UCSB Travels to Long Beach State for ESPN2 Showdown Wednesday

Orlando Johnson (Photo by Vince Agapito)
Orlando Johnson (Photo by Vince Agapito)

• This Week
Game No. 24
Wednesday, February 22, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. 
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Long Beach State 49ers

at LBSU's Walter Pyramid
Radio: AM 1290 KZSB in Santa Barbara
On-Line Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
Television: ESPN2

Game No. 25
Saturday, February 25, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. 
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Cal Poly Mustangs

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

• Gauchos Home For Final Three
UCSB will return home for its final three home games.  The Gauchos host Cal Poly on Saturday, Feb. 25, Pacific on Thursday, Mar. 1 and UC Davis on Saturday, Mar. 3.  The game against Davis will be senior night with the five UCSB seniors – Orlando Johnson, James Nunnally, Jaimé Serna, Greg Somogyi and Christian Peterson – being saluted before tip-off.  Tickets are available from the Ticket Office in the ICA Building on campus, by calling 805-893-UCSB (8272) and online by clicking here.

Gauchos Travel To Long Beach State For Final Road Game Of Regular Season
UC Santa Barbara travels to Long Beach State on Wednesday night for its final regular season road game of the 2011-12 season.  The match-up of the two teams that have played in each of the last two Big West Tournament championship games, will be the seventh road game in the last eight overall for UCSB.  While the Gauchos have played 12 road games and 11 home games to this point, since opening the season with six straight at home, they have played 12 of 17 on the road, including all four in December.  When they return home to host Cal Poly on Feb. 25, it will be just their second home game in 35 days.

The Gaucho Record
UCSB is 15-8 overall and 9-3 in the Big West Conference, tied with Cal State Fullerton for second-place.  The Gauchos have won three straight games and six of their last seven.  On Saturday, Feb. 18, in a Sears BracketBuster match-up, they won at Utah State, 72-64.  The loss was just the sixth in 101 home games for the Aggies.  UCSB has now won two straight road games and five of its last six away from home.        

Johnson Named Big West Player Of The Week
Senior guard Orlando Johnson was named Big West Player of the Week on Monday.  It was the sixth time that Johnson has earned the honor, tying him with Long Beach State's Casper Ware and Larry Anderson for third on the all-time list.  Johnson made 9-of-11 shots overall, including both three-point attempts, had 25 points, 10 rebound and four assists in a win over UC Irvine.  On Saturday at Utah State, he had 22 points and five rebounds, making 7-of-12 shots overall and 4-of-7 from three-point territory.  The four three-point baskets were a season-high for Johnson.

Williams Coaches 700th Game Wednesday
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 Wednesday at Long Beach State, Williams will coach the 700th game of his career.

Johnson Becomes Fourth Gaucho Over 1,600 Points, Closes In On Scoring Record
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. 18 at Utah State, he scored 22 points and now has 1,674 in his career.  Johnson enters Wednesday's game at Long Beach needing 23 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 - Shooting 83.3% from the free throw line in road games.
G 11 T.J. Taylor - Has 10 assists and two turnovers in the last five games.
F 15 Alan Williams - Grabbed six or more rebounds 10 times in the last 13 games.
G 21 James Nunnally - Had first double-double of season with 24 points, 11 rebounds at Utah State.
G 33 Orlando Johnson- Needs 23 more points to become UCSB's all-time leading scorer.

Probable Reserves - Quick Fact
G 1   Nate Garth - Has had three or more assists 10 times this season and Gauchos have gone 9-1.
F 5 Keegan Hornbuckle- Second on team in steals despite ranking ninth in minutes played. 
G 10 Kyle Boswell- Has made 11 of his last 18 three-point attempts, 61.1%.
F 12 Lewis Thomas - Has played in just three of the last eight games.  Was a DNP at Utah State.
F 24 Christian Peterson - Tied career-high with eight points, making all three field goals, at Utah State.
C 55  Greg Somogyi - Has 175 career blocked shots, second on UCSB's all-time list.

