December 29, 2006

UCSB Hosts High-Flying Cal State Fullerton in Big West Action Saturday at the Thunderdome

Dec. 29, 2006

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -

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The Schedule
Game No. 13
Saturday, December 30, 2006 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Cal State Fullerton Titans
at UCSB's Thunderdome

Game No. 14
Thursday, January 4, 2007 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Long Beach State 49ers
at LBSU's Pyramid

The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara enters Saturday night's game against Cal State Fullerton with an overall record of 9-3 and a Big West mark of 1-0. The Gauchos opened league play on Thursday night with a 73-65 home win over UC Riverside. UCSB bounced-back from an 81-63 loss at the University of San Diego on Dec. 22. The loss to the Toreros ended the Gauchos second four-game winning streak of the season. In all, Santa Barbara has now won five of six games, including three in a row at the Thunderdome. The 9-3 record after 12 games is the program's best since 2001-02 when it also began the year at 9-3.

Gauchos Host Cal State Fullerton In Key Early Showdown
UCSB will host Cal State Fullerton on Saturday night in a key early-season Big West game. The Titans, who won their league-opener on Thursday night by a 99-91 score at Cal Poly, will bring a league-best 10-2 record into the Thunderdome. Fullerton, which has won five consecutive games, leads the Big West in scoring at more than 88.2 points per game. Senior guard Bobby Brown had 28 points in the win over Cal Poly and is now averaging a league-leading 22.3 points per game. He scored a school-record 47 in a win over Bethune Cookman earlier this season.

Harris Scores Career-High, UCSB Overcomes UC Riverside, 73-65
Alex Harris scored a career-high 32 points, including 20 in the second half and Ivan Elliott had his first career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds as UC Santa Barbara opened Big West Conference play with a 73-65 win over visiting UC Riverside Thursday night. Forward Glenn Turner, playing in just his third game since returning from a hernia, also played a decisive role in the victory with eight points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots in just 19 minutes. UCSB jumped out to a 10-0 lead less than three minutes into the game, but UCR responded with a 17-5 run to take a 17-15 lead with 10:28 remaining in the first half. The lead see-sawed for much of the remainder of the game and, in all, there were 16 lead changes. The Gauchos never led by more than eight points after the initial 10-0 outburst. With the score tied at 62-62, UCSB used an 11-3 run to put the game away. Of UCSB's final 11 points, nine were scored at the free throw line and Harris scored seven of those. Santa Barbara made 45.8% of its shots from the field while UCR hit 43.3%. The Gauchos outscored the Highlanders from the free throw line by a whopping 21 points, 23-2. Riverside had three player score in double-figures. Justin Bell finished with 17 pints and a game-high seven assists, Dedrick Bates added 15 points and nine rebounds and Larry Cunningham had 14 points. Chris Devine, UCSB's second-leading scorer on the season, was limited to just seven points on 2-for-7 from the field. James Powell, the third-leading scorer, missed his only field goal attempt and was scoreless for the first time this season. Justin Joyner paced Santa Barbara with five assists. Gauchos and Highlanders each committed just nine turnovers.

Probable Starters - Notes
G - James Powell - Has averaged just 3.8 points per game in the last five.
G - Alex Harris - Scored a career-high 32 in Big West opener against UC Riverside.
G - Justin Joyner - Has had eight points in each of his last two games.
F - Chris Devine - Had season-low two rebounds in 33 minutes vs. UC Riverside.
F - Ivan Elliott - Recorded first double-double of his career vs. UCR, 12 points, 10 rebounds.

Probable Reserves - Notes
G - Cecil Brown - Has averaged 7.8 points per game in the last five games.
G - Paul Roemer - Scored season-best six points on Dec. 22 at San Diego.
G - Trevor Bing - Played just two minutes in win over UC Riverside.
F - Tom Garlepp - Played a season-low two minutes in win over UC Riverside.
F - Emmanuel Bidias a Mouté - Did not play on Thursday night.
F - Beau Gibb - Recorded the first DNP of the season on Thursday night.
F - David Massey - Played in only game and scored only points on Nov. 13 at Montana State.
F - Sam Phippen - Freshman forward will redshirt the 2006-07 season.
F - Glenn Turner - Eight points, nine rebounds, five blocked shots in just 19 minutes vs. UCR.

