December 19, 2008

Gauchos Wrap-Up Pre-Christmas Schedule Saturday at San Diego State

Dec. 19, 2008

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• The Schedule
Game No. 11
Saturday, December 20, 2008 at 1:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at San Diego State Aztecs
at SDSU's Cox Arena
Radio: KIST 1490-AM in Santa Barbara
TV: The Mtn. - Direct TV channel 616

Game No. 12
Monday, December 29, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Ball State Cardinals
at UCSB's Thunderdome
Radio: KIST 1490-AM in Santa Barbara

• One More On The Road...Then A Brief Return Home
UC Santa Barbara will play its final pre-Christmas game on Saturday, Dec. 20 when it travels to San Diego State for a 1:00 p.m. game. The contest against the Aztecs will be the Gauchos' seventh away from home in the last eight. Of the seven, five will have been true road games and two, at the World Vision Invitational in Normal, Ill., were neutral site games. UCSB will return to the Thunderdome for one final pre-conference game on Dec. 29 when it hosts Ball State at 7:00 p.m. The game against the Cardinals will be a Coke Family Pack Night and for $40.00 fans can get four tickets, four hot dogs, four sodas, and four t-shirts. Tickets for all Gaucho games, can be obtained from the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, by calling 805-893-UCSB, or online by clicking here.

• Gauchos Give
As part of "Gauchos Give," the department's community outreach initiative, the UCSB basketball teams raised money to help provide for needy children from the Santa Barbara, Goleta, and Isla Vista areas. The Gaucho programs provided 52 kids with $100 apiece and players accompanied the kids as they went on shopping sprees at Kmart in Goleta on Dec. 15.

• The Gaucho Record
UCSB enters its final pre-Christmas game with an overall record of 5-5. Considering that Big West play will not begin until January, 5-5 is the only record the Gauchos have. They had their two-game winning streak ended on Wednesday night at Weber State, 70-63. Still, Santa Barbara has won four of its last six games.

• Gaucho Comeback Runs Out Of Gas In 70-63 Loss At Weber State
Weber State withstood a second half UC Santa Barbara rally on Wednesday night, and held on to defeat the cold-shooting Gauchos in Ogden, Utah, 70-63. Wildcat guard Kellen McCoy was fouled by UCSB's Will Brew, Jr., while making an acrobatic scoop shot in the lane with 1:26 to play in the first half. McCoy made the free throw to complete an 11-1 run and give his team its biggest lead of the first half, 37-24. The Gauchos, who shot just 34.5% in the first half, began their rally in the final minute of the half as they scored the last five points. Jesse Byrd rebounded a Sam Phippen miss and was fouled on the follow. He made both free throws to cut the gap to 37-26. On its final possession of the half, Weber State was forced into a shot clock violation and Santa Barbara took advantage. On an in-bounds play under the Gaucho basket, D.J. Posley found Jordan Weiner open deep in the left corner. Weiner made a long three-pointer as the horn sounded to send the game into halftime with the Wildcats leading, 37-29. UCSB continued its charge early in the second half, using a 14-7 run over the first 6:53 to pull within one, 44-43. That's when the rally stalled as the Gauchos, who finished the game shooting 38.6%, missed five straight shots with an opportunity to take their first lead since early in the game. Phippen missed a short jumper on one possession, and on the following possession UCSB missed four shots, all from three-point range by James Powell. Three of the misses followed offensive rebounds, one by Paul Roemer and two by Jesse Byrd. The Wildcats took advantage when McCoy made a three-point basket to make the score 47-43. UCSB climbed to with two on one more occasion but could never come all the way back. Chris Devine, who was saddled with foul trouble and played just eight minutes in the first half, finished with a team-high 17 points. Byrd had 10 points and a career-high 14 rebounds, while Posley had a career-high 10 points. Weber State was led by center Steve Panos who had a career-high 21. Nick Hansen made three three-point baskets and finished with 13, as did Daviin Davis. UCSB was particularly cold from three-point range, making just 3-of-15 shots, 20.0%. Weber State hit 6-for-18 from outside the arc, 33.3%. Both teams struggled with turnovers as the Gauchos had 17 and the Wildcats 19.

