UCSB Welcomes South Dakota State to Thunderdome Friday for Post-Thanksgiving Game

Eric Childress (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Eric Childress (Photo by Tony Mastres)

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• This Week
Game No. 5
Saturday, November 29, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. South Dakota State Jackrabbits

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

Game No. 6
Tuesday, December 6, 2013 at 8:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at UCLA Bruins

at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion - Los Angeles, Calif.
Radio: AM 1290 KZSB in Santa Barbara
On-Line Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
TV: Pac 12 Network

• 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 star 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. 

• The Return Of The Cinco Pack!
UCSB Athletics is pleased to announce the return of the popular "Cinco Pack" for men's basketball. For one low price, the Cinco Pack allows fans to purchase a ticket to the Gauchos' highlight matchup against Cal on Dec. 6th as well as any four Big West games of their choice. The Golden Bears will be playing at the Thunderdome for the first time since the two programs played the first-ever basketball game in the facility in 1979. In addition to the Cal game, fans can choose from any of UCSB's eight Big West contests, including showdowns with rivals Long Beach State and Cal Poly. For as low as $50, Gaucho fans can enjoy 5 of the most exciting and important games on this year's schedule. For Cinco Pack information or to purchase the exclusive ticket package, drop by the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, call 805-893-UCSB (8272) or click here.

• Tickets Available
Great season ticket packages remain available for UCSB basketball. The remaining home schedule includes Cal, South Dakota State, Long Beach State, Cal Poly and the rest of the Big West Conference. For more information drop by the Ticket Office in the ICA Building on campus, call 805-893-UCSB (8272) or online by clicking here.  

Gauchos Host South Dakota State In Post-Holiday Game, Travel To UCLA
UC Santa Barbara returns home for a post-Thanksgiving game against South Dakota State on Friday, Nov. 29 at 7:00 p.m. It will be the Gauchos' third Thunderdome appearance of the season and their first since they played Utah State on Nov. 16. Following the game against the Jackrabbits, which advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2013, UCSB will play consecutive games against Pac 12 opponents, traveling to UCLA on Dec. 3 and hosting Cal on Friday, Dec. 6. It will mark the first time the Golden Bears will play at the Thunderdome since they helped the Gauchos open the building on Nov. 30, 1979. That was ay back in the day when the arena was known by the catchy-name "The Campus Events Center." 

UCSB Hopes For Alan Williams' Return
UCSB's leading scorer and rebounder Alan Williams has missed the last two games while dealing with back spasms. His back first went into spasm during warm-ups for the Nov. 16 contest against Utah State and while he was on the trip to Colorado, Williams did not suit-up for the game against the Buffaloes. His status for Friday's game against South Dakota State is still undetermined. John Green, who played in the regular season opener, is out with a very small fracture in his left foot. The original diagnosis was a 3-6 week absence, but he will most likely be sidelined until late-December or early-January. Mitch Brewe missed the Gauchos' first three regular season games with a sprained knee, but he returned for the game at Colorado and played 18 minutes.

The Gaucho Record
UCSB enters Friday's game against South Dakota State with a 2-2 record. After opening the year with wins over Hawaii-Pacific and at UNLV, the banged-up Gauchos dropped a 71-64 decision to visiting Utah State on Nov. 16 and then a tough 76-68 game at Colorado on Nov. 21. In the game against the Buffaloes, UCSB actually had a 54-52 lead with a little more than five minutes to play despite playing without Alan Williams and John Green.

UCSB Battles Colorado, Falls 76-68
Taran Brown scored a career-high 23 points and made a career-high seven three-point baskets and freshman point guard Eric Childress had 10 points, six assists and three steals, but it wasn't quite enough as UCSB lost 76-68 on Nov. 21 at Colorado. The Gauchos took a 54-52 lead on Brown's seventh three-pointer with just over five minutes to play, but the Buffaloes, picked to finish among the top three in the Pac 12, used a 24-14 run the rest of the way to put the game on ice. Playing without leading scorer and rebounder Alan Williams, UCSB had little room for error. The Gauchos played the final four minutes of the game with two point guards and three wings on the court. Sophomore post players Sam Beeler and Mitch Brewe had both fouled out of the game with about four minutes to play. CU had a decisive free throw advantage as Santa Barbara was forced to foul in the final minutes. The Buffaloes were 28-of-36 from the line while UCSB was a mere 5-of-8. As a team, the Gauchos shot a solid 50.0% overall while holding Colorado to 44.0%. Michael Bryson added 12 points. The Buffaloes were led by All-Pac 12 guard Spencer Dinwiddie who had 24, 14 of which were scored at the line.   