The Bob Williams File
Bob Williams is in his ninth season as the head coach at UC Santa Barbara. Last year his team overcame a slow start to finish over the .500 mark for the fourth time in five seasons. UCSB was 15-14 overall and 6-8 in the Big West. Prior to the 2004-05 season, when an injury-ravaged Gaucho team finished below .500, Williams had guided the program to three straight winning seasons for the first time since the late 1980s. In 2002-03, Williams' 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 Championship ever and first NCAA Tournament appearance in 12 years. Including this season, Williams' UCSB teams have posted a 132-114 (.537) overall record and an 80-55 (.593) 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 320-214 (.599) at four-year schools.

The Opponents
UCSB and Cal State Fullerton have played 61 times in a series that goes back to 1977. The Gauchos hold a razor-thin edge of 31-30, but the Titans have held the upper-hand recently. Fullerton won both meetings between the schools in 2005-06, defeating the Gauchos at Titan Gym (73-59) and in the Thunderdome (80-76). In fact, Cal State Fullerton has won the last five games in a row, three during the 2004-05 season. The last time the Gauchos posted a win in the series was near the end of the 2003-04 campaign when they won at Fullerton in double overtime, 98-95. UCSB and Long Beach State have played 99 times in a series that began in 1952. The 49ers hold a narrow 50-49 all-time lead, but the Gauchos won both games between the schools in 2005-06. UCSB defeated LBSU at the Thunderdome, 77-74, and at the Pyramid, 81-78. In fact, Santa Barbara has won three consecutive games and five of six between the programs. The three-game streak began in the first round of the Big West Tournament in 2005.

The Gauchos At Home
UCSB is 4-2 at home in 2006-07. The Gauchos defeated San Jose State on Nov. 10 and, after losing consecutive games to San Diego State and Loyola Marymount, they have posted three consecutive wins, defeating Fresno State on Dec. 6 , Vanguard on Dec. 19 and UC Riverside on Dec. 28. UCSB went 9-4 in home games during the 2005-06 season, including 3-4 in Big West games. Since Bob Williams became head coach in 1998-99, Santa Barbara has gone 77-31 in home games.

The Gauchos On The Road
UCSB is 5-1 in road games this season. The Gauchos opened the road portion of their schedule with an 88-56 win at Montana State on Nov. 13. On Nov. 17, they won at UNLV, 79-76 and on Nov. 21 they won at Pepperdine, 89-80 in double overtime. On Dec. 2, they won at Portland, 75-67 and then on Dec. 17, they won at San Francisco, 74-69. In their last road outing, UCSB had its school record-tying six game road winning streak ended at the University of San Diego, 81-63. The 5-0 start was the first 5-0 start in true road games since the 1987-88 campaign when the team jumped out of the gates with the same 5-0 road record. UCSB posted a 5-9 record in true road games in 2005-06 and a 6-10 mark in all non-home games. While the 5-9 doesn't seem like much, it includes an 0-7 start and a 5-2 finish. The Gauchos opened the 2005-06 season with seven straight road losses, extending a two-season streak to nine straight road defeats. However, since the end of that streak, UCSB has gone 9-3 on the road.

