk You Very Much
Freshman center Greg Somogyi has made 5-of-6 shots on the year.  All five of his field goals have come via the slam dunk.  The agile 7-foot-2 Somogyi is averaging 2.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game.  Despite playing just 28 minutes in the first four games, the native of Budapest, Hungary has a team-high six blocked shots.