Dec. 27, 2007
Game No. 13
Saturday, December 29, 2007 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Eastern Washington Eagles
at Eastern Washington's Reese Court
Radio: KTMS 990/1490-AM
Game No. 14
Thursday, January 3, 2008 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Long Beach State 49ers
at UCSB's Thunderdome
Radio: KTMS 990/1490-AM Internet: Bigwest.org
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 Gaucho Record
UCSB enters Saturday's game at Eastern Washington with a 10-2 record. The Gauchos won their first two games of the year, defeating Northwestern State and Harvard at the Basketball Travelers Classic in Palo Alto, then lost at nationally-ranked Stanford. After the loss to the Cardinal, UCSB has put together an eight-game winning streak before losing at top-ranked North Carolina on Dec. 22, 105-70. Six of the wins during the eight-game streak (Cal Poly Pomona, San Francisco, Montana State, UNLV, Pepperdine and Utah Valley) came at home, and two (Loyola Marymount and Ball State) came on the road.
Gauchos Off To Their Best Start In 19 Seasons, Third Best Ever
UCSB's 10-2 start is the program's best in 19 years and the third best in program history. The last time the Gauchos had a better record through 12 games was in 1988-89 when they went 11-1 to open the year. The 1987-88 Gaucho team was also 11-1 after 12 games but lost in the 13th game to go 11-2.
The Streak That Was
UCSB's eight-game winning streak, which was ended at North Carolina on Dec. 22, was the longest that a Gaucho team has put together since Bob Williams became head coach in 1998-99. It was also the longest winning streak since the 1988-89 team opened the year by winning 11 consecutive games and it equaled the second longest streak in school history. Santa Barbara also won eight games in a row in 1971-72, 1960-61 and 1940-41.
Gaucho Streak Halted At No. 1 North Carolina
In its game against UCSB on Saturday, Dec. 22, the top-ranked University of North Carolina basketball team won the opening tip and scored within four seconds. That was pretty indicative of how things went for the Gauchos in Chapel Hill, N.C., as they lost a 105-70 decision to the Tar Heels. All-American forward Tyler Hansbrough scored 21 points, while Marcus Ginyard and Wayne Ellington each added 17, to lead UNC. UCSB, which trailed 52-32 at halftime, was outscored 19-5 to open the second half and the rest was history. Alex Harris and James Powell each made three-three-point baskets and scored 17 points to lead the Gauchos. Nedim Pajevic had his best offensive game since Nov. 24, finishing with 12 points. North Carolina point guard Ty Lawson added 15 points, six assists and four steals. He was also instrumental in dictating the tempo for the Tar Heels. The 35-point margin of defeat was the largest that UCSB had experienced since it lost 101-65 on Jan. 4, 2007, at Long Beach State.
Probable Starters - Notes
G - Justin Joyner - Has 25 assists and seven turnovers in the last five games.
G - Alex Harris - Made 16-of-20 three-point attempts in last four games, 80.0%.
G - James Powell - Has scored in double-figures in seven of the last nine games.
F - Chris Devine - Had season-highs of four steals and three blocked shots at UNC.
F - Ivan Elliott - Made six-of-eight from three-point range in last four games, 75.0%.
Probable Reserves - Notes
G - Nick Quick - Made his second three-pointer of the season at Ball State.
G - Jordan Weiner - Hit 6-of-10 from three-point range in last two games, 60.0%.
G - Paul Roemer - Had season-high three steals at North Carolina.
G - D.J. Posley - Attempted a season-high eight shots at North Carolina.
G - George Murphy - Has yet to play in a game.
F - Nedim Pajevic - Scored 12 points at UNC, highest total since Nov. 24.
F - Sam Phippen - Recorded personal-highs of three points and four rebounds at LMU.
F - Beau Gibb - Has played 100 minutes this season after playing 72 in 2006-07.
F - Peter Jordan - Walk-on freshman has played in two games this season.
F - Spencer Ford - Freshman 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 150-124 (.548) 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 339-224 (.603) at four-year schools.