Playing The Percentages
After making a season-best 62.5% of its shots in its Dec. 19 win over Vanguard, UCSB has made just 44.1% in its last two games, a Thursday night win over UC Riverside and a loss at at San Diego on Dec. 22. The 42.6% that the Gauchos shot at San Diego was their lowest mark in a road game this season. Still, the Gauchos have made 322-of-659 shots from the field, 48.9%. Since opening the season by making 26-of-66, 39.4%, against San Jose State, UCSB has hit 296-of-593 shots from field, 49.9%. The 62.5% mark against Vanguard on Dec. 19 was the highest single-game field goal percentage since Nov. 24, 2002 when UCSB made 64.3% of its field goal attempts in a win over Centenary. Breaking down the shooting even more, despite shooting a season-low for a road game at San Diego, UCSB has been much better on the road than at home. In home games against San Jose State, San Diego State, Loyola Marymount, Fresno State, Vanguard and UC Riverside, the Gauchos have made 155-of-336 shots, 46.1%. In those six games, they have shot better than 40.0% just three times, including the last two games. They made 50.9% against SDSU, 62.5% against Vanguard and 45.8% against UC Riverside. On the other hand, in six road games, UCSB has gone 167-of-322, 51.9%, and it has shot below 50.0% just two times.

On The Margins
The Gauchos 18-point loss at San Diego on Dec. 22 marked the first time this season that they had dropped a game by a double-figure margin. In fact, it was the first losing margin of more than four points. UCSB's other two losses came by three and four points. The combined margin in three defeats for the Gauchos this season has been 25 points, an average of 8.3 per loss. On the flipside, Santa Barbara's nine wins have come by a combined margin of 128 points, an average of 14.2 points per game. The Gauchos have won three contests this season (Montana State, Fresno State and Vanguard) by 27 or more points. Their largest margin of victory this season was a 32-point thrashing of Montana State and their smallest was a three-point win at UNLV. In all, UCSB is solidly on the plus side of the scoring ledger this season having scored 103 more points than its opponents, a positive average margin of 8.5 points per game.

Free Stuff
Granted, UCSB attempted just five free throws in its Dec. 19 win over Vanguard, but either way they made only three, 60.0%. The 60.0% it shot against Vanguard was the second-lowest mark of the season. The lowest percentage for a game was the 55.6% that the Gauchos made on Dec. 2 at Portland. Those two charity stripe performances have been the exception to the rule this season. UCSB has been very good from the free throw line in 2006-07 and it bounced-back from its Vanguard debacle by making 15-of-19, 78.9%, at San Diego. On Thursday night Santa Barbara essentially won the game at the free throw line, making 23-of-30, 76.7%, as compared to UC Riverside's 2-of-4, 50.0%. It was the 10th time in 12 games that the Gauchos shot better than 70.0% and the seventh time that they have gone over 75.0%. UCSB is now making 77.2% of its free throws this season, a figure that would rank tied for the best in school history...if it holds. The record of 77.2% was set during the 1982-83 season.

That 70's Show
In 2005-06, UCSB scored fewer than 70 points in eight of its first 12 games. This year, the Gauchos have been over the 70 point mark 10 times in 12 games and over 75 six times. In fact, this year's Santa Barbara team has scored more than 80 three times and more than 90 once. Last year, the Gauchos scored 80 points just four times in 29 games. In 2006-07, UCSB is averaging 75.2 points per game, an increase of 8.6 points per game more than last season and a figure that would rank sixth on the school's all-time single-season list.

Junior Partners
In UCSB's November 21 double-overtime victory over Pepperdine, two Gaucho players eclipsed the 25-point mark. Junior forward Chris Devine poured in a career-high 28 points, while junior guard Alex Harris had 27. Prior to Nov. 21, the last time a Santa Barbara duo achieved the feat was at Long Beach State on Feb. 25, 1988, when sophomore forward Mike Doyle scored 31 points and senior guard Brian Shaw scored 26. Three times this season Harris and Devine have scored 20 or more points in the same game, the first time a UCSB duo has pulled that off since 1990-91 when Gary Gray and Lucius Davis did it three times. Finally, through 12 games the Harris-Devine tandem has combined for 452 of the Gauchos' 903 points, 50.1%. They are combining for 37.7 points per game and if they can remain anywhere near that figure, they would easily become the highest scoring duo in school history. Previously, the highest combined average for two players was in 1991-92 when Lucius Davis and Idris Jones combined to score 1,014 points in 29 games, an average of just a tick under 35.0 points per game.