Gauchos Surpass Last Year's Big West Win Total
UCSB defeated UC Irvine  on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 85-62.  The win over the Anteaters moved the Gauchos' record to 9-3 in Big West play and the nine wins surpasses their conference win total of 2011.  Last season, Santa Barbara finished fifth in the Big West with an 8-8 record.

Three-Point Rollercoaster Hits Another High Note 
UCSB has been on a three-point rollercoaster in recent games.  On Feb. 4 at Cal State Fullerton, the Gauchos made 11-of-18 three-point attempts, 61.1%.  Both the makes and the percentage were season-highs, and while that performance paled in comparison to what the Titans did that night – 17-of-26, 65.4% – it was a pretty good effort.  One game later, on Feb. 11 vs. UC Riverside, UCSB had one of its worst three-point shooting games of the season.  After missing all nine of their attempts in the first half, the Gauchos settled for a 3-for-15 night against the Highlanders, 20.0%.  In the last two games, things have gotten much better.  In a Feb. 15 win at UC Irvine  UCSB made 11-of-20 as a team, 55.0%.  On Feb. 18 at Utah State, the Gauchos drilled 8-of-15, 53.3%.  It was the fifth time this season that the Gauchos made 50.0% or better of their three-point attempts. In the last two games, Santa Barbara has made 19 out of 35 three-point attempts, 54.3%.  

In Defense Of The Three-Pointers
In its Feb. 4 loss at Cal State Fullerton, UCSB allowed the Titans to make a blistering 17-of-26 shots from three-point range, 65.4%.  The 17 threes tied a Gaucho opponent record and set a Fullerton record.  In the three games since, UCSB has significantly shored-up its three-point defense.  On Feb. 11 against UC Riverside, the game immediately following the Fullerton game, the Highlanders made 1-of-13 shots from outside the arc, 7.7%, the lowest mark by an opponent this season.  Overall, the last three opponents – UCR, UC Irvine and Utah State – have combined to make just 12 out of 54 three-point attempts, 22.2%.

That 70s Show 
On Feb. 18, UCSB won at Utah State 72-64.  In 23 games this season, UCSB has allowed fewer than 70 points 14 times, winning each time.  The 14-0 record is in stark contrast to the 1-8 record the team has allowed 70 or more.  Actually, the only win in those nine was an 85-70 win at Cal State Northridge, so the Gauchos are actually 15-0 when allowing 70 points or fewer.

That 80s Show
UCSB scored 85 points in its win at UC Irvine on Feb. 15, it was the fourth highest point total this season.   It was also the ninth time the Gauchos have scored 80 points or more in 2011-12.  The last time the Gauchos scored at least 80 points in nine or more games was in 1989-90 when they hit the mark 10 times. 

A Game Of Percentages
The Gauchos have held 15 of 23 opponents under 40.0% shooting this season. and only two opponents have made more than 50.0% of their shots.  The highest shooting percentage by a UCSB opponent this season was by Long Beach State on Jan. 21.  In that game, the 49ers drained 58.7% of their shots.  On the other side of the ledger, Santa Barbara has made 50.0% or better seven times in 2011-12, including the last two games.  In the last two, the Gauchos have made 55 out of their 103 field goal attempts, 53.4%.

