November 29, 2011

UCSB Welcomes No. 18 UNLV to Thunderdome Wednesday

• The Schedule 
Game No. 6
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. UNLV Runnin' Rebels

at UCSB's Thunderdome
Radio: AM 1290 KZSB in Santa Barbara
On-Line Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
Livestats available on UCSBgauchos.com

Game No. 7
Tuesday, December 13, 2011 at 6:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at the University of San Diego Toreros

at USD's Jenny Craig Pavilion
Radio: AM 1290 KZSB in Santa Barbara
On-Line Audio: UCSBgauchos.com

• Big West +1 Ticket Plan Still Available
The Big West +1 Ticket Plan remains available.  With the Big West +1, fans can purchase tickets for all eight Gaucho Big West games, plus one for either the Nov. 26 showdown against San Diego State or the Nov. 30 game against rival UNLV.  The cost of the plan is just $99.  For more information, or to purchase tickets, please stop by the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, call 805-893-UCSB (8272) or online by clicking here.   

• Pimm Will Become Newest Legend Of The 'Dome  
A banner honoring former UCSB head coach Jerry Pimm as a Legend of the 'Dome will be unveiled at halftime of the Gauchos Nov. 30 game against UNLV.  Pimm, who built UCSB into a top-25 program, experienced many of his greatest moments in wins over the rival Runnin' Rebels.  He will become the fourth men's basketball honoree as he joins three of his greatest Gaucho players - Brian Shaw, Carrick DeHart and Eric McArthur - to earn the honor.  Overall, Coach Pimm is the 10th honoree.  Former women's basketball great Erin Alexander (Brown) will have her banner unfurled on Feb. 4 against Cal Poly.  Tickets for both of the legends games are available by clicking here.  

• UCSB Hosts UNLV, First Ranked Opponent Since 2008
UCSB will host 18th-ranked UNLV at the Thunderdome on Wednesday.  The Runnin' Rebels will be the first nationally-ranked opponent to play at the Thunderdome since Nov. 21, 2008 when top-ranked North Carolina defeated the Gauchos by a score of 84-67.  UNLV moved to 18th in the Associated Press Poll and 20th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll after defeating No. 1 North Carolina on Saturday, 90-80.

• The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara is 4-1 after a 76-75 overtime loss to San Diego State on Saturday.  The Gauchos started the season 4-0 for the first time since the 2009-10 season.  

• Gauchos Now At 13th In Mid-Major Poll
UCSB has moved to 13th in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll.  Gonzaga remains No. 1 and Creighton is at No. 2.  Long Beach State is 10th.

• Williams Remains One Away From Tying Wins Record
Bob Williams is in his 14th season at the helm of the UCSB basketball program and his 23rd overall.  Including wins in four of the first five games this season,  Williams has led his Gauchos to a 221-171 record.  The 221 wins are the second most in school history and he needs just one more to tie the all-time victory leader, Jerry Pimm.  Overall, Williams has a 410-271 record. 

• Probable Starters - Quick Fact
F 0 Jaimé Serna - Foul trouble limited him to 18 minutes vs. SDSU.
G 1  Nate Garth - Has just five turnovers in 116 minutes. 
F 21 James Nunnally - Has eight rebounds in three of the last four games.
F 24 Christian Peterson - Posted career-highs for points (8) and rebounds (7) vs. SDSU.
G 33 Orlando Johnson - Scored 26 points in each of the last two games.

• Probable Reserves - Quick Fact
F 5 Keegan Hornbuckle - Remains sidelined with a sore back but has practiced.
G 10 Kyle Boswell - Played career-high 25 minutes in each of the last four games.
G 11 T.J. Taylor - Drilled a career-high two three-point baskets vs. SDSU.
F 12 Lewis Thomas - Logged a season-low five minutes vs. SDSU.
F 15 Alan Williams - Has 14 rebounds in 24 minutes over the last two games.
F 20 Shawn Moore - Walk-on from Butte College has yet to play.
F 32 John Green - Injury to left foot could sideline him for most, if not all, season.
F 35 Taran Brown - Is expected to redshirt the 2011-12 season.
C 55  Greg Somogyi - Swatted seven shots vs. SDSU, tying his second highest total ever.

