Gauchos Take 6-6 Record Into Friday's Big West Opener At Long Beach State

Gauchos Take 6-6 Record Into Friday's Big West Opener At Long Beach State

Dec. 30, 2008

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• The Schedule
Game No. 13
Friday, January 2, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Long Beach State 49ers
at LBSU's Walter Pyramid
Radio: KIST 1490-AM in Santa Barbara
Game available on Gametracker

Game No. 14
Sunday, January 4, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at UC Riverside Highlanders
at UCR's Student Recreation Center
Radio: KIST 1490-AM in Santa Barbara

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

• The Opponents
UCSB and Long Beach State have played 103 times. The 49ers hold a slight 52-51 all-time edge. Last year, Santa Barbara won at home, 79-64, and in overtime at Long Beach, 70-68. The Gauchos lead their all-time series against UC Riverside by a 19-4 margin. Last season, UCSB won both games between the schools, defeating the Highlanders in Riverside by a 64-53 count, and at the Thunderdome by a score of 73-55. The teams first met in 1955.

• UCSB Opens Big West Play On The Road
UC Santa Barbara will open Big West Conference play with a pair of road games. The Gauchos will open 2009 with a Friday, Jan. 2 game at Long Beach State and then they will travel to UC Riverside for a 2:00 p.m. game on Sunday, Jan. 4. UCSB will return home for a two games on Jan. 8 and Jan. 10 when it hosts UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton respectively. The game against UC Irvine 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.

• The Gaucho Record
UCSB enters Big West play with a 6-6 overall record. The Gauchos got back to the .500 mark on Monday night with a 71-51 home win over Ball State. They are now 3-2 in home games, 1-4 in road games, and 2-0 in neutral court games. In 2007-08, Santa Barbara tied for the Big West's regular season title with a 12-4 record.

• Shorthanded Gauchos Ease Past Ball State In Final Non-Conference Game, 71-51
Despite playing without a two regular starters, UC Santa Barbara parlayed a balanced scoring attack and major contributions from several first-time starters into a decisive 71-51 over visiting Ball State on Monday night. Junior forward Jesse Byrd, sidelined for 4-6 weeks with a knee injury, and senior guard D.J. Posley, who sat out after missing three practices because weather prevented his return to Santa Barbara from Chicago following a Christmas break, each missed the game. The Gauchos, however, received 12 points, six rebounds and three assists from freshman James Nunnally, who started in place of Posley, and nine points, three rebounds, one assist, and four blocked shots from freshman Greg Somogyi, who started in place of Byrd. Another first-time starter, sophomore guard Jordan Weiner, added 11 points, all in the pivotal first half. Somogyi set the tone, scoring the first basket of the game as UCSB jumped out to a 6-0 advantage. Ball State hung around for a while, cutting the lead to 12-11 on a lay-up by Anthony Newell with 10:51 to play in the first half, but the Gauchos closed the half on a 16-2 run to take a 41-23 lead into locker room. In the second half, the teams traded baskets early, and the lead never dropped below 14 points, expanding to as many as 23. Junior guard James Powell, who had struggled in recent games, led the Gauchos with 15 points, making 3-of-6 shots from three-point range. Senior Chris Devine had 12 points and seven rebounds, and freshman Jaimé Serna had four points and seven rebounds. The Cardinals were led by Newell who had 14 points and nine rebounds. As a team, UCSB shot 46.3% overall and 43.8% from three-point range. The Gauchos had just 10 turnovers in the game, their lowest total of the season.

• Byrd And Joyner On Injured List
UCSB junior forward Jesse Byrd, a starter in the first 11 games of the year, injured his left knee in a Dec. 20 game at San Diego State. He will be sidelined for 4-6 weeks and could return some time in February. Byrd, who leads the Gauchos and is second in the Big West in rebounding at 7.6 per game, joined point guard Justin Joyner on the injured list for the Gauchos. Joyner, the team's starting point guard in each of his first two seasons, will redshirt the 2008-09 season as he recovers from a wrist injury that required surgery last spring.