Johnson Makes His Points
Orlando Johnson, who was included on the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top-25 List that was released last month, has had two of his most efficient, and best, offensive games of the season in the last two.  On Feb. 15 at UC Irvine,  Johnson made 9-of-11 shots overall, including both of his three-point attempts, 5-of-6 free throws and scored 25 points.  He also added 10 rebounds and four assists.  It was his fifth double-double of the season, but his first since Dec. 16 at Washington.  On Saturday at Utah State, he made 7-of-12 shots overall, including 4-of-7 from three-point range, and scored 22 points.  Combined, Johnson was 16-of-23 overall, 69.6%, and 6-of-9 from three-point range, 66.7%.  Johnson leads the team in scoring (20.0 points per game) and assists (3.0 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 nine of the last 11 games and 15 times this season.  He has scored 20 or more 15 times and 25 or more six times, including three of the last five games.  Johnson has scored in double-figures 22 times in 23 games and 83 times in 85 games during his career.  He's scored 20 or more a record 44 times at UCSB.  The Seaside, Calif., native tallied a season-high 36 points to go with 10 rebounds, four assists, three steals and a pair of blocked shots in Santa Barbara'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 five that he has recorded this season.  In addition to UNLV and UC Irvine, he's 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 22 points that Johnson scored in the Gauchos' last game pushed his UCSB career total to 1,674 third all-time.  He needs 23 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 2,057 in his collegiate career.  Also, he leads the team in three-point baskets with 47 and has 159 in his career, ninth in school history.  In the last four games, Johnson has made 10 out of 17 three-point attempts, 58.8%. 

The Flying Nunnally
James Nunnally had his best game of the season in Saturday's win at Utah State.  Nunnally tied his season-high with 24 points and he pulled down a season-best 11 rebounds to record his first double-double this year.  Against the Aggies, he made 9-of-14 shots overall and 3-of-4 from three-point range.  Nunnally is second on the team in scoring at 15.1 points per game and he leads the team in rebounding at 6.2 per game.  He has been in double-figures 21 times in 23 games this season and has scored 20 or more five times.  Also, by scoring 24 in the last game, Nunnally has pushed his career point total to 1,537, sixth in school history.  He needs 44 to move into fifth all-time.  He has had five or more rebounds 18 times this season.  Nunnally is also playing the part of playmaker these days, averaging 2.4 assists per game.  He has passed off for two or more 18 times, including the last 16 games in a row.  Also, he had made two or more three-point baskets in four of the last five games and nine times this season.  Nunnally now has 34 threes on the year.  In his career, he has 164 three-pointers and ranks sixth on UCSB's career list.  

A DisSERNAble Difference
Jaimé Serna had seven points, five rebounds, one assist and a blocked shot in the win at Utah State on Saturday night.  In the game prior to that, Feb. 15 at UC Irvine, Serna played just 18 minutes, scoring four points, grabbing a pair of rebounds and passing off for two assists.  On Feb. 11 against UC Riverside, in a game when the they struggled as a whole offensively, Serna helped save the Gauchos bacon.  While just about everybody else had issues 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.  He also had a game-high nine rebounds in the victory.  Overall, he is averaging 9.3 points per game, third on the team, but in the last seven games he has averaged 11.1 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.  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, a career first.  Serna remains fourth on the team in rebounding at 4.8 per game, but he has averaged 7.0 in the last six games.  He is also tied for third in blocks with 21 and now has 77 in his career, eighth in school history.  By making 28-of-44 shots in the Gauchos' last six games, Serna is now shooting a sparkling 64.7% from the field for the season.  In his career, he has made 312 out of 553 shots, 56.4%, the third highest mark in school history.  Also, he now has 837 career points.  

The "Other" Williams 
Freshman forward Alan Williams has struggled with foul trouble in the last two games and his numbers have paid the price.  In each of the last two contests, Williams has picked-up two early fouls, forcing him to the bench.  He played just six minutes at Utah State and eight at UC Irvine.  In the last two games combined, Williams has scored six points and grabbed three rebounds.  On the season, he is now averaging 6.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots per game.  In 12 Big West games, Williams is averaging 9.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game.  The production lull has come 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 12 games and, until the last couple, he has responded.  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 and he has had 10 or more rebounds four times, all since the start of league play.  He has had five or more rebounds in 14 out of his 22 appearances and had a career-high 13 in UCSB's Jan. 14 win over UC Irvine.  In fact, he is the only player on the team with more offensive rebounds (68) than defensive rebounds (65).  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 30 blocked shots on the season, third on UCSB's all-time freshman list and he is within nine of Doug Muse's record of 39.  Williams currently has 133 rebounds on the season, sixth most by a freshman in school history.   

