UCSB Carries Four-Game Winning Streak to Loyola Marymount Saturday

UCSB Carries Four-Game Winning Streak to Loyola Marymount Saturday

Nov. 30, 2007

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

Game No. 9
Wednesday, December 5, 2007 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Pepperdine University Waves
at UCSB's Thunderdome

The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara is 6-1 on the season. The Gauchos opened the 2007-08 season by winning two 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 four consecutive wins, defeating Cal Poly Pomona 75-56, San Francisco 74-69, Montana State 76-61 and UNLV 63-60.

Gauchos Off To Their Best Start In A While
UCSB's 6-1 start is the best in a number of years. The last time the Gauchos won six of their first seven games was in 1992-93 when they actually won eight of their first nine. In 2006-07, Santa Barbara was 5-2 after seven games.

UCSB will take a four-game winning streak into its game at Loyola Marymount on Saturday. The Gauchos had three winning streaks of four games in 2006-07, but could never get to five. A win against the Lions would mean the first five-game winning streak since the 2002-03 season.

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. In 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.

UCSB Ranked 18th In Mid-Major Poll
After opening the 2007-08 season ranked 20th in the Collegeinsider.com Mid-Major Poll, the Gauchos dropped to 23rd in the second poll, jumped to 22nd in the third poll and this week they moved to a season-high 18th.

Powell's Last Second Three-Pointer Caps Comeback In 63-60 Win Over UNLV
Sophomore guard James Powell made a fall-away three-pointer with 0.4 seconds to play to cap a stirring second half comeback and lift the Gauchos past visiting UNLV, 63-60. The three-pointer was Powell's fifth of the second half and it helped UCSB overcome a 13-point second half deficit en route to its fourth straight win. In the first half, the Gauchos scored just 16 points, equaling their 10th lowest single half total in school history, and they made just 6-of-29 shots, 20.7%. The second half was a different story as Santa Barbara made 15-of-23 shots overall, 65.2%, and an exceptional 10-of-13 from three-point range, 76.9%, to score 47 points. Powell scored all 15 of his points in the second half, making 5-of-6 shots from beyond the arc. Senior guard Alex Harris scored 16 of his 19 in the final 20 minutes. He made a trio of three-pointers, two in the second half, and he tied for team-high honors with seven rebounds. Junior forward Chris Devine, who also contributed a three-pointer in the second half, had 10 points and seven rebounds in his return after missing a game to attend the funeral of a close friend. UCSB was behind by a game-high 13 points for the final time with 12:19 to play and by eight points with just over five minutes to play. Sophomore guard Justin Joyner, who finished with eight points, also made a pair of threes in the second half to aid the comeback. He also had a team-high four assists. UNLV was led by guards Wink Adams and Curtis Terry who each scored 11 points.

Probable Starters - Notes
G - Justin Joyner - Has had two or more assists in all seven games.
G - Alex Harris - Has led the Gauchos in scoring in all six of his appearances.
G - James Powell - Five three-pointers vs. UNLV were a career-high.
F - Chris Devine - Has scored 10 or more points in all six games in which he has played.
F - Ivan Elliott - Has made at least one three-pointer in six of seven games.

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 on the year, all from three-point range.
G - Paul Roemer - Played at least eight minutes in all seven games.
G - D.J. Posley - Leads the Gauchos with 10 steals and has at least one in five straight.
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 - Played season-high nine minutes in Nov. 24 win over Montana State.
F - Beau Gibb - Has not attempted a shot in last three games, 19 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 146-123 (.543) 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 335-223 (.600) at four-year schools.

The Opposition
UCSB 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 the Gauchos at the Thunderdome by a score of 58-55. In their last meeting in Los Angeles, the Lions ran away with an easy 77-60 win. Santa Barbara and Pepperdine have played 67 times since the series began in 1940. The Waves hold a 35-32 edge, but the Gauchos have won the last two games in the series. Last year, on Nov. 21, UCSB needed double overtime to post an 89-80 win in Malibu. The last time the programs played in Santa Barbara, Dec. 7, 2005, the Gauchos won by a score of 65-56.