• The Gauchos And Rebels
The Gauchos and UNLV have played 37 times in a series that began in 1970.  Las Vegas holds a solid 28-9 advantage all-time, but in the last meeting, on Dec. 15, 2010 in Las Vegas, UCSB won a 68-62 decision.  At the time, UNLV was ranked 22nd in the nation and the win was the Gauchos' first over a ranked opponent since February of 1993 and their first over a ranked opponent on the road since January of 1988. In fact, since the Runnin' Rebels opened the all-time series by going 28-5, UCSB has won four in a row.   

• Dome, Sweet Dome 
UCSB is 4-1 at home this season and while the Gauchos had a relatively modest 9-4 record at home in 2010-11, they have found great success at the Thunderdome over the years.  In the last four seasons-plus, UCSB has gone 45-14 in home games.  In 2009-10, an 11-2 home record equaled the second best single-season home winning percentage in school history at 84.6%.  In Bob Williams' 13-plus seasons in Santa Barbara, the Gauchos have posted a 126-49 home record, 72.0%.  In his last 10 seasons-plus, they have gone 100-33, 75.2%.  

• Getting Defensive 
The Gauchos are limiting their opposition to 62.0 points per game, a decrease of 3.8 points per game from last season.  Also, opponents are making just 37.8% of their field goal attempts, down from 40.7% in 2010-11.  In the season opener, Chapman hit 17 out of 42 shots, 40.5%, but since then, the Gauchos have limited four consecutive opponents to below 40.0% shooting.  On Nov. 15, Santa Clara made just 20-of-61 shots from the field, 32.8%, the lowest figure by an opponent this season.  The last four opponents (San Diego State, Portland and Westmont in addition to Santa Clara) have combined to make 88-of-236 shots, 37.3%.  Last year, Santa Barbara's longest streak of holding teams below 40.0% was also four games in a row and included the year's final regular season game and three games in the Big West Tournament.  Also, since Chapman made 9-of-20 three-point attempts on Nov. 11, UCSB has been in lockdown mode in that category as well.  Overall, through five games, opponents are shooting 28.8% from three-point range but in the last four, they have made 21-of-84, 25.0%.

• And Then There Was One...
The game against UNLV will bring to a close one of the most oddball Novembers in UCSB basketball history.  For the first time since teams have been allowed to play games the second weekend in November, the Gauchos played exclusively home games in the month.  That being said, UCSB is about to embark on another oddball period of its schedule.  The Gauchos will not play a home game in December, playing all four games on the road.  Also, they will do so on the longest single trip in the modern era.  Santa Barbara will leave on Dec. 12 for a Dec. 13 game at San Diego and will remain on the road until Dec. 23.  During the 12-day period, the Gauchos will also play games at Washington (Dec. 16), Cal (Dec. 19) and BYU (Dec. 22).  The Gauchos will then be off until Jan. 2 when they travel to Cal Poly for the Big West opener.  They return home Jan. 5 to host Cal State Fullerton, 35 days after the UNLV game.

• Historically Marginal
UCSB won its first four games by an average margin of 23.5 points per game.  The 14-point margin of victory over Portland on Nov. 22 was the smallest of the four.  The largest Gaucho margin through the first three games was 33 and came in an 89-56 win over Santa Clara.  The four-game run marked the first time since February of 2000 that UCSB has won four in a row by double-digit margins.  Santa Barbara won its first three games by 20 or more points and that was the third time in school history that has occurred.  The last time, in December and January of 1989-90 and the wins were over Boston University (89-68), San Jose State (82-61) and Utah State (91-66).  In December of 1971, the Gauchos won four straight games by 20 more and those victories came against Montana State (80-48), Montana (86-43), Arizona (97-63) and Chicago State (108-56).

