UCSB Heads North, Plays Final Big West Game at Pacific Thursday

Kyle Boswell (Photo by Kelley Cox)
Kyle Boswell (Photo by Kelley Cox)

If you would like to download the entire packet of game notes, which includes such cool stuff that I don't have enough room to explain, please click right......HERE!

Game No. 15
Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. 
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at the Univ. of the Pacific Tigers

at Pacific's A.G. Spanos Center - Stockton, Calif.
Radio: AM 1290 KZSB in Santa Barbara
On-Line Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
Video Stream: BigWest.TV

Game No. 16
Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. 
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at UC Davis Aggies

at UCD's Pavilion - Davis, Calif.
Radio: AM 1290 KZSB in Santa Barbara
On-Line Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
Video Stream: BigWest.TV

• Single Game Tickets Available!
Single game tickets for all Gaucho men's and women's basketball games are now available and can be purchased in advance from the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, by calling 805-893-UCSB (8272) or online by clicking here. Great seats for the showdown with Long Beach State, and for all games, are also available at the Thunderdome ticket office one hour prior to tip-off.

• 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 ninth year as the play-by-play voice of the Gauchos. Former Los Angeles Lakers and UCSB superstar Don Ford  and Santa Barbara News-Press legend Mark Patton handle the color commentary.

• Talk'n Gauchos
UCSB Athletics' weekly radio show, Talk'n Gauchos, airs every Tuesday from 6-7 p.m. on AM 1290 KZSB. The show is broadcast live from The Beachside Café, located on Goleta Beach and it features UCSB coaches and athletes.  Hosted by Gerry Fall, the voice of the Gauchos.  Fans can also catch Gaucho head coach Bob Williams every Thursday morning at 8:50 a.m. as he visits with Baron Ron Herron on "Bob and The Baron" on AM 1290.

Gauchos Travel North, Will Play At Pacific For Final Time In Big West Play   
UC Santa Barbara will travel north this weekend for Big West Conference games at Pacific and UC Davis.  When the Gauchos take-on Pacific Thursday, it will be their final road game against the Tigers as a league opponent.  Pacific will leave the Big West and join the West Coast Conference following the 2012-13 season.

The UCSB Record
UCSB enters Thursday's game at Pacific with a record of 5-9 overall and a 1-2 mark in the Big West.  The Gauchos are coming off a 77-70 loss to Long Beach State on Jan. 5.  In their previous game, they had a 74-71 come-from-behind win over UC Irvine.  The win over the Anteaters ended a three-game losing streak, all of which occurred on the road.

Strength Of Schedule + Young Team = Tough Start 
In a survey conducted at the outset of the season, UCSB had the third youngest team at the NCAA Division I level.  The Gaucho roster includes eight freshmen, three sophomores, four juniors and one senior.  The only two programs younger were Navy and Dartmouth.  In the most recent Division I RPI, UCSB's non-conference Strength of Schedule ranked number one.  The Gaucho non-conference schedule of San Diego State, Wyoming (twice), Boise State, LSU, Illinois State, Santa Clara and the University of San Diego (plus two NAIA opponents) is ranked as the toughest in the nation, ahead of No. 2 Duke, No. 3 Kansas, No. 4 Colorado, No. 5 North Carolina State and No. 6 Butler.  The combination of a very young team and a very difficult schedule, played primarily on the road, has combined to equal a 5-9 start for the Gauchos.

Probable Starters - Quick Fact (Note: These are almost simply educated guesses.)
G 11 T.J. Taylor- Had career-high nine assists in the game against Long Beach State. 
F 12 Lewis Thomas - Has 11 three-pointers on the year, all on the road.  
F 15 Alan Williams - His 84 FT attempts are more than any other four players combined.
G 24 Michael Bryson - Had career-highs of 15 points, three assists vs. Long Beach State.  
F 35 Taran Brown- Needs six three-pointers to break UCSB freshman record of 43.

Probable Reserves - Quick Fact
G 1   Nate Garth - Returned from ankle injury but was limited to nine minutes vs. LBSU.
G 4 Aamahd Walker - Back injury has him sidelined him indefinitely and he could redshirt.
F 5 Keegan Hornbuckle- Ankle sprain has him sidelined indefinitely.
G 10 Kyle Boswell - Scored in double-figures in eight of the last nine games.
F 21 Mitch Brewe - Tied career-high with four points vs. Long Beach State.
G 32  John Green - Projected starter, broken bone in his foot has him sidelined indefinitely.
F 34  Shawn Moore - Has played 18 minutes in the last two games.
G 43  Duke DaRé - Injured shoulder kept him out of last three games.
F 44  Sam Beeler - Has made 10-for-14 from the field in the last seven games, 71.4%.