The Gauchos On The Road
The bad news is that UCSB has yet to win a true road game this season. The good news is the Gauchos have played just one road game, losing on Nov. 11 at nationally-ranked Stanford, 67-48. UCSB has won a pair of neutral court encounters this season, defeating Northwestern State (92-71) and Harvard (79-61) at the Basketball Travelers Classic, also at Stanford. In 2006-07, the Gauchos recorded their all-time best record in true road games when they went 10-4.

The Gauchos At Home
With wins over UNLV, Montana State, San Francisco and Cal Poly Pomona, UCSB is 4-0 at the Thunderdome this season. The Gauchos are already half way to their home win total of a year ago. In 2006-07, Santa Barbara uncharacteristically struggled at home with an 8-6 record. With the four straight Thunderdome wins to open the 2007-08 season, the Gauchos have now won six straight home games.

Their Better Half
With no question, my wife is my better half. As for the UCSB basketball team, unmarried as it is, the better half is the second half. No question. The Gauchos have put together some outstanding second half runs this season, not the least of which was on Tuesday night when they outscored UNLV 47-34 in the final 20 minutes. In fact, in the last two games, UCSB has averaged 46.5 points in the second half to its opponent's 32.5 points, an average margin of 14.0 points per game. Through seven games, the Gauchos have outscored the opposition by 11 points in the first half of games, a margin of 1.6 points on average, and by 51 points in the second half of games, a margin of 7.3 on average. UCSB has scored 46 points or more in a half four times this season, all in second halves of victories. The highest scoring first half by the Gauchos in 2007-08 was a 40-point first half effort against Northwestern State. They followed that up with a season-high 52-point second half. While UCSB is shooting 44.7% from the field overall, it has made 39.0% of its shots in first halves and 50.5% in second halves. Finally, the Gauchos are shooting 39.4% from three-point range overall, 33.3% in first halves and 46.0% in second halves.

Leading The Second Half Charge
From an individual standpoint guards Alex Harris and James Powell have really led the way in the second halves of the last two games, helping the Gauchos win after being tied at half in one game (Montana State) and trailing by 10 in the other (UNLV). As a team, UCSB scored 93 points in the second halves of the two games with Harris scoring 36 and Powell scoring 28. The duo combined for 64 of the team's 93 second half points in the last two games, 68.9%. Powell, in fact, has scored a total of 30 points in the last two games, 28 in the second halves.

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 seven games in 2007-08, that has changed. Santa Barbara's first seven opponents have turned the ball over 142 times, an average of 20.3 per game. 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 seven opponents have had 21 or more turnovers in a game and none has had fewer than 16, the total that Stanford and UNLV produced. 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. On the other side of the court, UCSB is committing its share of turnovers as well, although not at the same clip as the opposition. The Gauchos have 112 turnovers through seven games, 16.0 per game, an increase of 2.1 per game over 2006-07. Santa Barbara has had 17 or more turnovers four times and 20 or more twice. The Gauchos had a season-high 23 turnovers on Nov. 20 against San Francisco.

After having each of their first four games decided by 18 points or more, things have tightened-up for the Gauchos in two of the last three games. On Nov. 20, UCSB defeated San Francisco by five points, 74-69, the first single-digit margin of victory this season. On Nov. 24, the Gauchos broke open a game that was tied at the half to defeat Montana State, 76-61. On Tuesday, Nov. 27, Santa Barbara played its closest game of the season, a 63-60 win over visiting UNLV.

That `70s Show
UCSB has allowed 70 points or more in a game just one time this season after doing so 13 times in 29 games in 2006-07. Northwestern State scored 71 points in a 92-71 loss to the Gauchos on Nov. 9. On the other hand, Santa Barbara has scored 70 or more points five times, going 5-0 in those games. Tuesday's win over UNLV marked the first time this season that UCSB was able to win a game without scoring at least 70 points.