The Opposition
According to our records, UCSB and South Dakota State have played one time. The Jackrabbits defeated the Gauchos in an NCAA Tournament game on March 16, 1961 in Evansville, Ind. That year is significant for two reasons: a) it was a really long time ago, and b) it was the year of my birth. That by itself tells you it was a REALLY long time ago. UCSB and UCLA have played 19 times since the first meeting between the schools in 1946. The Bruins pieced together an 18-game winning streak in the series but that ended in the last meeting between the schools on Dec. 17, 2003 when the Gauchos recorded a 61-60 win in Westwood.

The Gauchos At Home
The Gauchos are 1-1 at home this season and went 8-6 at the Thunderdome in 2012-13. In 2011-12, they had 11 home wins, going 11-3, and equaled the highest Thunderdome win total in more than two decades. In Bob Williams' first 15+ seasons at UCSB, the team has gone 142-59 in home games, a winning percentage of .708. The Gauchos are 303-150 all-time at the Thunderdome.

Possible Starters - Quick Fact (Note: These are almost completely guesses.)
G 3 Zalmico Harmon - Has 16 assists and just 3 turnovers in the first 3 games.
G 10 Kyle Boswell - Leads the team with 11 3-pointers and now has 154 in his career.
G 24 Michael Bryson - Scored in double-figures in 3 out of the 4 games. 
F 34  Shawn Moore - Tied his career-high with 6 points at Colorado. 
F 44  Sam Beeler - Has blocked 1 shot in each of the first 4 games.

Probable Reserves - Quick Fact
G 0   Hunter Ford - Walk-on guard logged 2 minutes vs. Hawaii-Pacific.
G 1 Eric Childress - Had career-highs of 10 points, 6 assists and 3 steals at Colorado.
G 4 Aamahd Walker - Scored his first 4 career points in game vs. Utah State.
F 11 T.J. Taylor- Had surgery on both hips during offseason and may sit out 2013-14.
F 12 Alex Hart - Canadian sharpshooter will likely redshirt and has yet to enter a game.
F 15  Alan Williams - Missed game the last 2 games with back spasms. Return date is unknown.
F 20 Logan Louks- Scored a basket in his one minute stint vs. Hawaii-Pacific.
F 21 Mitch Brewe - Played 18 minutes in season debut at Colorado.
F 31  John Green - Injury to left foot has him sideline, most likely, until early January.
G 35 Taran Brown- Set career-highs with 23 points and 7 3-pointers at Colorado.
G 43  Duke DaRé - Has played 6 minutes in the last two games.

Williams In 16th Season at UCSB, Wins 250th Game 
2013-14 is Bob Williams' 16th season at the helm of the UCSB basketball program, equaling the longest tenure of any coach in program history.  Willie Wilton guided the Gauchos from 1937-43, 1946-51 and 1952-57, a total of 16 seasons. Jerry Pimm was in charge from 1983-98, 15 seasons.  Williams is the school's all-time leader in coaching victories and the win at UNLV on Nov. 12 was his 250th as UCSB's head coach. 

He'll Answer To The Name Dean
Bob Williams is not only UCSB's all-time winningest head basketball coach, he is now the Dean of Big West coaches and, with the retirement of Bob Thomason at the University of the Pacific, also has the longest tenure of any coach on the West Coast. Williams, a member of the NCAA Basketball Ethics Committee, has the longest continuous run at one school of any coach west of the Mississippi, - 16 years - the same as Utah State's Stew Morrill and Texas's Rick Barnes.

Lucky Sevens
When Taran Brown made seven three-point baskets in the Gauchos' game at Colorado on Nov. 21 it was a career-high. By making seven threes in a game, Brown joins Kyle Boswell and Michael Bryson and becomes the third current UCSB player to have made that many in a single game. Boswell made 7-of-10 three-point attempts on Dec. 6, 2012 in a game at San Diego State while Bryson was 7-for-11 on Mar. 14, 2013 in the Big West Tournament against Pacific. This marks the first time in the UCSB program's history that three players on the roster have made as many as seven three-point baskets in a single game.