The Harris Poll
Junior guard Alex Harris continues to lead UCSB in scoring at 21.8 points per game. In the Gauchos most recent game, a 73-65 win over UC Riverside to open Big West play, Harris bounced-back from a season-low scoring effort with a career-high 32 points. It was the most points scored by a Gaucho player since Mark Hull went for 32 against Arizona in the first round of the 2002 NCAA Tournament. In the game prior to Thursday night, a loss at San Diego, Harris scored a season-low 10 points. The 32 points he tallied against Riverside were five more points than his previous career-high, a 27-point effort on Nov. 21 at Pepperdine. In the win over the Highlanders, Harris made 8-of-17 shots overall, including 4-of-7 from three-point range. He also had career-highs for free throws with 12 and free throw attempts with 16. Harris has now scored in double-figures in all 12 games this season, by far the longest stretch of his career. He has also scored 20 or more points nine times on the season, including the first seven in a row, the longest streak by a Gaucho since the 1996-97 season and the longest ever to open a season. With a pair of 18-point games to go with his 20-point games, Harris has had the 11 highest scoring games of his career this season. Among other things, he has been extremely consistent this season, making five or more field goals in all 12 games. Just once this year, at San Diego, Harris has gone without a three-point basket. He has made at least one in 11 of 12 games, two or more in 10 games and three or more six times. While he is shooting 53.1% overall, he has made 28-of-52, 54.0%, in the last four games. Harris is also shooting 49.2% from three-point range and he has gone 15-of-27 in the last five games, 55.6%. His 30 threes are a career-high. He has had five or more rebounds in five of the last seven games and six times in his last nine games. He is now averaging 4.6 rebounds per game. Harris has also recorded single-game career-highs in assists (six on two occasions), three-point baskets (five on Nov. 10 against San Jose State), steals (five on Nov. 13 at Montana State), free throws made (12 on Dec. 28 vs. UC Riverside), field goals made (nine on Dec. 2 in Portland) and minutes played (48 on Nov. 21 at Pepperdine). Harris earned his first Big West Player of the Week honor after scoring 25 points in the Gauchos season-opening come-from-behind win over San Jose State.

The Devine File
Junior forward Chris Devine is second on the team in scoring at 15.8 points per game and he leads the team in rebounding at 7.2 per game. On Thursday night, he struggled with just seven points and a season-low two rebounds. Devine made just 2-of-7 shots from the floor against the Highlanders. On Dec. 22 at San Diego, Devine led the Gauchos with 12 points and in the previous game, against Vanguard, he had his third double-double of the season with 22 points and 11 rebounds. He now has seven double-doubles in his career. Devine's other double-double this season came, fittingly, in a double overtime win at Pepperdine on Nov. 21 when he scored a career-high 28 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Despite his shooting struggles on Thursday night, Devine remains the Gauchos' leader with a 54.6% field goal mark. He has been in double-figures in 10 of 12 games and five times in the last six games. He has scored 20 or more four times this season. Devine has had five or more rebounds in 10 of 12 games, but he has totaled just six in the last two games combined. He has also had career-highs this season in steals (Five vs. San Jose State on Nov. 13) and assists (Five at San Francisco on Dec. 17). However, since he had a career-high five assists at USF, he has had a total of one in three games. Devine was named Big West Player of the Week after leading the Gauchos to road wins at Montana State and UNLV. A Second Team All-Big West choice last season, Devine was selected to the league's preseason all-conference team this year.

Old Buddy, Old Powell
Freshman guard James Powell is third on the Gauchos in scoring at 10.2 points per game, but he has hit a major offensive rut in recent games. In the last five games, Powell has made just 4-of-26 shots overall, 15.4%, and 2-of-17 from three-point range, 11.8%. In the last five, he has scored a total of just 19 points, 3.8 per game, and he was scoreless on Thursday night against UC Riverside, missing his only field goal attempt. His current run of five straight games in single-digits has come on the heels of a six game stretch when he scored 12 or more in each game. Still, while Powell has struggled with his shooting and scoring, he has generally been productive in other ways. Despite passing off for a total of one assist in the last two games, he is still second on the team at 2.9 per game. He had a caeer-high six on Dec. 6 against Fresno State. Powell is also averaging 3.2 rebounds per game, including 4.0 per game in the last four. On Dec. 19 against Vanguard, he equaled his career-highs with six rebounds and two steals. He now leads the team in steals with 16 and he has had at least one in the last three games and 10 times in 12 games this season.