The Gauchos have been very good from the free throw line this season. Through seven games, UCSB has made 79.0% of its charity attempts while the opposition has made just 63.2%. In fact, the Gauchos have outshot six of seven opponents from the line this season, winning all six times. The only game that saw UCSB make a lower percentage than its opponent was on Nov. 11 at Stanford when the Cardinal hit 24-of-39, 61.5%, and the Gauchos made just 4-of-9, 44.4%. The only other time Santa Barbara shot below 76.0% was on Tuesday against UNLV when it made 9-of-13, 69.2%.

Take Me To Your Leaders
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.

The Harris Poll
Since 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. In Tuesday's win over UNLV, Harris scored a game-high 19 points, including 16 in the second half, to help the Gauchos come back from a 13-point deficit to win 63-60. In his three games since returning, Harris has scored 75 points, 25.0 per game, while making 47.6% overall, 50.0% from three-point range and 83.9% from the free throw line. In last Saturday's win over Montana State, he 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 both figures were achieved in the second half and were new school records for one half. The 29 points were the third highest total of his career. On Tuesday, Nov. 20, Harris' first game back from injury, he made 7-of-12 shots overall, 4-of-7 from three-point range, and scored 27 points. He is now averaging an even 24.0 points per game and has scored 18 or more in all six of his appearances this season. He has scored 24 or more four times and has led the team in scoring each time he has played this season. A Preseason All-Big West and Mid-Major All-America selection, the native of Alameda, Calif., also had a team-high seven rebounds in the win over UNLV and in the previous game, against Montana State, he had a team and season-high eight. Overall, Harris is averaging 4.8 rebounds per game, third on the team. He has also shown a penchant for going to the free throw line this season. While he tied his season-low with two attempts against UNLV, Harris has attempted 58 free throws in six games, 9.7 per game, and he has made 49, 8.2 per game. Finally, with 144 points thus far on the season, Harris has now scored 1,213 in his career and on Tuesday, he passed John Tschogl and Dave Brown to move into 12th-place on the school's all-time list. He needs just 15 more to move into 11th, 23 to move into 10th and 24 to move into ninth.

The Devine File
Junior forward Chris Devine returned to action on Tuesday against UNLV after missing one game to attend the funeral of a close friend. The game he missed was the first of his career after he played in and started his first 63 games. Devine scored 10 points and had a game-high seven rebounds in the win over the Runnin' Rebels. In UCSB's second half rally, he had eight points, including a three-point basket and a critical old-school three-point play. Devine played a season-high 34 minutes in Tuesday's win and he has averaged 33.0 minutes per game in his last two appearances after averaging just 22.0 per game in his first four. Devine ranks second on the team in scoring at 13.5 points per game and he has scored in double-figures in every game in which he has played. He scored a season-high 18 points on Nov. 20 against San Francisco. While he is shooting 54.0% overall, Devine has made 4-of-6 shots form beyond the three-point stripe, 66.7%, and he has made one three-pointer in four straight games, the longest stretch of his career. The Preseason All-Big West Conference choice is now averaging 4.3 rebounds per game, a high-water mark for the year. Since averaging just 1.5 rebounds through the team's first two games, Devine has had 23 in his last four games, an average of 5.7 per game over that span.

A Piece Of The Pajevic (Pronounced Pie-uh-vich)
After a run of three consecutive double-figure scoring performances, senior forward Nedim Pajevic struggled in the team's win over UNLV. Pajevic, a transfer from Weber State, missed all three of his field goal attempts and finished with four points, three rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals. A native of Sarajevo, Bosnia, he has still been better than advertised, averaging 9.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. Also, despite missing his three attempts against the Runnin' Rebels, Pajevic is shooting 52.3% overall and he leads the team at the free throw line at 90.0%, 18-of-20. In addition, he has scored in double-figures five times in seven games, including a season-high 16 points on Nov. 10 against Harvard. UCSB, in fact, is 5-0 when he scores 10 or more. Prior to his four-point outing on Tuesday, Pajevic had scored 10 or more in three consecutive games. On Nov. 20, in a win over San Francisco, he became the first Gaucho player to record a double-double this season as he went for 10 points and 10 rebounds. Finally, Pajevic has become one of Santa Barbara's most dependable passers. He is averaging 2.4 assists per game, but he has had three or more four times and is averaging 3.2 per game in the last four. He had a season-high five assists on Nov. 15 agianst Cal Poly Pomona.