Gauchos Favored As Big West Play Opens
The game at Eastern Washington will be the final non-conference tune-up as UCSB will open Big West play on Thursday, Jan. 3 when it hosts the defending league champion, Long Beach State. On Oct. 24, the Gauchos were picked to win the Big West regular season title by the coaches and the media at the league's annual Media Day. It marked the first time that Santa Barbara has been chosen to win the title since 2003-04. In the coaches poll, the Gauchos collected four of nine first-place votes to finish with 58 total points, six points more than the second-place pick, Cal Poly. The Mustangs had one first-place vote. Pacific and Cal State Fullerton each totaled 48 points in the poll, but the Tigers were chosen to win the title by three coaches while the Titans had one first-place vote. UC Irvine finished fifth with 42 points. In the media poll, UCSB garnered 13 first-place votes and 152 total points. Cal Poly was once again picked second with two first-place votes and 138 points. Cal State Fullerton was picked third by the media with one first-place vote and 114 points. UC Irvine was fourth and Pacific was chosen fifth. While defending Big West champion Long Beach State was slotted seventh by the media, the 49ers did collect a pair of first-place votes.
UCSB No. 8 In Mid-Major Poll
After opening the 2007-08 season ranked 20th in the Collegeinsider.com Mid-Major Poll, dropping to as low as 23rd and then rising to as high as sixth prior to its loss at North Carolina on Dec. 22, UCSB is now ranked eighth in the poll.
UCSB and Eastern Washington have played five times with the Eagles holding a 3-2 advantage. Last year, EWU won a narrow 71-70 decision on Feb. 17 in Santa Barbara. The Gauchos and Long Beach State have played 101 times in a series that dates back to 1952. The 49ers hold a 52-49 all-time edge, and they won both games during the 2006-07 season. Long Beach battered UCSB on Jan. 4, 2007, at the Pyramid, 101-65, and then edged the Gauchos on Feb. 10 at the Thunderdome, 68-67. Prior to the Jan. 4 game last season, UCSB had won three consecutive games in the series, including two-game sweep in 2005-06 and a Big West Tournament win in 2004-05.
The Gauchos On The Road
The Gauchos are 2-2 in true road games this season. On Dec. 22, they had a two-game road winning streak ended, losing at North Carolina, 105-70. Prior to the game at UNC, UCSB had won consecutive road games, a decisive 79-52 decision at Ball State on Dec. 19, and a 63-56 win at Loyola Marymount on Dec. 1. The Gauchos lost their only other road games this year, 67-48 at Stanford on Nov. 11. Santa Barbara has won a pair of neutral court encounters this season, defeating Northwestern State (92-71) and Harvard (79-61) in the Basketball Travelers Classic, also at Stanford. In 2006-07, the Gauchos recorded an all-time best 10-4 record on the road. Dating to the 2005-06 season, UCSB has gone 16-7 in its last 23 true road games.
The Gauchos At Home
With wins over Utah Valley, Pepperdine, UNLV, Montana State, San Francisco and Cal Poly Pomona, UCSB is 6-0 at the Thunderdome this season. In 2006-07, the Gauchos uncharacteristically struggled at home with an 8-6 record. With the six straight Thunderdome wins to open the 2007-08 season, Santa Barbara has now won eight straight home games dating back to last year.
UCSB has really started to heat-up from three-point territory. Through 12 games, the Gauchos are averaging 8.2 three-pointers per game and are making 44.6%. Recently, however, those numbers are even better. In the last four games, wins over Ball State, Pepperdine and Utah Valley, and a loss at North Carolina, UCSB hit 43 out of 76 three-point attempts, 56.6%. In the last six games, the Gauchos have drained 59-of-114, 51.8%. Four times in the last six games they have made at least 50.0% of their three-point attempts. Through three games this season, Santa Barbara had made 15-of-47 shots from outside the three-point arc, 31.9%, but in the last nine games, the team has hit 84-of-175, 48.0%. Finally, UCSB has been particularly good on its three-point attempts at home, averaging 9.7 per game, making 50.0% or better in four of the six games and nailing 58-of-118 overall, 49.2%.
Turning Over A New Leaf
Probably the most significant statistical turnaround for UCSB this season has been the number of turnovers that it is forcing. In recent years, Gaucho teams have played good defense but they have not forced many turnovers. In other words, the solid defense has not led directly to offense. This year UCSB is forcing a significant number of turnovers. Through 12 games, the Gauchos are forcing 20.3 turnovers per game, an increase of 6.9 per game over the 13.4 per game they forced in 2006-07. Last year, the highest number of turnovers forced by Santa Barbara was 21, in a double-overtime win at Pepperdine. In 2007-08, UCSB has forced 21 or more turnovers six times and 20 or more seven times. No Gaucho opponent has had fewer than 16 miscues in a game, the total that top-ranked North Carolina and nationally-ranked Stanford each produced. The highest total by an opponent this season was the 28 committed on Nov. 9 by Northwestern State. On Dec. 5, Pepperdine had 25 turnovers and on Nov. 15, Cal Poly Pomona had 24. On the other side of the court, the Gauchos are averaging 16.3 turnovers per outing, up from 13.9 per game last season. They had a high of 23 in a Nov. 20 win over San Francisco.