The Opponents
UCSB and Pacific have played 106 games through the years with each team winning 53 times.  The Gauchos have won the last four in a row between the schools, including a 72-52 decision in the first round of the 2012 Big West Tournament.  UCSB also defeated the Tigers in the 2011 Big West Tournament to begin the current four-game streak.  The Gauchos and UC Davis have played 24 times with Santa Barbara holding a 20-4 all-time edge.  The last time the teams met, on Mar. 3, 2012 in Santa Barbara, UCSB posted a 90-43 victory.

The Gauchos On The Road
UCSB is 1-7 in road games this season. After losing at LSU, Illinois State and Boise State, the Gauchos traveled to Santa Clara on Dec. 1 and recorded an overtime win for their first, and so far only, road victory of the season.  They have since dropped four consecutive road games: Dec. 6 at San Diego State, Dec. 18 at Cal, Dec. 21 at Wyoming and Dec. 29 at Cal State Fullerton.  In 2011-12 the Gauchos went 7-7 in true road games and 9-8 in all games away from home, including 5-3 in Big West road games.   

The Injury Roundup 
The Gauchos' injury list continues to be a thing in flux.  Starting point guard Nate Garth and reserve forward Mitch Brewe each missed the Jan. 3 game against UC Irvine with sprained ankles, but returned in limited roles on Jan. 5 vs. Long Beach State.  Both are probable for the game at Pacific on Thursday. Guard Duke DaRe injured his shoulder at Wyomong on Dec. 21 and has missed the last three games.  Junior forward Keegan Hornbuckle re-sprained his ankle in UCSB's Dec. 1 win at Santa Clara and has missed the last seven games.  He remains sidelined indefinitely but seems to be getting closer to a return.  Freshman guard Aamahd Walker remains sidelined with a back injury and after playing in the first two games of the season, is a candidate to redshirt.  Another freshman guard, John Green, expected to be a starter this season, is out indefinitely with a broken bone in his foot. 

Youth Is Served
The Gauchos' leading scorer is sophomore Alan Williams.  Their second leading scorer is freshman Taran Brown.  The fifth leading scorer is freshman Michael Bryson.  Of the 930 points that UCSB has scored through 14 games this season 670, or 72.0%, have been scored by freshmen or sophomores.  Of the team's 453 individual rebounds 390, or 86.1%, have been collected by freshmen and sophomores.  Finally, of the team's 62 blocked shots 62, or 100.0%, have been recorded by freshmen and sophomores.   

Gauchos Continue Record Three-Point Pace
UCSB made 9-of-21 three-point attempts in its game against Long Beach State on Jan. 5.  While they didn't hit double-figures as they had in six of their previous seven games, the Gauchos essentially hit their average (9.07 per game) and continued to march towards a school record in three-pointers.  If they can continue to average nine per game over a 30 game schedule they would finish with about 270 for the year.  The current school record is 242 set in 32 games during the 2007-08 season.  On Dec. 29 at Cal State Fullerton, UCSB made a season-high 15 three-point baskets, the third highest total in school history and the most since it made 16 against Arizona in the first found of the 2002 NCAA Tournament.  One game after making a season-high 15, the Gauchos hit for season-best 50.0% (13-of-26) in a Jan. 3 win over UC Irvine.  With their 42.9% performance against Long Beach State, Santa Barbara has now made 37 out of 83 over the last three games, 44.6%.  In fact, after making fewer than 40.0% from three-point range in its first six games this season, UCSB has been at 40.6% or better in seven of the last eight games.  Over that span, the Gauchos have made 87-of-212, 41.0%, and that includes a dismal 1-for-13 showing on Dec. 21 at Wyoming.

Free Throws: The Good And The Bad
There was good news and bad news on the UCSB free throw front in the game against Long Beach State.  The good news is that the Gauchos attempted 23 free throws, their highest total since Dec. 1 when they took 35 in an overtime win at Santa Clara.  The bad news?  They made just 13 and shot just 56.5%.  This season, free throws have generally been an issue for Santa Barbara, whether too few attempted or a low percentage.  In the last five games, the Gauchos have made just 35 free throws (7.0 per game) in 57 attempts (11.4 per game), 61.4%. 

