UCSB Begins Final Road Stretch Wednesday at UC Irvine

Orlando Johnson (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Orlando Johnson (Photo by Tony Mastres)

This Week
Game No. 22
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. 
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at UC Irvine Anteaters
at UCI's Bren Center
Radio: AM 1290 KZSB in Santa Barbara
On-Line Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
On-Line Video: Big West TV 

Game No. 23
Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Utah State Aggies

at Utah State's Smith Spectrum
Radio: AM 1290 KZSB in Santa Barbara
On-Line Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
On-Line Video/Television: ESPN3.com and ESPN Fullcourt

Gauchos Play At UC Irvine Before Traveling To Utah State For BracketBuster Game
Because of Sears BracketBuster weekend, UC Santa Barbara, and most of the Big West for that matter, will play a Wednesday-Saturday schedule this week.  The Gauchos will play at UC Irvine on Wednesday before returning home for a few hours.  They will then turnaround and leave late Thursday for Logan, Utah where they will play at Utah State in a Sears BracketBuster game on Saturday, Feb. 18.   The Gauchos-Aggies tilt has been picked up for ESPN3 and ESPN Fullcourt.  Utah State was a longtime member of the Big West before jumping to the Western Athletic Conference.  The teams also met in a BracketBuster game in 2008 with the Aggies posting a 72-59 victory.  2012 marks the eighth year that UCSB has played in the BracketBuster series.

The Gaucho Record
UCSB is 13-8 overall and 8-3 in the Big West Conference, tied with Cal State Fullerton for second-place.  On Saturday, Feb. 11, the Gauchos came from behind to beat UC Riverside at the Thunderdome, 60-52.  The victory over the Highlanders was the fourth in the last five games for Santa Barbara.       

...And Then There Were Three
Looking back at UCSB basketball schedules throughout the years, few, if any, compare with the 2011-12 schedule.  Not only have the Gauchos played one of their roughest schedules in terms of opponents, they have also had one of the most challenging because of the travel.  After beginning the season with six-straight home games in November, two of which were against nationally ranked teams, UCSB did not play a home game in December.  The Gauchos departed Santa Barbara on Dec. 12 for a game at the University of San Diego and returned home on Dec. 23 after also playing games at Washington, Cal and BYU.  UCSB then opened league play on Jan. 2 at Cal Poly before playing four of five games at home.  After playing Long Beach State at the Thunderdome on Jan. 21, the Gauchos began a stretch that will ultimately see them play seven out of eight games on the road.  The Feb. 11 home game against UC Riverside will have been the only home game over a 34 day period.  While this road has not been as bleak as The Road that Cormac McCarthy envisioned, UCSB will be glad to return home for its final three games of the regular season.

Williams Approaches 700th Game As Head Coach
UCSB head coach Bob Williams has already hit two milestones this year.  On Jan. 2 at Cal Poly, he won the 223rd game of his Gaucho coaching career, breaking Jerry Pimm's previous mark of 222 wins.  On Jan. 12 at UC Riverside, he coached his 400th game at UCSB.  Now, he is approaching one more career signpost.  On Feb. 22 at Long Beach State, Williams will coach the 700th game of his career.

Johnson Becomes Fourth Gaucho Over 1,600 Points, Moves Into Third All-Time
On Feb. 4 at Cal State Fullerton, senior guard Orlando Johnson became the fourth player in UCSB history to score more than 1,600 points.  He also moved past Chris Devine and into third place on the all-time scoring list in that same game.  On Feb. 11 against UC Riverside, he scored 12 points and now has 1,627 in his career.  Johnson enters this week's games needing 70 points to pass Carrick DeHart (1,687 points from 1986-90) and Alex Harris (1,696 points from 2004-08) and become the school's all-time leader.

Probable Starters - Quick Fact
F 0 Jaimé Serna - Averaging 13.4 points per game over the last five games.
G 11 T.J. Taylor - Has best assist to turnover ratio-to-turnover ratio on the team at 2.2-to-1.0.
F 15 Alan Williams - Grabbed six or more rebounds 10 times in the last 11 games.
G 21 James Nunnally - On Feb. 11, became sixth Gaucho over 1,500 points and now has 1,506.
G 33 Orlando Johnson- Needs 70 more points to become UCSB's all-time leading scorer.