Playing The Margins
Of UCSB's 12 games this season, nine have been decided by double-figures and three by fewer than 10. The Gauchos are outscoring opponents by 7.7 points per game and the only single-digit margins came in wins over UNLV (3 points), San Francisco (5 points) and Loyola Marymount (7 points). The largest victory margin of the season came on Dec. 19 when Santa Barbara defeated Ball State by 27 points, 79-52. Previously, the largest margin was a 92-71 win over Northwestern State on Nov. 9. Both Gaucho losses, at Stanford and at North Carolina, came by double-digit margins.
UCSB has had three Big West Players of the Week this season. Senior Alex Harris has earned the award twice (Nov. 25 and Dec. 10) and sophomore guard James Powell has won it once (Dec. 3). Harris has been named Player of the Week four times in the last two seasons.
Take Me To Your Leaders
While only three players (Alex Harris, James Powell and Chris Devine) 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 six have done so in blocked shots.
The Defense Never Rests
The Gauchos are allowing just 64.7 points per game, a drop of more than two points per game from last year's defensive average of 67.4 per game. UCSB has allowed more than 70 points in a game twice this season, the season opener against Northwestern State when the Demons scored 71, and then in the loss at North Carolina when the Tar Heels scored 105. The Gauchos have allowed fewer than 60 points four times, including three of the last five games. On Dec. 19, the game prior to the encounter against UNC, Ball State scored 52 points, the low by an opponent this season. In the six games prior to North Carolina, opponents averaged 57.8 points per game and during the eight-game winning streak they averaged 59.0 points per game.
That `70s Show
While UCSB has allowed 70 or more points in a game just twice this season, the Gauchos have scored 70 or more eight times, going 7-1 in those games. UCSB has actually scored 74 or more seven times this season, including five times in the first six games and two of the last three. The Gauchos are averaging 72.3 points per game, slightly more than the 71.2 points per game they averaged last year. Their highest scoring effort this year was a 92 point explosion in the opener against Northwestern State, and their lowest scoring effort was a 48 point output on Nov. 11 at Stanford.
Men Of Steal
UCSB is averaging 9.0 steals per game, an increase of 2.8 per game over last season's average of 6.2. Santa Barbara has seven players with at least 10 steals this season after only having six last year. At the current pace, the Gauchos would finish the year with more than 260 steals, a new school record.
The Harris Poll
Senior guard Alex Harris scored 17 points, had four rebounds and two assists on Dec. 22 at North Carolina. The 17 points were a season-low. Harris made 3-of-4 shots from three-point range and has now made 16-of-20 in the last four games, 80.0%. A two-time Big West Player of the Week, Harris has jumped back into the scoring lead in the Big West Conference at 22.8 points per game. His 17 points in the game at top-ranked North Carolina gives him 1,320 career points, eighth on the school's all-time list. He needs 32 points to move into the number seven slot. This season, the Alameda, Calif., native has led or tied for the Gauchos lead in scoring in all 11 of his appearances. He missed one game (Nov. 15 vs. Cal Poly Pomona) with a thumb injury, but he has scored at least 17 points in every other game. Harris will enter Saturday's game at Eastern Washington having scored 21 or more points in four of the last five games, six of his last eight, and eight of 11 this season. He went for a season-high 29 points on Nov. 24 against Montana State, making career-highs of 15 out of 18 free throws in the game, all in the second half. Since the beginning of the 2006-07 season, Harris has scored 862 points in 40 games, an average of 21.6 points per game. He has developed into one of the best three-point shooters in school history. By making 16 out of 20 in the last four games, he is now shooting 54.4% (31-of-57) on the season. In the Dec. 7 win over Utah Valley, Harris made six three-pointers, a career-high. Since opening the year by making 4-of-14 (28.6%) in his first three games, he has hit 27-of-43, 62.8%, in his last eight games. Harris has now made 151 three-pointers in 365 career attempts, 41.4%, the fourth highest percentage in school history. He is averaging 4.0 rebounds per game, fourth on the team, and has had four in each of the last two games. He had a season-high eight rebounds on Nov. 24 against Montana State, and he has had seven twice, on Nov. 27 against UNLV and Nov. 10 against Harvard. Harris was a Preseason All-Big West and Mid-Major All-America selection.