• Road Blocking
After blocking 17 shots in its first four games, UCSB had a season-high 11 in its game against San Diego State.  Senior Greg Somogyi had six of the blocks in just 15 minutes of action, two short of his career-high and school record of eight.  Additionally, Orlando Johnson tied his career-high with three blocks.  The 11 total blocks against the Aztecs rank as the sixth most in school history.  The Gaucho record of 14 was set in last year's regular season finale against Cal Poly.

• That's 30 For Every Half
UCSB scored a season-high 52 points in the second half of its Nov. 22 win over Portland.  The Gauchos trailed 35-31 at halftime of the game against Pilots and the 31 points were their lowest scoring half of the season.  Santa Barbara has scored 30 or more points in all 10 halves this season.  The team's longest streak last season was five consecutive halves.

• The Honorable Orlando Johnson
Orlando Johnson has accumulated a laundry list of preseason honors. In early October, he became the first Gaucho ever named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top-50 list.  In November, Johnson earned three more accolades.  He was one of 21 players in the nation named to the Lute Olson Preseason All-America Team, one of 30 candidates announced for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award and was named to the Naismith Player of the Year Preseason Watch List.  As is the case with the Wooden Award, Johnson is the first UCSB player in history to earn his way on to any of the latter three lists.

• Johnson Makes His Points
Orlando Johnson tied a season-high with 26 points in Saturday's loss to San Diego State and now has 1,321 in his career at UCSB.  Three games earlier, in a win over Santa Clara, Johnson moved past Richard Anderson (1978-82) and into 10th on the Gauchos all-time scoring list.  His next target is Scott Fisher (1982-86) who is ninth all-time with 1,351 points.  If the 383 points that Johnson scored as a freshman at Loyola Marymount are factored in, he has now tallied 1,704 in his collegiate career.  Johnson has scored in double-figures in all five games this season and has now done so 66 times in his 67 games at UCSB.  In addition to his scoring exploits, he leads the team in rebounds at 7.2 per game and has notched a pair of double-doubles.  Finally, in Saturday's narrow overtime defeat to San Diego State, Johnson played all 45 minutes.  It was the first time in his career as a Gaucho that he had played an entire game. 

• The Flying Nunnally
Senior James Nunnally has been one of the most dependable scorers in UCSB history since late in his freshman season.  Last year, he averaged 16.3 points per game and teamed with Orlando Johnson to form the most potent scoring combinations in the Big West.  In the season-opener against Chapman, Nunnally scored a game-high 20 points and in doing so, moved past the 1,200 point mark for his career.  In the Nov. 15 win over Santa Clara, he scored a season-high 24 points and on Saturday, despite struggling with his shooting for the first time this season, he had 16 against San Diego State.  Nunnally enters Wednesday night's game with 1,288 points in his career.  He needs 64 to move past Scott Fisher and into the all-time top-10.  Orlando Johnson is a moving target, so we will assume that he'll most likely remain ahead of Nunnally.  When he scored 20 and 24 in the first two games of the season, it marked the first time Nunnally has scored 20 in back-to-back games since mid-February of last season.  He has now scored 20 or more in three out of five games for the first time since December and November of 2010.

• Making A DisSERNAble Difference
When he is on the court, Jaimé Serna makes a more than a discernible difference for UCSB.   Last year at the Big West Tournament, with Serna making the All-Tournament team, the Gauchos won three in a row and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year.  In Saturday's narrow loss to San Diego State, the senior forward picked-up two quick fouls and was forced to the sideline for the rest of the half.  Serna did return, but played just 18 minutes in the overtime game, finishing with five points and one rebound.  In the Gauchos' previous two games,  Serna had his two best games of the year.  On Nov. 22 against Portland, he made all five of his shots from the field and finished with 15 points, the third highest total of his career.  He also tied his career-high with 10 rebounds, posting the second double-double of his career.  In a Nov. 18 win over Westmont, he scored 10 points and collected seven rebounds.  Serna made all four of his field goal attempts against the Warriors and had a streak of 10 straight before missing his first shot against San Diego State.  He has scored in double-figures in three of the last four games.  Finally, despite going 2-for-5 against the Aztecs, Serna leads UCSB with a field goal percentage of 69.6%. 