Who's The Bos?
Guard Kyle Boswell had five points in 16 minutes off the bench at Utah State.  On Feb. 15 at UC Irvine, he had a career best 19 points, making 7-of-10 shots from the field and 5-of-8 from outside the three-point arc.  The five three-pointers were also a personal best for Boswell and the most by a Gaucho player this season.  In the previous game, Feb. 11 vs. UC Riverside, he set a career-high with six assists.  Boswell is averaging 7.5 points per game, fourth on the team.  He's scored 10 or more points six times this season.  He scored his previous career-high of 15 on Nov. 18 against Westmont.  In a Jan. 26 game at UC Davis, he made 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 41 and he is tops in three-point percentage at 42.3%.  In the last seven games, he has made 17 out of his 32 three-point attempts, 53.1%, and in the last four he is 11-of-18, 61.1%.  Boswell has made at least two three-point baskets in five of the last seven, six of the last eight and 12 times overall.  He has hit at least one three-pointer in 17 straight and 21 times in 22 games.  

Tall Tales
Greg Somogyi played 13 minutes in UCSB's win at Utah State.  He missed his two field goal attempts and finished with two points and one blocked shot.  After playing just 41 minutes over a six-game span, Somogyi has totaled 31 in the last two.  On Feb. 15 at UC Irvine, he had one of his best all-around games with six points, six rebounds and four blocked shots.  He is averaging 3.1 points, 3.7 rebounds and a team-leading 1.7 blocked shots per game.  In a Jan. 21 game against Long Beach State, Somogyi played a season-high 19 minutes, made 5-of-6 shots and scored a season-high 10 points.  One game earlier, on Jan. 19 vs. Cal State Northridge, he had a career-high 10 rebounds.  Somogyi has had at least one blocked shot in 16 games and two or more 10 times.  He recorded a season-high six swats on Nov. 26 vs. San Diego State, two shy of his school record.  He has 175 blocks in his career, second all-time.   

Taylor Made
Freshman T.J. Taylor has started the last seven games for UCSB, the first starts of his career, and the team has gone 6-1.  On Saturday at Utah State, Taylor was scoreless for the first time as a starter, missing his three field goal attempts.  He did contribute three assists, one steal and no turnovers.  On the year, Taylor is averaging 3.4 points, 2.0 assists and 2.0 rebounds per game.  He has three or more assists eight times and had a high of six on Nov. 11 vs. Chapman.  Taylor has 45 assists and a mere 20 turnovers, a 2.3-to-1.0 assist to turnover ratio, best on the team.   Also, his 16 three-point baskets rank fourth on the team.     

Senior Christian Peterson had, possibly, his best game of the season on Feb. 18 at Utah State.  Peterson logged 21 minutes, easily the most since he played 21 at San Diego on Dec. 13, and he tied his career-high with eight points, making all three of his field goal attempts.  Peterson also grabbed four rebounds, his highest total since he collected six at Washington on Dec. 16.  In the last three games, he has totaled 49 minutes.  In five games prior to that, Peterson played just 24 total minutes.

The World According To Garth
Nate Garth played 24 minutes in Saturday's win at Utah State.  It was the most minutes Garth has played since he logged 27 on Nov. 26 against San Diego State.  He finished with two points, three assists and a rebound.  On Feb. 15 at UC Irvine, he played 22 minutes and had  nine points, tied his season-high with six assists, grabbed one rebound and added a steal.  Garth has now had three or more assists 10 times on the year and the Gauchos are 9-1 in those games.  His other six-assist game came on Nov. 22 vs. Portland.  The nine points  at Irvine were three shy of his season-high of 12 set at Cal Poly on Jan. 2.

Sophomore Keegan Hornbuckle was scoreless in 11 minutes at Utah State.  He had five points in 14 minutes on Feb. 15 at UC Irvine.  While he is averaging 4.2 points and 1.8 rebounds per game overall, Hornbuckle has scored just 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the last eight games. He had a season-high 14 points on Jan. 14 against UC Irvine.  Despite ranking 10th 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.  He had a career-high five steals in the game against Northridge.