UCSB Plays Final Two Games at Home, Looks to Secure No. 2 Seed in League Tourney

Alan Williams (Photo by Vince Agapito)
Alan Williams (Photo by Vince Agapito)

• This Week
Game No. 26
Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. 
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Univ. of the Pacific Tigers

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

Game No. 27
Saturday, March 3, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. 
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. UC Davis Aggies

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

• Tickets Available For Final Home Games
Plenty of tickets remain available for UCSB's final two home games of the 2011-12 season.  The Gauchos will play Pacific on Thursday, March 1 and UC Davis on Saturday March 3.  Both games tip at 7:00 p.m.  To purchase tickets, drop by the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, call 805-893-UCSB (8272) or online by clicking here.  The Ticket Office is open from 9-4 Monday-Friday.

On The Radio
All UC Santa Barbara basketball games are broadcast live in Santa Barbara on AM 1290 KZSB and will stream live online at UCSBgauchos.com and NewsPress.com. Gerry Fall is in his eighth year as the play-by-play voice of the Gauchos. Former Los Angeles Lakers and UCSB star Don Ford handles the color commentary.  Santa Barbara News-Press legend Mark Patton gives his brilliant insight during pregame and halftime.

Gauchos Remain At Home For Final Two Games
UC Santa Barbara will remain at home for its final two games of the 2011-12 regular season.  The Gauchos, who played just their second home game in 35 days on Feb. 25 against Cal Poly, will host Pacific on Thursday, Mar. 1 and UC Davis on Saturday, Mar. 3.  Both games will tip-off at 7:00 p.m. in the Thunderdome.

Five Seniors Will Be Saluted Saturday
UCSB will salute its five seniors in a pre-game ceremony prior to Saturday's game against UC Davis.  Orlando Johnson, James Nunnally, Jaimé Serna, Greg Somogyi and Christian Peterson will each be playing their final game at the Thunderdome.  The ceremony will start at approximately 6:45, about 15 minutes prior to tip-off. 

UCSB Will Be Second Or Third Seed In Big West Tournament
Entering the final weekend of the regular season, UCSB is assured of finishing either second or third in the Big West Conference standings.  Long Beach State has wrapped-up the league's regular season championship and the No. 1 seed in the tournament.  The Gauchos and Cal State Fullerton are each 10-4 and tied for second-place in the conference standings, they are the only teams that can be seeded No. 2 and No. 3 in the tourney.  

The Gaucho Record
UCSB is 16-9 overall and 10-4 in the Big West Conference, tied with Cal State Fullerton for second-place.  The Gauchos won their last game, a 68-60 decision over Cal Poly on Feb. 25, and have now won four of their last five and seven of nine.  They have also won two in a row at the Thunderdome and five of their last six.

UCSB Guaranteed Seventh Straight Winning Record
UCSB's 16-9 record guarantees that the program will post a winning record for the seventh straight year, the longest stretch in school history.  Previously, the most consecutive winning seasons was six in a row beginning in 1970-71 and running through the 1975-76.  The Gauchos have the longest run of consecutive winning seasons of any Big West Conference school.  The next closest is Pacific, which has winning records in its last four seasons.

Nunnally Ascends Too
Orlando Johnson's ascent up UCSB's all-time scoring list has overshadowed the performance of senior James Nunnally.  Nunnally scored 20 points in Saturday's game against Cal Poly and now has 1,570 for his career.  He is one of just six players in school history to score more than 1,500 points and needs just 11 to move past Mark Hull and into fifth on the all-time list.  With a minimum of three games remaining in the season, it is conceivable that Nunnally could become the fifth player in school history to score 1,600 points and he will threaten Chris Devine's hold on the No. 4 spot with 1,607 points.

Probable Starters - Quick Fact
F 0 Jaimé Serna - Has attempted just 15 shots in the last four games, a span of 96 minutes.
G 11 T.J. Taylor - Leads the team in assist to turnover ratio at 2.1-to-1.0.
F 15 Alan Williams - 79 of his 151 rebounds are offensive, 52.3%.
G 21 James Nunnally - Averaging 19.0 points and 9.7 rebounds in last three games.
G 33 Orlando Johnson- Has become UCSB's all-time leading scorer with 1,710 points.