• Possible Starters - Notes
G - 1 - D.J. Posley - Scored a career-high 10 points in loss at Weber State.
G - 20 - Will Brew, Jr. - Has started the last three games, his first three career starts.
G - 42 - James Powell - Has at least one three-point basket in each of the 10 games.
F - 10 - Chris Devine - Moved into 9th in school history with 1,263 career points.
F - 44 - Jesse Byrd - Had career-high 14 rebounds in game at Weber State.

• Possible Reserves - Notes
F - 0 - Jaimé Serna - Made 8-of-9 shots in the last three games, 88.9%.
G - 2 - Nick Quick - Has played in six out of the 10 games.
G - 3 - Jordan Weiner - Seven of his nine baskets have come from three-point range.
G - 4 - Paul Roemer - Leads the team in three-point field goal percentage at 50.0% (10-of-20).
F - 15 - Sam Phippen - After scoring seven points last year, he has 27 in 10 games this year.
G - 21 - James Nunnally - Attempted just one field goal in 14 minutes vs. Weber State.
C - 55 - Greg Somogyi - Has now made 13-of-19 shots from the field, 68.4%.

• 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 168-136. 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 357-236 (.601) at four-year schools.

• The Opponents
Saturday's meeting between UC Santa Barbara and San Diego State will be the 80th. The Aztecs hold a 43-36 all-time edge. The last time the teams played, Nov. 25, 2006 at the Thunderdome, SDSU edged UCSB, 76-72. The Gauchos and Ball State have met just one time, on Dec. 19, 2007 at Muncie, Ind. UCSB defeated the Cardinals by a score of 79-52. It was the team's largest margin of victory in the 2007-08 season.

• On The Rebound
Since struggling with their rebounding in games against Utah State and North Carolina, the Gauchos have turned things around. UCSB has outrebounded six of its last seven opponents. For the season, Santa Barbara is outrebounding opponents by a margin of 3.1 per game, but in the last five games the margin is 6.0 per game. The Gauchos top two margins of the season came in consecutive wins at the World Vision Invitational when they outrebounded Winston-Salem State and Nicholls State by 16 and 12 respectively.

• Turnover Progress...Sort Of
Through six games this season, UCSB was averaging 19.3 turnovers per game. In the last four games, the Gauchos have made some positive progress in that area, committing a total of 57 turnovers, 14.2 per game, including a season-low 11 at Illinois State. On the season, they are averaging 17.3 turnovers per game. Santa Barbara did, however, take a step-back in the loss at Weber State, committing 17.

• Frontcourt Sharpshooters
UCSB is shooting 45.2% as a team, but the frontcourt regulars - Chris Devine, Jesse Byrd, Jaimé Serna, Greg Somogyi, and Sam Phippen - have been particularly good. The group of five has made 120 out of 211 field goal attempts, 56.9%.

• Double-Digit Trio
When UCSB had three players - Chris Devine, Jesse Byrd and D.J. Posley - score in double-figures in the game at Weber State, it was a season-first. In eight of the first nine games this season, UCSB had two players score 10 or more points, and once, against Nicholls State, there was just one player in double-figures. When the original box score came out at Weber State, only Devine and Byrd were in double-figures, but one of Posley's baskets was credited to Byrd. When the correction was made, the Gauchos had their first game with more than two players over 10 points in the same game.