Probable Reserves - Quick Fact
G 1   Nate Garth - Has had two or more assists 14 of 21 games.
F 5 Keegan Hornbuckle- Second on team in steals despite ranking ninth in minutes played. 
G 10 Kyle Boswell- Collected a career-high six assists in Feb. 11 win over UC Riverside
F 12 Lewis Thomas - Since playing 16 total minutes over two-game span, has played one in last four.
F 24 Christian Peterson - Played 17 minutes vs. UC Riverside, his highest total since Dec. 16 at UW.
C 55  Greg Somogyi - Equaled his season-low by playing six minutes on Feb. 11 vs. UC Riverside.

The Opponents
The Gauchos and UC Irvine have tangled on the hardwood 76 times since the series between the schools began in 1968.  With its 74-56 win on Jan. 14 in Santa Barbara, UCSB now holds a 46-30 all-time edge.  The Anteaters, however, have given the Gauchos fits at the Bren Center, winning the last two.  Last season, UCI beat UCSB in Irvine, 66-63.  Santa Barbara and Utah State have played 61 times in a series that began in 1971.  The Aggies hold a 39-22 all-time advantage and have won the last six in a row.  The last time the teams met was on Nov. 17, 2008 at the Thunderdome with Utah State posting a 61-59 win.  The teams last met in Logan, Utah in a BracketBusters game on Feb. 22, 2008 and the Aggies won that game as well, 72-59.  UCSB last won in Logan on Jan. 16, 1999, 66-65 in overtime.

UCSB is 5-5 in road games in 2011-12, including 4-2 in Big West games.  After winning at San Diego on Dec. 13, the Gauchos fell in three straight road encounters.  They lost at Washington, Cal and BYU, but then won three straight and four out of five.  UCSB had its three-game road winning streak ended in its last road game, a 99-86 loss at Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 4.  

Gauchos Equal Last Year's Big West Win Total
UCSB defeated UC Riverside on Saturday, Feb. 11, 60-52.  The win over the Highlanders moved the Gauchos' record to 8-3 in Big West play and it equaled their conference win total of 2011.  Last season, Santa Barbara finished fifth in the Big West with an 8-8 record.

What A Difference A Week Makes 
On Feb. 4 at Cal State Fullerton, the Gauchos fell under a barrage of three-point baskets.  The Titans set their own school record by making 17 three-pointers in 26 attempts, 65.4%.  It also tied a UCSB opponent record.  The same night, the Gauchos made a season-best 11-of-18, 61.1%.  Combined, the teams were 28-of-44, 63.6%.  A week later at the Thunderdome, it was a completely different story.  On Saturday, Santa Barbara and UC Riverside put on one of the worst three-point shooting displays in recent memory as they made a combined 4-for-28 from outside the arc, 14.3%.  The Gauchos were particularly bad in the first half, missing all nine attempts.  The teams went a combined 1-for-19 in the first 20 minutes.  UCSB finished the night 3-for-15, making a respectable 3-of-6 in the second half.  Riverside missed all three of its second half attempts and finished 1-for-13 for the game.  The last time the Gauchos gave up one three-point basket was at UC Riverside on Feb. 10, 2011.

Defense Does Matter  
In its last game, UCSB allowed 52 points to UC Riverside, the second fewest points the Gauchos have allowed this season.  On Nov. 11, they gave up 48 points to Chapman.  In 21 games this season, UCSB has allowed fewer than 70 points 12 times, winning each time.  The 12-0 record is in stark contrast to the 1-8 record the team has when allowing 70 or more.  Actually, the only win in those nine was an 85-70 win at Cal State Northridge, so the Gauchos are 13-0 when allowing 70 or fewer points.

That 80s Show
UCSB scored 86 points in its loss at Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 4, equalling its third highest point total this season and marking the eighth time it has scored 80 points or more.  The last time the Gauchos scored 80 or more in eight or more games was in 1989-90 when they achieved the mark 10 times. 