Probable Reserves - Quick Fact
G 1   Nate Garth - Has had three or more assists 11 times and Gauchos have gone 10-1.
F 5 Keegan Hornbuckle- Second on team in steals despite ranking 10th in minutes played. 
G 10 Kyle Boswell- Has made 15 of his last 24 three-point attempts, 62.5%.
F 12 Lewis Thomas - Has played in just four of the last 10 games.  
F 24 Christian Peterson - Averaged 3.3 rebounds per game in the last three.
C 55  Greg Somogyi - Has 176 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 surpassed their conference win total of 2011.  Now at 10-4, they are well ahead of their 8-8 record of a year ago.

Williams Coaches 700th Game
UCSB head coach Bob Williams had 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.  On Feb. 22 at Long Beach State, he hit another career mark when he coached his 700th game.  Prior to arriving in Santa Barbara for the 1998-99 season, Williams coached at Menlo College and UC Davis.  

A Right, A Left, A Right, A Left... 
In 2010-11, Orlando Johnson and James Nunnally combined for 1,194 points, the most ever by teammates at UCSB.  Johnson and Nunnally also rank No. 5 on that list, combining for 965 points as sophomores in 2009-10.  This year, the duo has combined for 876 points and needs just seven to move into the top-10 for the third time.  If Johnson and Nunnally maintain their respective scoring averages for the three games they are guaranteed to play, they would score about 106 more points and finish with approximately 990, a figure that would also rank in the top-five in school history.  Combined, they have scored 3,035 points during their three years as teammates, by far the most of any Gaucho duo. 

That 70s Show 
On Feb. 25, UCSB defeated Cal Poly 68-60.  In 25 games this season, the Gauchos have allowed fewer than 70 points 15 times, winning each time.  The 15-0 record is in stark contrast to the 1-9 record the team has when it allows 70 or more.  They have also allowed exactly 70 points on two occasions, going 1-1 in those games.

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. 

Few, If Any, Close Encounters 
In their last game, the Gauchos defeated Cal Poly by a margin of eight points, 68-60.  The eight-point margin equaled the smallest margin to decide a UCSB game in the last seven.  Three times over that span, all wins, games were decided by eight points.  The other four games, two wins and two losses, were decided by double-figures.  Overall, the average margin in the last seven, win or lose, was 12.4 points.  The average margin in four wins was 10.3 points and the average margin in two losses was 12.5 points.  Overall this season, 14 games have been decided by double-digit margins and 11 by fewer than 10.

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 four 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 five opponents – UCR, UC Irvine, Utah State, Long Beach State and Cal Poly – have combined to make just 24 out of 90 three-point attempts, 26.7% and three of those opponents shot below 30.0%.

UCSB Breaks Blocked Shot Record
UCSB blocked four shots in its Feb. 25 win over Cal Poly and has blocked 134 on the season, a new school record.  The previous record of 133 was set in 2010-11.  Senior Greg Somogyi, who ranks second in school history with 176 blocks, leads the way this year with 40, the 10th most ever.  Somogyi, however, is getting plenty of help from freshman Alan Williams who has 34 swats, including 27 in Big West games.  Orlando Johnson (22) and Jaimé Serna (23) are also in double-figures.  Somogyi, Williams and Serna have each blocked at least five shots in a game this season.