• Who's The Bos?
Guard Kyle Boswell has played exactly 25 minutes in each of the last four games and has now logged 121 in five games.  Last season, in 21 games, Boswell played 232 minutes.  The added playing time is paying off.  He is third on the team in scoring at 9.8 points per game and he leads the team with 10 three-point baskets.  In fact, Boswell has made 10-of-20 from three-point range, 50.0%.  In his first three games this year, he tied or set new career-highs in points.  After tying his previous mark of 11 in the opener against Chapman, Boswell had 12 vs. Santa Clara and 15 vs. Westmont.  When he scored in double-figures in three straight, he became the only UCSB player other than Orlando Johnson, James Nunnally and Jaimé Serna to achieve the feat in the last two seasons.  

• Williams Makes His Minutes Count 
Freshman forward Alan Williams is making his on-court minutes count for UCSB.  The Phoenix native has logged just 42 minutes this season, an average of 8.4 per game, but he has scored 20 points and collected 25 rebounds in those 42 minutes.  He is averaging 4.0 points and 5.0 rebounds.  In Saturday's loss to San Diego State Williams played a mere 12 minutes but had six rebounds.  In the last three games combined, he has 16 rebounds in just 27 minutes.  In the Gauchos' win Nov. 22 win over Portland, Williams set career-highs with eight points and eight rebounds in just a 12 minutes, also a career-high.  Despite his limited playing time, he has attempted 13 free throws, the fourth highest total on the team.  Finally, Williams had his first two career steals vs. SDSU and he blocked a shot for the third game in a row.

• Somogyi Nears No. 2 On Block List
Senior Greg Somogyi blocked six shots in just 15 minutes in UCSB's loss to San Diego State.  He also had five in UCSB's Nov. 15 win over Santa Clara and now has 147 swats in his career, third all-time.  Somogyi needs just eight to pass Doug Muse and move into second all-time.  Also, it was the 10th time in his career that Somogyi has blocked at least five shots in a game. 

• A Committee Of Two 
The Gauchos are going with a tag-team effort at the point guard position.  Junior Nate Garth, a transfer from New Mexico who redshirted in 2010-11, and freshman T.J. Taylor, have split time at the position.  Garth has started all five games and has played 116 minutes, 23.2 per game.  Taylor has come off the bench in all five games and has played 95 minutes, 19.0 per game.  Both players have made major contributions to wins.  Garth had his best game against Santa Clara when he had season-highs of seven points and five rebounds to go along with five assists.  In the win over Portland, he had a career-high six assists.  Taylor had a career-high five rebounds and added three assists in the win over Portland.  Against Westmont, he finished the game with a season-high eight points as well as two assists.  Taylor had a personal-best six assists in the opener against Chapman.  Combined, the Garth-Taylor tandem has just nine turnovers in 211 minutes and a 3.6-to-1.0 assist-to-turnover ratio.  

• Making Their Points
Through five games in 2011-12, UCSB is averaging 80.6 points per game and has already achieved something that it did not last season.  The Gauchos have scored 70 or more points in all five games.  Last year the longest streak of 70+ games was two in a row.  In fact, prior to scoring 75 in the overtime loss to San Diego State on Saturday, UCSB had a streak of three straight games of 80 or more points for the first time since the final three games of the 1990-91 season when they did so against Utah State (twice) and San Jose State.  Last season, UCSB averaged 67.8 points per game and scored 80 or more just four times.  In fact, while the Gauchos are averaging 80.6 points per game this season, they scored at or over that total just three times in 2010-11, including an overtime win over UC Davis when they totaled a season-high 93.  Santa Barbara's highest single-season scoring average ever was 84.8 in 1969-70.