For Starters, Variety Is The Spice Of Life
Through the first nine games this season, UCSB's starting lineup joined death and taxes on the list of things that are automatic.  In those first nine, the Gauchos started Orlando Johnson, James Nunnally, Jaimé Serna, Nate Garth and Christian Peterson.  Beginning with game No. 10 things went off kilter.  If you include game No. 9, which had the original starting five, UCSB has started seven different lineups in the last 13 games.  Over that span, only two lineups have started more than once.  One of those two lineups has started each of the last five games and includes Johnson, Nunnally, Serna, Alan Williams and T.J. Taylor Finally, If you don't include freshman John Green, who broke a bone in his foot in the first regular season game, all 11 Gaucho players have started at least one game this season.  Johnson and Nunnally are the only players on the team to start all 21 games this season. 

UCSB Takes Aim At School Blocks Record
UCSB blocked two shots in their Feb. 11 win over UC Riverside and the Gauchos remain well on their way to breaking the school record for blocked shots in a season.  Through 21 games, UCSB has 117 blocked shots, an average of 5.6 per game, first in the Big West.  The school record was set by last year's Gauchos and stands at 133.  With at least seven games remaining, Santa Barbara would need to average just 2.3 per game to set a new standard.  Senior Greg Somogyi, who ranks second in school history with 170 blocks, leads the way this year with 34.  Somogyi, however, is getting a run for his money from freshman Alan Williams who has 29 swats, including 23 in Big West games.  Orlando Johnson (21) and Jaimé Serna (20) are also in double-figures.  Also, Somogyi, Williams and Serna have each blocked at least five shots in a game this season

Johnson Makes His Points
Orlando Johnson, who was recently named to the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top-25 List, scored 12 points in Saturday night's win over UC Riverside.  A week earlier, at Cal State Fullerton, he had 28, his highest total since we went for 36 against UNLV on Nov. 30.  He leads the team in scoring (19.7 points per game) and assists (3.1 per game).  If he maintains his lead in those two categories, he would become the first Gaucho since 2004-05 to lead the team in scoring and assists.   Johnson has led the Gauchos in scoring in eight of the last 10 games and 14 times this season.  In the game at Fullerton, he tied his season-high with four three-point baskets (in six attempts), had a season-high seven assists and pulled down nine rebounds.  In his previous game, at Cal State Northridge, Johnson scored 25 and attempted a season-high 10 three-pointers.  He also added three blocks and three steals against the Matadors.  Johnson has scored in double-figures 20 times in 21 games and 81 times in 83 games during his career.  He's scored 20 or more 13 times this season and a record 42 times in his career.  The Seaside, Calif., native tallied a season-high 36 points to go along with 10 rebounds, four assists, three steals and a pair of blocked shots in UCSB's double-overtime loss to nationally-ranked UNLV on Nov. 30.  The 36 points were his second highest total ever and the double-double was one of four that he has recorded this season.  In addition to UNLV, he had double-doubles against Washington (24 points and 10 rebounds), Portland (26 points and 12 rebounds) and Westmont College (20 points and 12 rebounds).   The 12 points that Johnson scored in the Gauchos' last game pushed his UCSB career total to 1,627, third all-time.  He needs 70 more to move past Carrick DeHart and Alex Harris and into first in school history.  If the 383 points that Johnson scored as a freshman at Loyola Marymount are factored in, he has now tallied 2,010 in his collegiate career.  Among every thing else, he leads the team in three-point baskets with 41 and now has 153 in his career, ninth in school history.  