Johnson Makes His Points
Orlando Johnson, who was included on the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top-25 List that was released last month, scored 16 points in UCSB's win over Cal Poly on Saturday and in the process became the school's all-time leading scorer.  Johnson needed just three points against the Mustangs to exceed Alex Harris' total of 1,696 points.  He now has 1,710 points and is the only player in school history to eclipse 1,700 points, doing so in just three seasons as a Gaucho.  Johnson is now averaging 19.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.  He leads the team in scoring and assists and should become the first player since 2004-05 to lead the way in those categories.  The 496 points Johnson has scored this season are the 10th most in school history and he is within four points of becoming the first UCSB player every to score 500 points or more in three seasons.  He has scored 20 or more points in three of the last four games and five of the last seven.  In the last seven games, he has averaged 21.5 points per game.  In the last four games, he has made 29-of-51 shots from the field, 56.9%, and 10-of-20 from three-point range, 50.0%.  On Feb. 15 at UC Irvine,  Johnson scored 25 points and added 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season, his first since Dec. 16 at Washington.  He has led the Gauchos in scoring in 10 of the last 13 games and 16 times this season.  He has scored 20 or more 16 times and 25 or more six times.  Johnson has scored in double-figures 24 times in 25 games and 85 times in 87 games during his career.  He's scored 20 or more a record 45 times at UCSB.  The Seaside, Calif., native tallied a season-high 36 points to go with 10 rebounds in Santa Barbara's double-overtime loss to nationally-ranked UNLV on Nov. 30.  The 36 points were his second highest total ever.  In addition to UNLV, Washington and UC Irvine, he's had double-doubles against Portland (26 points and 12 rebounds) and Westmont College (20 points and 12 rebounds).  If the 383 points that Johnson scored as a freshman at Loyola Marymount are factored in, he has now tallied 2,093 in his collegiate career.  Also, he leads the team in three-point baskets with 51 and has 163 in his career, tied for seventh in school history.  In the last six games, Johnson has made 14 out of 28 three-point attempts, 50.0%. 

The Flying Nunnally
James Nunnally scored 20 points and had six rebounds in the Gauchos' Feb. 25 win over Cal Poly.  He was coming off of consecutive double-doubles.  On Feb. 22 at Long Beach State, he had 13 points and a season-high 12 rebounds and one game earlier, at Utah State, he had 24 points and 11 rebounds.   Nunnally remains second on the team in scoring at 15.2 points per game and he leads the team in rebounding at 6.4 per game.  He has been in double-figures 23 times in 25 games this season and has scored 20 or more six times, including two of the last three games.  In the last three, he has averaged 19 points and 9.7 rebounds per game while shooting 52.5% overall, 50.0% from three-point range and a perfect 100.0% from the free throw line.  Also, by scoring 20 in the last game, Nunnally has moved his career point total to 1,570, sixth in school history.  He needs 11 to move into fifth all-time.  He has had five or more rebounds 20 times this season and now has 609 boards in his career, 10th all-time.  He needs just four to move into ninth-place.  Nunnally is also acting the part of playmaker these days, averaging 2.4 assists per game.  He has passed off for two or more 19 times, including 17 of the last 18.  Finally, he had made two or more three-point baskets in five of the last eight games and 10 times this season.  Nunnally now has 37 threes on the year.  In his career, he has 167 three-pointers and ranks sixth on UCSB's career list.  

A DisSERNAble Difference
Jaimé Serna scored nine points and had five rebounds in the Gauchos' win over Cal Poly on Feb. 25.  The nine points were one more than he had scored in the two previous games.  In four games since scoring 19 points on Feb. 11 vs. UC Riverside, Serna has totaled 21 points, 5.2 per game.  In those four games, he attempted a mere 15 shots in 96 minutes.   Overall, he is averaging 8.9 points per game, third on the team, and 4.8 rebounds per outing, fourth on the team. 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 is also third on the team in blocks with 23 and now has 79 in his career, eighth in school history.  Serna continues to lead the team in field goal percentage at 64.0 and in his career, he has made 315 out of 559 shots, 56.4%, the third highest mark in school history.   Also, he now has 847 career points.  