Making Their Point
Since equaling their season-low with just 40 points in a Dec. 21 loss at Wyoming, the Gauchos have improved offensively.  UCSB has scored 70 or more points in three straight games since the contest in Laramie, averaging 74.3 per game over that span.  It marks the second time this season that the Gauchos have scored 70 or more in three straight.  

Win or lose, UCSB's first six games, and eight of its first nine, were decided by double-digit margins.  The last three, and four of the last five, have been decided by single-digit margins.

The "Other" Williams
Sophomore Alan Williams continues to lead the Gauchos in scoring (17.1 points per game), rebounds (10.1 per game) and blocked shots (2.2 per game).  He enters Thursday's game at Pacific ranked sixth in the Big West in scoring, first in rebounding and first in blocked shots.  Williams is averaging a double-double.  The last Gaucho to finish the season averaging 10 or more points and 10 or more rebounds per game was Eric McArthur in 1990.  Because of foul trouble, Williams was limited to 24 minutes against Long Beach State on Jan. 5, including just six in the first half.  He finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots, ending a streak of three straight games with double-doubles.  In a Jan. 3 win over UC Irvine, he had 22 points and 10 rebounds.  He also tied a career-high with five blocked shots. In fact, it was Williams' block with 30 seconds left and his basket and free throw with 7.5 seconds to play that gave UCSB the win.  In the previous game, on Dec. 29 at Cal State Fullerton, he had 22 points and 16 rebounds.  The 16 boards were his second highest total ever and this marks the first time in his career that Williams has scored 20 or more in consecutive games.  He now has seven double-doubles, the most by a Gaucho since B.J. Bunton had seven in 1998-99.  On Dec. 1 at Santa Clara, Williams had a career-best game with 29 points and 17 rebounds.  That performance was the first time a Gaucho has had 25 or more points and 15 or more rebounds in the same game since Jan. 29, 1990 when McArthur had 28 points and 21 rebounds against Cal State Fullerton.  The 17 boards were the most by a UCSB player since Josh Merrill collected 18 against Westmont on Dec. 7, 1996. For his efforts, Williams was named Big West Player of the Week.  He has scored in double-figures in 13 of 14 games this season and has 20 or more four times.  With his two blocked shots in the game against LBSU, Williams now has 72 in his 44 games and needs just one more to move from 10th all-time to ninth.  This year he has blocked a high of five twice and two or more 10 times.    

Taran It Up
Freshman Taran Brown had 11 points and two rebounds on Jan. 5 vs. LBSU.  He made 1-of-2 from three-point range and the two rebounds were his fewest since he had one in the Nov. 9 season opener at LSU.  On Jan. 3 against UC Irvine, Brown had 18 points, six rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots.  He made four three-point baskets in the win over the Anteaters.  In his last three games, he has made 11-of-23 shots from outside the three-point arc, 47.8%, and 17-of-32 overall, 53.1%.  Brown did, however, attempt a season-low six shots in the game against LBSU.  On Dec. 29 at Cal State Fullerton, he made a career-high six three-point baskets and scored 20 points.  He now has 20 or more three times.  Brown scored 22 and 20 in back-to-back games against Illinois State and The Master's College in mid-November becoming the first Gaucho freshman ever to score 20 or more in two straight games.  The 22 he had at Illinois State were the most by a UCSB freshman since James Nunnally had 22 in against North Carolina on Nov. 21, 2008.  Brown is still second on the team in scoring at 13.5 points per game, a figure that ranks him first among Big West Conference freshmen and 13th overall.  He is second on the team with 38 three-point baskets.  He led the team prior to the Jan. 3 game against UC Irvine but his see-saw battle with Kyle Boswell now has Boswell in the lead by three.  Brown is third in the Big West at 2.7 three-pointers per game.  He is also second on the team in rebounding at 5.5 per game.  He has had six or more six times and recorded his first career double-double when he had 20 points and 13 rebounds vs. The Master's College on Nov. 17.  Brown has now made at least one three-point basket in 12 of 14 games, two or more 10 times and three or more nine times, including six of the last eight games. Since missing his first eight three-pointers this season, he has gone 38-of-90, 42.2%. With 38 three-point baskets this season, he already ranks third on UCSB's all-time freshman list, easily within striking distance of the record of 43 set by Idris Jones in 1990.  Finally, Brown has 15 blocked shots on the year, tied for the sixth most by a Gaucho freshman. 