The Flying Nunnally
James Nunnally scored 15 points, grabbed six rebounds and had three assists in Saturday's game against UC Riverside.  He had 19 points in the Gauchos' Feb. 4 game at Cal State Fullerton, his highest total since he had 22 on Dec. 22 at BYU.  Nunnally is second on the team in scoring at 15.0 points per game and second in rebounding at 6.0 per game.  He has been in double-figures 20 times in 21 games this season and has scored 20 or more four times, including a season-high 24 on Nov. 15 against Santa Clara.  Also, by scoring 15 in the last game, Nunnally moved past the 1,500 point mark, becoming the sixth UCSB player to do so.  He now has 1,506 points and needs 75 to move into fifth in school history.  He has had five or more rebounds 16 times this season and he collected a season-high nine on Jan. 14 against UC Irvine.  He is also playing the part of playmaker these days, averaging 2.4 assists per game.  He has passed off for two or more 16 times, including the last 14 games in a row.  Finally, he has made two three-point baskets in three straight games for the first time this season and now has 30 on the year.  In his career, Nunnally has 160 three-pointers and ranks eighth on UCSB's career list.  He needs just four more to move into sixth-place all-time. 

A DisSERNAble Difference
Jaimé Serna really helped save the Gauchos bacon on Saturday night against UC Riverside.  While almost everybody else but James Nunnally struggled on the offensive end of the floor, Serna shined, making 7-of-10 shots and scoring a game-high 19 points, including 10 in the last five minutes.  Serna also had a game-high nine rebounds in the victory.  Overall, he is averaging 9.7 points per game, third on the team, but in the last five games he has averaged 13.4 points per game.  In the last weekend of January, he had, arguably, the best regular season weekend of his career.  On Jan. 26 at UC Davis, Serna scored 18 points and did so by making 9-of-10 shots, his best shooting performance as a Gaucho and the best by any UCSB player since Mike Vukovich was a perfect 12-for-12 in a win at Pacific on Feb. 3, 2001.  He also had five rebounds and a blocked shot.  On Jan. 28 at Pacific, he scored 15 points and collected a career-high 12 rebounds for his second double-double of the season.   For his efforts, he was named Big West Player of the Week.  He remains fourth on the team in rebounding at 4.9 per game, but he has averaged 7.2 in the last four games.  He is also fourth in blocks with 20.  By making 24-of-35 shots in the Gauchos' last five games, Serna is now shooting a sparkling 66.4% from the field for the season.  In his career, he has made 308 out of 544 shots, 56.7%, the third highest mark in school history.  Also, he now has 826 career points.  Finally, with 20 blocked shots this season, he has 76 in his career, eighth in school history.

Not The "Other" Williams For Long
Freshman forward Alan "Don't Call Me Bob" Williams had five points in 20 minutes on Saturday against UC Riverside.  The five-point game came on the heels of consecutive double-figure games.  He had a career-high 19 points on Feb. 2 at Cal State Northridge and then 14 on Feb. 4 at Cal State Fullerton.  Williams has started the last 10 games and he has responded in a big way, averaging 9.9 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.2 blocked shots over that span.  He has two double-doubles on the season.  On Jan. 2 at Cal Poly, he came off the bench to scored 13 points and grab 10 rebounds and on Jan. 26 at UC Davis, he had 14 points and 12 boards.  Overall, he has scored in double-figures five times, including four of the last six, and he has had 10 or more rebounds four times, all in the last 11 games. While Williams is averaging a team-leading 6.5 rebounds per game overall, that figure is at 8.6 per game in league games, third in the Big West.  Williams is also averaging 9.9 points per game in league, third on the team.  Despite averaging just 16.1 minutes per game, he has had five or more rebounds in 14 out of his 20 appearances.  Williams had a career-high 13 rebounds, to go along with nine points and four blocked shots, in UCSB's Jan. 14 win over UC Irvine.  In fact, he is the only player on the team with more offensive rebounds (67) than defensive rebounds (61). In the team's Jan. 12 overtime loss at UC Riverside, Williams had nine points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots, tying Greg Somogyi's record for blocks by a freshman.  He repeated the five-block performance on Jan. 26 at UC Davis.  Overall, he now has 29 blocked shots on the season, third on UCSB's all-time freshman list and he is within 10 of Doug Muse's record of 39.  Williams currently has 130 rebounds on the season, sixth most by a freshman in school history.  His field goal percentage of 51.6% would rank eighth on the freshman list.  