• Devine Intervention
In his second game back from an injured ankle, senior forward Chris Devine scored 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting in 25 minutes at Weber State. The 17 points equaled Devine's second-highest total of the season and it improved his team-leading scoring average to 13.3 points per game. In two games since his return, he has made 13-of-25 field goal attempts, 52.0%, and averaged 16.0 points per game. He has led the team in scoring in the last two games, having tallied 15 on Dec. 13 against Loyola Marymount. Devine has scored in double-figures six times in his nine games, including a season-high 24 on Nov. 24 against San Francisco, equaling the fifth-highest total of his career. Despite collecting just one rebound in 25 minutes on Wednesday night, the Eagle River, Alaska native remains second on the team in rebounding at 5.4 per game. Devine, a Collegeinsider.com preseason mid-major All-American, sprained his ankle near the end of the first half of UCSB's Nov. 30 loss at Illinois State. He had nine points and two rebounds in 16 minutes against the Red Birds before the injured ankle forced him to the sidelines. Even with the injury, he was named to the World Vision Invitational All-Tournament Team. In UCSB's first game at the World Vision Invitational, a win over Winston-Salem State, he had 10 rebounds to go along with his 12 points, his second double-double of the season and the 11th of his career. His first double-double this season came in the opener against Cal State Los Angeles when he had 17 points and 10 rebounds. With his 17 points against Weber State, Devine now has 1,263 for his career, the ninth most in school history. In addition, with 576 career rebounds, he needs just 11 to move into the top-10 at UCSB.

• Old Buddy, Old Powell
Junior guard James Powell continues to struggle on the offensive end. While he is averaging 11.8 points per game, second on the team, he had just seven, on 2-of-9 shooting overall and 1-of-7 from three-point range, in the loss at Weber State. In the previous game, a win over Loyola Marymount, Powell had 14 points, his highest total since he went for a season-high 22 at San Francisco on Nov. 24. In the six games since the game against USF, he has averaged 9.5 points per game and made 19-of-58 shots, 32.8%. Over that same span, Powell made just 12-of-36 three-point attempts, 33.3%. Despite his 1-for-7 performance from three-point range in the game at Weber State, the Pomona, Calif., native has made at least one three in each of the first 10 games, the only Gaucho to do so. He has, in fact, made two or more six times and he was a season-best 6-for-12 on Nov. 24 at USF. Powell has scored 10 or more five times in 10 games. Through the first four games, Powell averaged 15.2 points and 15.2 shots per game. In the last six, as mentioned above, he has averaged 9.5 points per game and over the same span he averaged just 9.7 shots per game. Powell is averaging 3.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. He had a career-high seven rebounds on Nov. 14 against Cal State Los Angeles and he has had three or more rebounds six times in 10 games, including the last three.

• Sam I Am
Sophomore forward Sam Phippen had two points in 11 minutes at Weber State on Wednesday night. On Dec. 13, he tied his career-high with six points in a win over Loyola Marymount. On Wednesday against the Wildcats, Phippen made just 1-of-4 field goal attempts, ending an outstanding four-game run. In four previous games, the he made 8-for-10 shots from the floor, 80.0%. Through 10 games, he has now scored 27 total points, 20 more than he scored all of last season, and has made 12-of-20 field goal attempts, 60.0%. Finally, after missing all three of his three-point attempts in 2007-08, he has gone 2-for-3 this season, 66.7%.

• A Hungary Hunter
Freshman center Greg Somogyi had five points, making both of his field goal attempts at Weber State. Somogyi is now averaging 3.4 points per game, a season-high, and 2.6 rebounds. He continues to lead the team with 10 blocked shots, the seventh most by a Gaucho freshman ever. Overall he is shooting 68.4% and in the last three he has gone a perfect 5-for-5. Somogyi had career-highs of six points and six rebounds on Nov. 28 against Winston-Salem State.

• Byrd Is The Word
Junior forward Jesse Byrd's last four games have seen him emerge as an offensive force and a force on the boards. He will enter Saturday's game against San Diego State as UCSB's top rebounder at 7.8 per game. On Wednesday night at Weber State, he had the second double-double of his career, going for 10 points and 14 rebounds. It was Byrd's second double-double of the season, he also had 13 points and 12 rebounds on Dec. 4 at Utah Valley. In the last four games, the transfer from San Francisco has averaged 12.0 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. In addition to taking-over the team-lead in rebounding, Byrd is third on the team in scoring at 8.7 points per game and, despite making 3-of-8 field goal attempts on Wednesday, he leads Gaucho regulars at 58.6% from the field. He has now scored in double-figures four times this season, including three times in the last four games. The fourth instance was a 12-point showing against top-ranked North Carolina. By averaging 10.2 points and 6.8 rebounds per game at the World Vision Invitational, he joined Chris Devine on the All-Tournament Team. Finally, the Oakland native is the only Gaucho to have at least five rebounds in all 10 games and he has had seven or more six times.