Guarding The Ball
Through four games, the three Gauchos who tend to handle the ball the most are doing very efficiently. Senior Kyle Boswell, junior Zalmico Harmon and freshman Eric Childress have combined for 49 assists to this point. Each has at least 16 assists and Childress leads the way with 17. Just as impressive as the 49 combined assists, the trio has committed a mere 13 turnovers, a ratio of nearly 3.8 assists for every turnover. Harmon, in fact, leads the Big West Conference in assist-to-turnover ratio at 5.3-to-1.0.     

The Honorable Alan Williams
Junior forward Alan Williams missed the Gauchos' last two games - against Utah State on Nov. 16 and at Colorado on Nov. 21 - with back spasms. His status for Friday's game against South Dakota State will most likely be determined on the day of the game. Williams was a First Team All-Big West choice in 2012-13 after averaging 17.1 points, 10.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots per game. Early this year, he has already accumulated a solid array of preseason honors. Williams has been named Preseason All-Big West by the league's media and virtually every publication, he was selected to the Lou Henson Preseason Mid-Major All-American Team and CollegeSportsMadness.com selected him First Team Mid-Major Preseason All-American as well as Preseason Big West Player of the Year. Needless to say, expectations are high for Williams and he is off to a fast start. Williams had 27 points and a career-high tying 17 rebounds in the regular season opener against Hawaii-Pacific. The 27 points were the most scored by a Gaucho in a season-opener since 2007 and the rebounds were a season-opening record. Williams followed-up that performance with an equally as impressive 21 point, nine rebound, three blocked shot game against defending Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year Khem Birch and UNLV. With 26 rebounds in the first two games of the year, the Phoenix native has eclipsed the 500 rebound barrier with 521. Also, with five blocked shots in the first two games, Williams now has 110 in his career, fifth in school history. The double-double he posted in the first game of the season gives Williams 18 in his career. He had 15 double-doubles as a sophomore last season, the most by a Gaucho since Eric McArthur had 23 during the 1989-90 campaign.

He's The Bos
Few Gauchos struggle more when Alan Williams is sidelined than guard Kyle Boswell. Boswell has a much tougher time getting open looks when UCSB's best post player doesn't play. He had five points, five rebounds and four assists in the game at Colorado. In the game against the Buffaloes, he made just 2-of-8 shots overall and 1-for-6 from three-point range. In the two games that Williams played, Boswell averaged 14.5 points per game while making 8-of-15 shots overall and 8-of-14 from three-point range. In the last two games, he averaged 8.0 points while making 6-of-18 shots overall and 3-of-12 from outside the arc. Boswell had one of the best all-around games of his career in the Nov. 12 win at UNLV. He made 5-of-8 shots, including 5-of-7 from three-point range while adding four assists and three rebounds. At one point, he made three-point baskets on three consecutive Gaucho possessions, squelching a Runnin' Rebel rally. With 11 three-point baskets in the first four games, Boswell has 154 for his career, a figure that ranks 10th on UCSB's all-time career list. Also, he ranks second all-time in career percentage to .427, just behind Johnson's .436. His next series of targets on the three-point list are Mark Flick (162) and Branduinn Fullove (163). He has made just three two-point baskets this season, all in the last two games. Through four contests, he is tied for second on the team in assists with 16, 4.0 per game. The 16 assists are the most Boswell has had over a four-game span in his career. The reigning Big West Conference Sixth Man of the Year, he has started all four games for the Gauchos this year. 

Bryson Hopes To Continue Emergence
Sophomore Michael Bryson had 12 points in the Gauchos' game at Colorado. He made 4-of-10 shot overall and 2-of-5 from three-point range. Bryson is second on the team in scoring at 12.3 points per game and he's been in double-figures in three of the four games. He scored a season-high 15 and played a season-high 33 minutes on Nov. 16 vs. Utah State. He also tied a career-high with four assists and had a pair of blocked shots against the Aggies. Bryson, along with Kyle Boswell, are the only Gauchos to make at least one three-pointer in each of the four games. He ranks second on the team in three-point baskets with eight and made a season-high three against Utah State. Last year, in the season finale against Pacific at the Big West Tournament, Bryson made seven three-point baskets and scored a UCSB freshman record 29 points. As a freshman in 2012-13, the Sacramento native averaged 8.4 points and 3.5 rebounds overall, but his late-season surge saw him average 12.7 points while shooting 47.8% overall and 35.4% from three-point range over the final 11 games of the year. In the final 12 games, Bryson averaged 4.7 rebounds per game. 