• 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 169-137. 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 358-237 (.603) at four-year schools.

• Possible Starters - Notes
G - 3 - Jordan Weiner - In his first career start, scored 11 points against Ball State.
G - 21 - James Nunnally - Made first career start vs. Ball State and had 12 points, six rebounds, three assists.
G - 42 - James Powell - Had 15 points vs. Ball State, his highest total in eight games.
C - 55 - Greg Somogyi - Made first start vs. Ball State and responded with career-high nine points.
F - 10 - Chris Devine - Needs seven points to become ninth Gaucho to eclipse 1,300 points.

• Possible Reserves - Notes
F - 0 - Jaimé Serna -Tied his career-high with seven rebounds vs. Ball State.
G - 1 - D.J. Posley - Missed Ball State game after travel problems caused his late return from Christmas.
G - 2 - Nick Quick - Has played in eight out of the 12 games. Scored first FG of season vs. Ball State.
G - 4 - Paul Roemer - Has best assist-to-turnover ratio on the team with 30 assists and 21 turnovers.
F - 15 - Sam Phippen - After scoring seven points last year, he has 31 in 12 games this year.
G - 20 - Will Brew, Jr. - After starting four in a row, came off the bench vs. Ball State.
F - 44 - Jesse Byrd - Will miss four to six weeks with left knee injury.

• A Fresh Approach
When UCSB played four freshmen in the season-opener against Cal State Los Angeles, it was the first time that four freshmen had played in the same game for the Gauchos since the 2000-01 season. The four freshmen - guards James Nunnally and Will Brew, Jr., forward Jaimé Serna, and center Greg Somogyi - have each played in all 12 games. On Monday night against Ball State, the foursome had perhaps its greatest impact. Nunnally had 12 points, six rebounds, and three assists. Somogyi had nine points, three rebounds, and four blocked shots. Serna had four points, seven rebounds, and two assists. Brew had two points, two rebounds, and one assists. Combined, they went for 27 points, 18 rebounds, seven assists, and four blocked shots. The rebound total was a high for the group, while the point total was the second-highest they have produced.

• Turnover Turnaround Or Hiccup?
One game after committing a season-high 23 turnovers at San Diego State, UCSB had a season-low in the win over Ball State. The Gauchos had just 10 miscues, including a mere three in the pivotal first half. The 10 turnovers were one fewer than they had on Nov. 30 at Illinois State. On the year, Santa Barbara is now averaging 17.2 turnovers per game. The Gauchos have had 20 or more five times, but just once in the last seven games.

• Playing The Percentages
After making just 6-of-28 three-point attempts in losses, the Gauchos hit 7-of-16, 43.8%, in the win over Ball State. Even more encouraging was the fact that one game after allowing San Diego State to make 53.8% of its shots overall, UCSB held Ball State to 36.5%, the third lowest mark by an opponent this season.

• On The Rebound
UCSB, which is outrebounding its opponents by an average of 2.5 rebounds per game, won the battle of the boards against Ball State by a 37-32 margin. It was the eighth time this season that the Gauchos had more rebounds than their opponents, and it was the seventh time in the last nine games that they have outrebounded their opponent. Santa Barbara won the rebounding battle despite missing its leading rebounder, Jesse Byrd, who is injured.