The Devine File
Junior forward Chris Devine had his toughest offensive outing of the season on Dec. 22 at North Carolina. Devine made just 3-of-9 shots overall, missed both of his three-point attempts, and finished with a season-low six points. In the game prior to the UNC game, a road victory over Ball State, he made 9-of-10 shots from the field and scored a season-high 22 points. While Devine struggled offensively against the Tar Heels, he did have season-highs of three blocked shots and four steals. He remains second on the team in scoring at 13.1 points per game and he is also second on the team in rebounding at 5.2 per game. Devine has now scored in double-figures in 10 of his 11 games this season, going for 13 or more seven times. His season-high prior to the game at Ball State was 18 on Nov. 20 against San Francisco, but he then missed the Nov. 24 game against Montana State to attend the funeral of a close friend. In the first four games after his one-game absence, Devine scored 45 points, 11.2 per game. Also, in the four games prior to his 9-for-10 performance against Ball State, he made just 15 out of 38 shots, 39.5%. Devine is now shooting 51.0%, second on the team among regulars. Despite collecting just four rebounds in each of the last two games, he has been a solid rebounder in recent games. Since collecting a total of just three in the first two games of the season, he has averaged 6.0 per game. In the last six games, he has gathered 39 rebounds, 6.5 per game, and he has had at least seven in four of the last six games. Devine had a season-high nine boards on Dec. 1 against Loyola Marymount. In addition to increased rebounds, he has had a recent surge in steals. After collecting just one steal in the first three games, Devine has had 17 in his last eight, 2.1 per game. He has taken over the team-lead in the category and has had at least one in each of the last five games. In addition, he has had two or more in four straight and in six of the last eight games. A Presesaon All-Big West selection, he had a season-high four assists on Dec. 7 against Utah Valley. Finally, Devine is now averaging 27.1 minutes per game, but in the last seven games his playing time has increased. In his first four games this season, the senior from Eagle River, Alaska, averaged 22.2 minutes per outing, playing a high of 31 on Nov. 1 at Stanford, but in his last seven games, he has played 210 total minutes, 30.0 per game, including a high of 34 on Nov. 27 against UNLV.
Old Buddy, Old Powell
Sophomore guard James Powell could muster just 17 total points in his first three games this season, 5.7 per outing. In those first three, he hit just 7-of-25 shots overall, 28.0%, 2-for-9 from three-point range, 22.2%, and 1-for-3 from the free throw line, 33.3%. In the nine games since then, including eight wins, Powell has become one of the Gauchos' primary offensive threats. The Pomona, Calif., native tied for team-high scoring honors with 17 in the Dec. 22 game at North Carolina and he has now scored in double-figures seven times in the last nine games, including a career-high 24 on Nov. 15 against Cal Poly Pomona. He has averaged 13.0 points per game in the last nine, making 40-of-87 shots overall, 46.0%, 22-for-48 from three-point range, 45.8%, and 15-of-19 from the free throw line, 78.9%. Powell is now averaging 11.2 points per game overall, third on the team, and is second on the team in three-point baskets with 24. He has made at least one three-pointer in each of the last nine game and two or more seven times. Powell made a career-high five three-point buckets, all in the second half, in UCSB's 63-60 win over UNLV on Nov. 27. In fact, it was his three-pointer with less than half a second remaining that decided the game. He was named Big West Player of the Week for the effort. Powell is also averaging 3.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. He has averaged 4.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game in the last six games. Finally, he has had six of his 10 steals in the last six games as well.
Justin Joins In
Sophomore point guard Justin Joyner has had his three highest assist totals of the year in the last four games. Although he had just two on Dec. 22 at North Carolina, Joyner had six on Dec. 19 at Ball State, a season-high seven on Dec. 7 against Utah Valley, and six on Dec. 5 against Pepperdine. For the season he is now averaging 4.1 assists per game and has had four or more assists in five of the last six games and eight times in 12 games this season. In the last six games, Joyner has averaged 5.0 assists per outing. In addition to distributing the ball well, the Antioch, Calif., native leads the Gauchos and is second in the Big West in assist-to-turnover ratio. He has 49 assists and just 23 turnovers, a ratio of 2.1-to-1.0. In the last seven games, Joyner has contributed 31 assists and just 10 turnovers, a 3.1-to-1.0 ratio. He has had more assists than turnovers in seven straight games and in nine of 12 this season, only once this season has Joyner had more turnovers than assists, on Nov. 11 at Stanford. When he had his season-high seven assists in the Dec. 7 win over Utah Valley, he also had eight points and a pair of steals. The eight points were one below his season-high of nine, which he had on Nov. 10 against Harvard, but he has not scored in the two games since. Joyner also had eight points on Nov. 27 against UNLV. He is now averaging 3.1 points per game, but 25 of his 37 points came in his three highest scoring games. As a freshman, Joyner led the UCSB in steals with 36, an average of 1.3 per game. This year, he has 11 steals, a figure that ranks fifth on the team. He had a season-high three steals in the game against Pepperdine and then one in the game against Utah Valley. Joyner did not had a steal in either of the last two games.