Ivan The Good
Junior forward Ivan Elliott has made the most the first five starts of his career. Elliott, who came off the bench in UCSB's first seven regular season games, has started the last five. In the last five games, he has averaged 9.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. Over that span, Elliott has made 22-of-30 shots from the field, 73.3%. In fact, in the last five, he has scored 47 of his 75 points this season. In the most recent four games, he has taken his offensive game to an even higher level, averaging 10.2 points per game and making 19-of-23 shots from the field, 82.6%. On Thursday night against UC Riverside, Elliott produced the first double-double of his career with 12 points and 10 rebounds. The 10 rebounds tied a caeer-high set previously at Pepperdine on Nov. 21. Overall, he is now averaging 6.3 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. He has also emerged as a shot-blocker with 12 on the season, including two or more four times. Elliott had a career-high three swats on Nov. 21 against Pepperdine. His top scoring effort of the season came on Nov. 13 at Montana State when he tallied 14.

Help Cecil! Help!
Senior guard Cecil Brown is rounding his way back to form. After missing both exhibition games and the first five regular season games, Brown has played in each of the last seven games. He is averaging 6.1 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. Since scoring two points in each of his first two games, Brown has averaged 7.8 points per game. He had six on Thursday night against UC Riverside. It twas his fifth straight game with six or more points. He tallied a season-high 11 on Dec. 17 at San Francisco. Brown had a career-high six assists on Dec. 19 against Vanguard and he has had two or more in six of seven appearances this season. He has also pulled-down two rebounds in six of his seven games.

Justin Joins In
In games at San Francisco and at home against Vanguard, freshman guard Justin Joyner suffered from the flu and played just 25 total minutes. In those two games, he scored just five total points, had two rebounds and no assists. In the last two games, a healthier Joyner has been solid. He has scored eight points, the second-highest total of his career, in each of the last two games. In Thursday night's win over UC Riverside, he had eight points, three rebounds and a team-high five assists, his highest total since he had seven on Nov. 17 at UNLV. With the five assists, Joyner has pulled back into a tie with James Powell for the team lead at 2.9 per game. He has averaged 4.0 per game in the last two. He has had three or more assists six times in 12 games. Also, in the win over the Highlanders, Joyner tied his career-high with two three-point baskets. Joyner made 2-of-2 free throw attempts vs. Riverside and has now attempted seven in the last two games after having attempted a total of five in his previous six games. Finally, he has now made just 6-of-31 shots from three-point territory this season, 19.4%. On the other hand, he has made 11 out of his 19 two-point attempts, 57.9%.

A Turn For The Better
Senior forward Glenn Turner played sparingly in his first two games after returning from a hernia. In his third game, he was a major reason the Gauchos won. On Thursday night against UC Riverside, Turner had eight points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots in just 19 minutes. His five blocked shots were one short of his career-high. Turner had six points, six rebounds and three blocked shots in the decisive second half of the win over the Highlanders. In his first two games back, Turner played a total of 15 minutes and had totals of six points, two blocks and two rebounds. With his five blocked shots on Thursday, Turner now has 88 in his career, fourth in school history.

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Oye, Oye, Oye!
After starting the first seven games, sophomore forward Tom Garlepp has come off the bench in the last five. His minutes have diminished in each of the last five, bottoming out at two on Thursday against UC Riverside. For the second straight game, Garlepp was scoreless and is now averaging 4.8 points per game. After averaging 25.6 minutes per game in the first seven, he has averaged just 9.6 per game in the last five. Garlepp scored a season-high 11 points on Dec. 2 at Portland. He had a career-high eight rebounds on Nov. 10 against San Jose State and he had a career-high five assists on Nov. 13 at Montana State. He has also had a career-best three blocked shots twice this season.

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