Who's The Bos?
Junior Kyle Boswell had 14 points and a career-high three steals in the Jan. 5 game against Long Beach State.  On Jan. 3, he tied his career-high with 23 points in a win over UC Irvine.  He made 8-of-15 field goals, including 6-of-10 from three-point range against the Anteaters.  The six three-pointers were one short of his career-high.  Boswell is averaging 12.5 points per game, a figure that is at its highest point since he scored 17 in the season-opener at LSU.  He has scored in double-figures eight times in the last nine games, including a career-long streak of six in a row prior to the Dec. 29 game at Cal State Fullerton.  Boswell has 41 threes on the year, an average of 2.9 per game, second in the Big West.  In nine games since his scoring average dipped to a season-low 8.0 per game, Boswell has scored 135 points and averaged 15.0 per game, making 33-of-73 from three-point range over that span, 45.2%.  He also had a career-best 23 points and seven three-point baskets on Dec. 6 at San Diego State.  The game against the Aztecs was the second of four straight in which Boswell made at least four three-point shots, also a career-first.  The seven threes he drained at SDSU were the most by a Gaucho since Joe See made eight at Utah State on Jan. 6, 2005.  He  has 106 career threes and needs 15 to move into 10th in school history. 

The World According To Garth 
Point guard Nate Garth missed the Jan. 3 game against UC Irvine with a sprained ankle but returned in a limited role off the bench against Long Beach State.  Garth played nine minutes producing two rebounds and one steal.  On Dec. 29 at Cal State Fullerton, in the game prior to his injury, Garth played a season-high 34 minutes and had nine points, eight assists and just one turnover.  He made 4-of-9 shots overall, including 1-of-4 from three-point range.  On the season, the team's only senior is averaging 5.5 points and a team-high 4.0 assists per game.  He is sixth in the Big West in assists assist-to-turnover ratio.  Garth had a career-high nine assists on Dec. 6 at San Diego State and has had five or more six times in 13 games.  He had started all 12 games prior to his ankle sprain.  Also, before missing the game against UC Irvine and playing a limited role against LBSU, Garth played 21 or more minutes in six straight games. 

Taylor Made
Sophomore point guard T.J. Taylor has started each of the last two games and they have been two of the best games of his career.  In his first start, on Jan. 3 vs. UC Irvine, Taylor had nine points - on 3-of-4 from three-point range - and passed off for a then career-high eight assists.  He also played a career-high 35 minutes and committed a mere two turnovers.  On Jan. 5 against Long Beach State, he had eight points, a new career-high nine assists, a season-high three rebounds and just two turnovers.  Once again, Taylor played 35 minutes.  In his last three games, he has made 8-of-13 three-point attempts, 61.5%, collected 22 assists and had just five turnovers.  He leads the Big West in assist average in league games at 7.3 per game and overall is fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.4-to-1.0.  The nine points he had in two of the last three games were one off of his season-high (10 in games at Illinois State and vs. The Master's College).  Taylor is now second on the team in assists at 3.1 per game, and third in three-point baskets with 14.    

The Life Of Bryson
Mired in a shooting slump, freshman Michael Bryson missed his first six shots against Long Beach State and then turned things around.  Bryson made five of his last nine shots, including a career-high three three-point baskets, to finish with a career-high and team-high 15 points.  He also had four rebounds an a career-high three assists vs. the 49ers.  Bryson is now averaging 4.9 points and 3.0 rebounds per game.  He has played in 13 of the 14 games this season, missing most of the Nov. 12 game at Illinois State and all of the Nov. 17 contest against The Master's College with a strained back.  Bryson is tied for third on the team with 14 three-point baskets, having made two or more in six games.  His previous season-high of 10 points came in the Nov. 9 opener at LSU.   Bryson had a season-high seven rebounds on Nov. 21 at Boise State.

Aussie Rules 
Sophomore forward Lewis Thomas played a season-low eight minutes on Jan. 5 vs. Long Beach State and he did not attempt a shot.  He had two points, five rebounds and two blocked shots in 26 minutes on Jan. 3 night against UC Irvine.  It was the most minutes he has played since logging 22 on Nov. 21 vs. San Diego.  In his previous game, Dec. 29 at Cal State Fullerton, Thomas scored a career-high 11 points and tied his career-high with three three-point baskets. On the season the Perth native is averaging 3.5 points and 3.9 rebounds per game.  He has 54 rebounds and 49 points.  Finally, while Thomas is 11-of-24 overall from three-point range, he has gone 0-for-5 in home games and 11-for-19 in road games, 57.9%..