Old Buddy, Old Powell
After struggling with his offense through the first three games of the season, sophomore guard James Powell has had his three best offensive performances of the season in the last four games. In the home opener on Nov. 15 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 Alex Harris who missed the game with an injury. After a one-game offensive respite which saw him score five points in a win over San Francisco, Powell has bounced back with consecutive 15 point games in wins over Montana State and UNLV. After opening the season by averaging 5.7 points per game in the first three games, he has averaged 14.7 per game during the Gauchos' four-game winning streak. On Tuesday against the Runnin' Rebels, he scored all 15 of his points in the pivotal second half as UCSB overcame a 13-point deficit en route to a 63-60 win. In fact, it was Powell's three-pointer with 0.4 seconds left that gave the team the win. He made a career-high five three-pointers in the game. On Nov 20, in a win over Montana State, he scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half as the Gauchos blew open a close game. Overall, Powell is now averaging 10.9 points per game, a figure which is at its sesaon-high. He has taken over the team lead with 14 three-point baskets, an average of 2.0 per game. He has made 12 of his 14 three-pointers in the last four games. While he is shooting 41.2% overall and 40.0% from three-point range, Powell has made 21-of-43 shots overall in his last four games, 48.8%, and 12-of-26 from three-point territory, 46.1%.

Ivan The Good
Senior forward Ivan Elliott has bounced back from a two-point game in the home opener against Cal Poly Pomona, averaging 8.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots per game in the last three Gaucho contests. Overall, Elliott is now averaging 8.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. He is shooting 48.1% from the floor, but since making 8-of-10 and scoring a career-high 17 in the season opener against Northwestern State, he has made just 17-of-42 shots, 40.5%. On the positive side, Elliott has developed into a legitimate three-point shooting threat. After making 5-of-13 shots from beyond the arc in 2006-07, he has made 8-of-15 through seven games, 53.3%. He has made at least one three-point basket in six of seven games and on Nov. 24, in a win over Montana State, he made a career-high three, in four attempts. In Tuesday's game at UNLV, Elliott fouled out for the second time this season.

Justin Joins In
After struggling offensively for a period of five games, sophomore point guard Justin Joyner had one of his best all-around games of the year in the win over UNLV. Joyner made a pair of important three-point baskets during UCSB's game-winning second half rally, and finished with eight points, one short of his season-high of nine points scored on Nov. 10 against Harvard. In addition, the Antioch, Calif., native had four assists and tied his season-high with five rebounds against the Runnin' Rebels. Joyner has now made four three-pointers on the season, but the two he made against UNLV were his first two since he made one in back-to-back games to open the season. The eight points he scored were one more than he scored in four games prior to Tuesday. Joyner leads the Gauchos in assists with 24, 3.4 per game. His assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.5-to-1.0, is the second best on the team. He is, in fact, one of just two regulars with a positive ratio. Finally, Joyner has played 196 minutes, an average of 28.0 per game, second on the team to Alex Harris.

The Supporting Cast
Sophomore guard Paul Roemer played a season-low eight minutes in the win over UNLV...Roemer has played in every game, scoring 19 points, 18 of which were scored in two games...He had a career-high 10 pointts in the season opener against Northwestern State...Junior guard D.J. Posley leads the Gauchos with 10 steals on the year...Posley has had at least one steal in six of seven games and he had a season-high three on Nov. 9 against Northwestern State...Since committing 14 fouls in his first four games, fouling out twice, Posley has committed just two fouls in the last three games, a total of 43 minutes...Freshman forward Sam Phippen scored his first career-points in a Nov. 24 win over Montana State...Phippen has played 16 minutes in four games, including a season-high nine in the game against Montana State...Junior forward Beau Gibb has played in all seven games, but he played a season-low two minutes in the win over UNLV...Since collecting a career-high five rebounds in the opener against Northwestern State, Gibb has totaled six rebounds in six games, a span of 50 minutes.