• Yes, Serna
Freshman forward Jaimé Serna is averaging 4.9 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. Due to foul trouble, Serna was limited to just 13 minutes on Wednesday night at Weber State. He did make his only field goal attempt and 2-of-3 from the free throw line in the game. On Dec. 13 against Loyola Maryount, he made 4-of-5 field goal attempts and scored a career-high eight points for the second game in a row. On Dec. 4 at Utah Valley, Serna made all three of his field goal attempts and scored eight points in 16 minutes before fouling out. In the last three, Serna has averaged 6.7 points per game while making 8-of-9 shots, 88.9%. He is now shooting 54.5% for the season, a figure which is at its high-point. The Laguna Beach, Calif., native has had four or more rebounds five times, including three of the last five. He had a personal-best seven in the opener on Nov. 14 against Cal State Los Angeles.

• Strike A Posley
Senior guard D.J. Posley is averaging 5.8 points per game and in the last six games he has averaged 7.5 per game. On Wednesday night at Weber State, Posley had a career-high 10 points. It was the third time in the last six games that he has either set or tied a career scoring high. He has had eight or more in four of the last six games. He continues to lead the team in assists at 3.0 per game. On Dec. 13 against Loyola Marymount, Posley tied his season-high with five. It was the third time this season he has had five assists, also doing so on Nov. 14 against Cal State Los Angeles and Nov. 21 against top-ranked North Carolina. Posley scored a career-high nine points in consecutive games against Winston-Salem State and Nicholls State. He is also leading the team in steals with 15 and has had six in the last two games.

• Let's Have A Brew, For Starters
Since a standout offensive performance in his first start as a Gaucho, freshman Will Brew, Jr., has grappled offensively. On Dec. 4 at Utah Valley, his first start, he made 4-of-6 shots overall, including 2-of-3 from three-point range, and had 11 points. In two games since, against Loyola Marymount and at Weber State, Brew has totaled two points, both from the free throw line, and has missed all nine of his field goal attempts, including two from three-point range. He is now averaging 3.3 points per game and shooting 32.4% from the field. On Wednesday, Brew played a season-high 29 minutes. It was the third straight game in which he has played 24 or more.

• Roemer Wasn't Built In A Day
Junior Paul Roemer has come off the bench in each of the last three games after starting the first seven. He is now averaging 4.5 points per game and he leads the Gauchos in three-point field goal percentage at 50.0% (10-of-20). Roemer has, in fact, made two three-pointers in four games and in the last eight, he has hit 9-of-17, 52.9%. Last week against Loyola Marymount, Roemer had one of his best all-around games of the year with seven points, five assists, and two rebounds in just 15 minutes. The five assists tied his career-high, and he made both of his three-point attempts in the game. On Dec. 4 at Utah Valley, the first time this season that he had come off the bench, Roemer had three points, but also set a career-high with five rebounds. He scored his season-high of 11 on Nov. 24 against Winston-Salem State.

• The Flying Nunnally
Freshman James Nunnally was scoreless on Wednesday at Weber State, a first. On Dec. 13 against Loyola Marymount he had nine points and a season-high three assists. It was Nunnally's second-highest point total of the season and the most since he went for a career-high 22 on Nov. 21 against North Carolina. The 22 points he had against UNC were the most scored by a freshman since Branduinn Fullove had 22 at Boise State on Mar. 3, 2001. Despite being blanked in the last game, Nunnally is still fifth on the team in scoring at 5.7 points per game. Finally, he is averaging 9.7 points per game at home and 3.0 per game away from home, and just as striking, 31 of his 46 field goal attempts have come in four home games, an average of 7.7 per game. He is averaging just 2.7 shots in road and neutral court games. In fact, Nunnally has attempted just one shot in his last two games away from the Thunderdome, a span totaling 30 minutes.

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