Ivan The Good
Senior forward Ivan Elliott continues to be one of UCSB's most solid players. In the loss at North Carolina, Elliott had eight points, six rebounds, one assist and one blocked shot. On Dec. 19, in the win over Ball State, he made 4-of-6 shots overall, including 2-for-3 from three-point range, and finished with 10 points. He also had seven rebounds in his 18 minutes. On Dec. 7 against Utah Valley, Elliott played 23 minutes, finishing with 11 points and seven rebounds. He made 4-of-5 shots, including his only three-point attempt, and both of his free throws. Overall, he is now averaging 8.8 points, a team-leading 5.4 rebounds, and a team-high 1.2 blocked shots per game. Elliott has scored 10 or more points five times this season, including four times in the last seven games. He went for a career-high 17 points in the season opener against Northwestern State and then went four games without scoring in double-figures before the current four times in seven games run. Elliott is shooting 51.8% overall, but he is at 56.0% from outside the three-point arc, a figure that ranks first in the Big West. He has made 14 three-pointers this season, more than twice the total he made in 2006-07. Also, after a four-game stretch in which he made just 11 out of 30 field goal attempts, 36.7%, Elliott has made 21-of-37 in the last six, 56.8%. In the last four games, he has made 6-of-8 three-point attempts, 75.0% Finally, while he is averaging 5.4 rebounds per game overall, he has averaged 6.7 per game in the last three.
A Piece Of The Pajevic (Pronounced Pie-uh-vich)
Senior forward Nedim Pajevic equaled his second highest point total of the season when he scored 12 in the Dec. 22 loss at North Carolina. Pajevic made 6-of-12 shots and added three rebounds in his 21 minutes. In his previous five games, a span of 76 minutes, he scored a total of 11 points, 2.2 per game. Pajevic scored a season-high 16 on Nov. 10 against Harvard. He is now averaging 7.0 points per game. Although he had his worst shooting game of the season on Dec. 19 at Ball State, missing all six of his shots and going scoreless, he otherwise had a solid effort. Pajevic had five rebounds, one assist, one blocked shot and a steal in 19 minutes against the Cardinals. The native of Sarajevo, Bosnia, is averaging 4.3 rebounds per game, third on the team, and he has averaged 5.0 per game in the last three. Pajevic is tied for second on the team in assists with 24, an average of 2.0 per game. He has two or more assists seven times in 12 games, including six times in the last nine. Pajevic had a personal-high five assists on Nov. 15 against Cal Poly Pomona. Finally, he has the team's only double-double this season with 10 points and 10 rebounds on Nov. 20 against San Francisco.
In 2006-07, sophomore guard Paul Roemer played 132 minutes in 16 games. This year, Roemer has been a valuable reserve and has already logged 187 minutes, an average of 15.6 per game. He has played at least eight minutes in every game and 15 or more in eight of 12 games. On Dec. 22 at North Carolina, he played 17 minutes, had two points, two rebounds and a season-high three steals. Roemer is averaging 2.4 points, 1.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.1 steals per game. His 13 steals ranks third on the team and he has had at least one in five straight games. Roemer tallied a season and career-high 10 points in the opener against Northwestern State and he had eight on Nov. 15 against Cal Poly Pomona. Of his 29 points, 26 came in four games (Northwestern State, Cal Poly Pomona, Pepperdine, Utah Valley).
Strike A Posley
Junior guard D.J. Posley struggled with his shot on the road trip to Ball State and North Carolina. In the two games, Posley made just 3-of-14 shots, 21.4%, including 1-of-4 from three-point range. He is now averaging 2.8 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game. He is second on the team with 17 steals and has had at least one in 10 straight games and 11 times in 12 overall. He had a season-high three steals twice, on Nov. 9 against Northwestern State and Dec. 5 against Pepperdine. Posley scored a season-high seven points on Dec. 5 against Pepperdine and he has had five or more four times this year, including three times in the last four games. While he did have problems with his shooting in the last two games, he did equal his season-high with four rebounds in the win over Ball State and his two assists at North Carolina also equaled his season-high. Posley attempted eight shots in the loss to the Tar Heels, the most he has attempted in a game this season.