Who's The Bos?
Guard Kyle Boswell scored five points and attempted just two shots in Saturday's win over UC Riverside, but he set a new career-high with six assists.  Boswell is averaging 7.1 points per game, fourth on the team.  He's scored 10 or more points five times this season, most recently going for 12 on Jan. 26 at UC Davis.  He scored a career-high 15 on Nov. 18 against Westmont.  In the game at Davis, he also made a career-high four three-point baskets.  In the next game, at Pacific on Jan. 28, he scored eight, including a three-point basket with 29 seconds left to break a tie and push UCSB to victory.   Boswell is second on the team in three-point field goals with 35 and he is tops in three-point percentage at 40.2%.  In the last five games, he has made 11 out of his 22 three-point attempts, 50.0%.  Boswell has made at least two three-point baskets in four of the last five, five of the last seven and 11 times overall.  He has hit at least one three-pointer in 16 straight and 20 times in 21 games.  Finally, in six games since playing a season-low six minutes in a Jan. 14 win over UC Irvine, Boswell has averaged 23.0 minutes per game.

• Tall Tales
While he is averaging 11.8 minutes per game this season, Greg Somogyi has totaled just 41 minutes in the last five games, 8.2 per game.  He equaled his sesaon-low with six minutes in Saturday's game against UC Riverside and, for the second straight game, was scoreless.  Somogyi is averaging 3.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocked shots per game.  The five-game stretch with just 41 minutes played has come immediately on the heels of a Jan. 21 game against Long Beach State in which Somogyi played a season-high 19 minutes, made 5-of-6 shots and scored a season-high 10 points.   The 10-point performance against the 49ers came one game after he had a career-high 10 rebounds in a win over Cal State Northridge.   Somogyi has had four or more rebounds 11 times this season. He has also had at least one blocked shot in 14 games and two or more nine times.  Somogyi recorded six swats on Nov. 26 vs. San Diego State, two shy of his school record.  He has 171 blocks in his career, second all-time.   

• Taylor Made
Freshman T.J. Taylor has started the last five games for UCSB, the first starts of his career.  In the Gauchos' last game, against UC Riverside, he played just 11 minutes and really had issues on the offensive end of the floor.  Taylor was just 1-of-8 from the field, including 0-for-5, the win over the Highlanders.  It was his worst shooting performance of the season.  On the year, Taylor is averaging 3.5 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game.  In the last three games, he has six assists and just one turnover.  On the season, he has 41 assists and a mere 19 turnovers, a 2.2-to-1.0 assist to turnover ratio, best on the team.   Also, despite missing all five of his three-point attempts in the last game, he has 15 on the season, fourth on the team.  Prior to Saturday, Taylor and had made four of his last eight attempts from outside the arc.    

• Buckle-Up
Sophomore Keegan Hornbuckle scored two points and had two rebounds in 12 minutes vs. UC Riverside.  A week earlier, he had six points, on two three-point baskets, in 15 minutes at Cal State Fullerton.  It was the most points Hornbuckle has scored since he started coming off the bench five games ago.  In fact, the six points were just one shy of his combined total of seven in the previous four games.  Hornbuckle is now averaging 4.4 points and 1.9 rebounds per game.  Despite ranking ninth on the team in minutes played, he is second with 18 steals.  He had nine of the steals in a two-game stretch against UC Irvine and Cal State Northridge on Jan. 14 and Jan. 19 respectively.  Hornbuckle has scored in double-figures twice, on Dec. 16 at Washington when he had 11 and on Jan. 14 vs. UC Irvine when he recorded a career-high 14.  When he nailed two three-pointers at Fullerton, it was the second time he has made a pair in one game.  He also did so against Irvine.

• The World According To Garth
Nate Garth played 12 minutes in Saturday's game against UC Riverside.  In the previous game, he logged a season-low four minutes at Cal State Fullerton.  Garth is tied for second on the team in assists at 2.4 per game despite seeing his playing time shrink.  After playing 20 or more minutes in the first eight games of the season, he has not done so in the last 13.  Garth had a season-high six assists on Nov. 22 against Portland and he's had four or more eight times.  He continues to have one of the best assist to turnover ratios on the team at 2.0-to-1.0.