• Devine Intervention
Since missing a game and a half with a sprained ankle, senior forward Chris Devine has been outstanding offensively. Devine injured his ankle at the end of the first half of a Nov. 30 game at Illinois State, missing the remainder of that game and the subsequent game at Utah Valley. He has scored in double-figures in all four games since returning from the ankle injury. On Monday night, he had 12 points, making 4-of-11 shots from the field, and he added seven rebounds. Overall, Devine is averaging 13.6 points per game, but in the last four he has averaged 15.5 per game. In the game prior to Monday night, at San Diego State, he had 18 points, his second-highest total of the season. He went for a season-high 24 on Nov. 24 at San Francisco. With his recent offensive surge, the native of Eagle River, Alaska now has 1,293 career points, the ninth most in school history. He needs 59 to move past Scott Fisher and into eighth all-time. Devine also has 585 career rebounds and needs just two to move into that all-time top-10. A preseason All-American, he is averaging 5.3 rebounds per game The seven he had on Monday against Ball State were four more than he had in the two previous games combined. He also has a pair of double-doubles on the season - against Cal State Los Angeles (17 points and 11 rebounds) and Winston-Salem State (12 points and 10 rebounds) - giving him 11 in his career.

• Old Buddy, Old Powell
Junior guard James Powell had a bit of a bounce-back game on Monday against Ball State. After scoring a season-low two points in a Dec. 20 loss to San Diego State, and going for just nine in his last two games combined, Powell tallied 15 points against the Cardinals. It was his highest scoring total since he had a season-high 22 on Nov. 24 at San Francisco. While he made just 5-of-14 shots overall, he did connect on 3-of-6 from three-point range. In the two previous games, Powell hit just 1-of-10 from outside the three-point arc. On the year, he continues to lead the Gauchos in three-point baskets with 25 and he is second on the team in scoring at 11.3 points per game. Powell has been in double-figures six times in 12 games this season, including three of the first four games. Over the last eight games, he has scored just 74 points, 9.2 per game. He is shooting 33.3% overall and 31.3% from three-point territory, but in the last eight, he has made only 25 out of 77 shots overall, 32.5%, and 13-of-45 from outside the three-point arc, 28.9%. Powell is averaging 3.0 rebounds, 1.3 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 seven times in 12 games, including five of the last six. Finally, Powell has made 142 career three-pointers, the eighth most in UCSB history.

• A Hungary Hunter Or The Sultan Of Swat
Freshman center Greg Somogyi was one of the benefactors of playing time left behind by the injury to Jesse Byrd. In Monday's win over Ball State, the 7-foot-2 Somogyi made his first career start, and he made the most of it, scoring a career-high nine points, collecting three rebounds, and blocking four shots in a personal-high 23 minutes. The Budapest native entered the game averaging just 10.0 minutes per game and the 23 that he logged were eight more than his previous high. The nine points that Somogyi scored were three better than his previous high and four blocked shots was just one off of his season-best. On the year, he is now averaging 3.8 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.6 blocked shots per game. He is shooting 68.0% from the field, but in the last five games he has hit 9-of-11 from the floor, 81.8%. In a Dec. 20 game at San Diego State, Somogyi blocked five shots in 15 minutes. The five swats were a new UCSB record for a freshman. In the last two games, he has blocked nine shots in 38 minutes and now has 19 on the season, the third most by a freshman in Gaucho history.

• Sam I Am
Sophomore forward Sam Phippen bounced-back from a scoreless game at San Diego State by scoring four points in 12 minutes in Monday's win over Ball State. Phippen is averaging 2.6 points and 1.4 rebounds on the season. He scored a season-high six points on Nov. 17 against Utah State and Dec. 13 against Loyola Marymount. Through 12 games, he has now scored 31 total points, 24 more than he scored all of last season, and he has made 14-of-23 field goal attempts, 60.9%. Finally, after missing all three of his three-point attempts in 2007-08, he has gone 2-for-3 this season, 66.7%.

• Byrd On Hold
Junior forward Jesse Byrd injured his knee in the Dec. 20 game at San Diego State and is expected to be sidelined until at least the second week of February. When he was injured, Byrd was UCSB's leading rebounder at 7.6 per game and he ranked third in scoring at 8.3 per outing. Against San Diego State he had four points and six rebounds. It marked the 11th straight game in which he had at least five rebounds. On Dec. 17 at Weber State he had a double-double, going for 10 points and 14 rebounds. The 14 rebounds were the most by a Gaucho in five seasons. 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 five games prior to his injury, the transfer from San Francisco averaged 10.4 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.