The "Other" Williams 
Freshman forward Alan Williams had nine points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots in the Feb. 25 win over Cal Poly.  He made 4-of-9 shots and his only free throw attempt.  Williams has had nine rebounds in consecutive games and is now averaging 6.3 per game, second on the team.  He is fourth in scoring at 6.5 per game.   In 14 Big West games, Williams is averaging 9.1 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game.  He had a career-high 19 points on Feb. 2 at Cal State Northridge.  Williams has started the last 14 games  and he's paid big dividends, averaging 9.0 points and 8.0 boards 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 and he has had 10 or more rebounds four times, all since the start of league play.  Additionally, he has nine rebounds in four other games and five or more in 16 out of his 24 appearances.  Williams is the only player on the team with more offensive rebounds (79) than defensive rebounds (72).  Williams has blocked five shots twice this season, tying Greg Somogyi's freshman record  Overall, he now has 34 blocked shots on the season, third on UCSB's all-time freshman list and he is within five of Doug Muse's record of 39.  Williams currently has 151 rebounds on the season, fourth most by a freshman in school history.   

Who's The Bos?
Guard Kyle Boswell had nine points in 19 minutes off the bench against Cal Poly on Feb. 25.  In the previous game, he scored 11 in a game at Long Beach State.  On Feb. 15 at UC Irvine, Boswell 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 and the most by a Gaucho player this season.  In the last four games, Boswell has averaged 11 points per game and he is now averaging 7.7 per game overall, fourth on the team. He's scored 10 or more points seven times this season.  Boswell is second on the team in three-point field goals with 45 and he is tops in three-point percentage at 43.7%.  In the last eight games, he has made 21 out of his 38 three-point attempts, 55.3%, and in the last five he is 15-of-24, 62.5%.  Boswell has made at least two three-point baskets in seven of the last nine, eight of the last 11 and 14 times overall.  He has hit at least one three-pointer in 19 straight and 24 times in 25 games.  

Tall Tales
Greg Somogyi played tied a season-low with just six minutes played on Feb. 25 against Cal Poly.  One of the reasons his minutes were down was that he got hit in the mouth and needed stitches at halftime.  In three games prior to the Cal Poly game, Somogyi averaged 15.7 minutes per game.  Overall, he is averaging 3.2 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.  He leads the team in blocked shots with 40.  On Jan. 21, Somogyi made 5-of-6 shots and scored a season-high 10 points against Long Beach State.   On Feb. 15 at UC Irvine, he had one of his best all-around games with six points, six rebounds and four blocked shots.   On Jan. 19 vs. Cal State Northridge, he had a career-high 10 rebounds.  Somogyi has had at least one blocked shot in 17 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 176 blocks in his career, second all-time.   

Taylor Made
Freshman T.J. Taylor has started the last nine games for UCSB, the first starts of his career, and the team has gone 7-2.  On Saturday against Cal Poly, Taylor scored two points on a pair of free throws.  He is averaging 3.2 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game, but he has scored just two points in the last three games.  Taylor has three or more assists eight times and had a high of six on Nov. 11 vs. Chapman.  He has 47 assists and a mere 22 turnovers, a 2.1-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 played 18 minutes and was scoreless against Cal Poly, but he did have three rebounds.  On Feb. 18, at Utah State, he had his best game of the season.  Against the Aggies, Peterson played 21 minutes, easily the most since he also went 21 at San Diego on Dec. 13, and he tied his career-high with eight points, making all three of his field goal attempts.  He also grabbed four rebounds, his highest total since he collected six at Washington on Dec. 16.   Peterson has 10 boards in his last three games.  In the last five games, he has totaled 79 minutes.  In five games prior to that, Peterson played just 24 total minutes.

The World According To Garth
Nate Garth played 15 minutes in Saturday's game against Cal Poly.  He made his only three-point attempt against the Mustangs and had three points to go with four assists.  While he is averaging 16.8 minutes per game on the year, Garth has averaged 19 per game in the last four.  On Feb. 15 at UC Irvine, he played 22 minutes and had  nine points and tied his season-high with six assists.  Garth has now had three or more assists 11 times on the year and the Gauchos are 10-1 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 when he was 3-for-3 from three-point range.

Sophomore Keegan Hornbuckle played just one minutes in the win over Cal Poly and has now played just seven in the last two games and 18 in the last three.  He is scoreless in each of the last three games.  While he is averaging 3.8 points and 1.7 rebounds per game overall, Hornbuckle has scored just 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the last 10 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.