Taran It Up
Sophomore forward Taran Brown set career-highs with 23 points and seven three-point baskets in the game at Colorado. The 23 points were three more than he had scored in the first three games of the season and it lifted his scoring average to 10.8 points per game, fourth on the team. Brown made 7-of-10 three-point attempts against the Buffaloes. His previous high of six threes came in a December game at Cal State Fullerton in 2012. Last season, Brown averaged just under 11 field goal attempts per game, but this season, the 11 he attempted against Colorado were just one more than his total after three games. His 23 attempts this season average out to just 5.7 per game. Brown was also the team's leading rebounder at Colorado with seven. He's led the Gauchos in rebounding in both of the games that Alan Williams has missed and he is averaging exactly 7.0 boards per game this season. After playing 25 minutes or less in the first three games, Brown logged a season-high 33 minutes in the last game. He has come off the bench in all four games this season after starting 30 of 31 as a freshman.

Green Sidelined With Foot Injury
John Green scored eight points and had a pair of rebounds in his season debut against Hawaii-Pacific on Nov. 8. It was Green's first regular season game in nearly two years. However, on Tuesday, Nov. 12, just a few hours before UCSB was slated to tip-off at UNLV, It was learned that Green had suffered a setback in his return after missing two full seasons with foot injuries. An x-ray, taken Nov. 7, showed a very small fracture of a bone in his left foot, sidelining him, most likely, until late-December or early-January. 

Junior Zalmico Harmon is off to a very good start as UCSB's starting point guard. A transfer from Ventura College, Harmon is second on the team in assists at 4.0 per game and he leads the team and Big West Conference in assist-to-turnover ratio at 5.3-to-1.0. Harmon has just three turnovers in 100 minutes of play. He is also averaging 5.3 points per game overall and 6.3 in the last three games. In the win at UNLV, he scored a personal-best nine points. He had a season-high of seven assists vs. Hawaii-Pacific. A stout defender, Harmon has been one of the reasons that the Gauchos' first four opponents are shooting a combined 39.0% from the field.

Chillin' With Eric
Freshman Eric Childress has joined Zalmico Harmon as the Gauchos new point guard duo. Childress has had three consecutive standout games. In the last game at Colorado, he had his best game, setting career-highs with 10 points, six assists and three steals. He made 4-of-7 shots from the field overall and 1-of-3 from three-point range. Childress now leads UCSB at 4.3 assists per game and has just four turnovers in 91 minutes. In the last three games, he is averaging 8.7 points, 5.0 assists and 2.3 steals per game. Over that span, he has made 9-of-15 field goal attempts, 60.0%. His total of eight steals leads the team.

Sam He Is
Sam Beeler fouled out in 17 minutes in UCSB's game at Colorado on Nov. 21. Beeler had just four points and no rebounds. In the previous game, vs. Utah State on Nov. 16, he played a career-high 28 minutes and scored 14 points, one shy of his career-high, and added five rebounds. One game earlier, a win at UNLV, Beeler had a career-high seven rebounds. Despite going without a rebound in the last game, Beeler is averaging 4.3 boards per game to go along with 6.5 points. An area of major improvement this season has been Beeler's performance at the free throw line. As a freshman, he hit just 11-of-32 from the line, 34.4%, but this season he is 12-of-16, 75.0%.

We Want Moore! We Want Moore! 
Senior Shawn Moore has had three straight solid games for UCSB. Moore is averaging 4.0 points  and 3.0 rebounds 5.3 points and 3.7 boards per contest. In his last outing, at Colorado, Moore tied his career-high with six points, a total he also amassed in a  win at UNLV. Finally, since not attempting a shot in the season opener against Hawaii-Pacific, Moore has made 8-of-12 in the last three games, 66.7%.

Something's Brewing
Sophomore Mitch Brewe made his return to the lineup when UCSB played at Colorado. Brewe missed the first three regular season games after spraining his left knee in the exhibition game against Cal State East Bay. Before fouling out in 18 minutes, Brewe scored four points, had two assists, one rebound and a steal. He made 2-of-3 field goal attempts, missing only from three-point range.