• Yes, Serna
Another benefactor of the minutes left behind due to the injury suffered by Jesse Byrd is freshman forward Jaimé Serna. Serna played 15 minutes in Monday's win over Ball State, finishing with just four points, but tying his career-highs with seven rebounds and two assists. He is now is averaging 4.8 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. The seven rebounds he had against the Cardinals equaled his previous high, set in the season-opener against Cal State Los Angeles. The Laguna Beach, Calif., native has had four or more rebounds six times. He scored a high of eight points in consecutive games at Utah Valley on Dec. 4 and at home against Loyola Marymount on Dec. 13. Finally, Serna is shooting 52.4% from the field and despite making just 2-of-6 against Ball State, he has hit 13 of his last 19 attempts from the floor, 68.4%.

• Strike A Posley
Senior guard D.J. Posley sat out Monday's game against Ball State after missing three straight practices as travel problems prevented him from returning to Santa Barbara from his Chicago-area home where he had spent Christmas. Posley is averaging 6.0 points per game and in his last seven games he has averaged 7.6 per game. On Dec. 20 at San Diego State, he had eight points, giving him eight or more in the last two and five times in the last seven. On Dec. 17 at Weber State, Posley had a career-high 10 points. It was the third time in a six-game span that he had either set or tied a career high. 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. He is also leading the team in steals with 17.

• Something's Brewing
After making four straight starts, freshman guard Will Brew, Jr., came off the bench and played 17 minutes in Monday's win over Ball State. Brew had two points, two rebounds, and one assist in the game. Since scoring a career-high 11 points in his first start on Dec. 4 at Utah Valley, he has totaled just six points in 95 minutes. Brew is averaging 3.1 points per game through the first 12 games, but he averaged 3.9 per game through the first eight and just 1.5 per game in the last four. He has, however, made two out of his last three field goal attempts, one in each of the last two games.

• The Flying Nunnally
Freshman James Nunnally played a season-high 30 minutes in his first start on Monday. Against Ball State, Nunnally responded with 12 points, six rebounds, and three assists. It was his first double-figure scoring effort since he went for a personal-best 22 on Nov. 21 against North Carolina. While he is now averaging 6.5 points per game, he has averaged 10.5 per game in the last two, and he has had nine or more in three of the last four. Nunnally has also improved his field goal percentage to 47.5% and in the last two games, he has made 7-of-12, 58.3%. The six rebounds he had against Ball State were one short of his career-high of seven, also set against North Carolina. He has now had six or more boards three times this season. Finally, Nunnally's three assists tied a personal best, set previously against Loyola Marymount.

• Roemer Wasn't Built In A Day
Junior Paul Roemer has come off the bench in each of the last five games after starting the first seven. He is now averaging 3.9 points per game and is second on the Gauchos in three-point field goal percentage at 43.5% (10-of-23). Roemer has made two three-pointers in four games this season. He also ranks second on the team at 2.5 assists per game, but in the last six contests he has 19, 3.2 per game, and he has had four or more three times. Roemer had a season-high five assists on Nov. 29 against Nicholls and Dec. 13 against Loyola Marymount. He had a career-high five rebounds on Dec. 4 at Utah Valley, and a season-high 11 points on Nov. 28 against Winston-Salem State.

• Jordan Rules
Making his first career start, sophomore guard Jordan Weiner had a season-high 11 points against Ball State. Weiner, in fact, scored all 11 points in the pivotal first half as the Gauchos jumped out to an 18 point lead. The Los Angeles native has now played in 11 of 12 games, averaging 9.7 minutes per game. He played a career-high 24 on Monday against the Cardinals. Weiner leads the Gauchos in three-point percentage at 45.5%. He is 10-for-22 from three-point range on the season and 3-of-5 from two-point range. Finally, he has made four of his last five three-point attempts.