Gauchos Travel South to Face Cal State Northridge Saturday on Prime Ticket

Zalmico Harmon and Alan Williams (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Zalmico Harmon and Alan Williams (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

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• Coming Up
Game No. 16

Saturday, January 18, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Cal State Northridge Matadors

at CSUN's Matadome - Northridge, Calif.
Radio: AM 1290 KZSB in Santa Barbara
TV: Fox Sports Prime Ticket 
On-Line Audio:

Game No. 17
Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at UC Riverside Highlanders

at UCR's SRC Arena - Riverside, Calif.
Radio: AM 1290 KZSB in Santa Barbara
On-Line Video: BigWest.TV
On-Line Audio:

The Gaucho Record
UCSB enters Saturday's game against Cal State Northridge with an overall an overall record of 10-5 and a Big West mark of 1-1. After dropping its conference opener on Jan. 11 to Cal Poly, the Gauchos bounced back with a 64-51 Thunderdome win over Long Beach State on Thursday night. It was the first win over the 49ers in a regular season game since 2010. Santa Barbara has now won four of its last five and seven of nine.

UCSB Nearing 2012-13 Win Total
In winning its 10th game of the regular season on Thursday night, the Gauchos have closed to within one of equaling their win total of last season. The injury-riddled 2012-13 campaign saw UCSB win just 11 games and lose 20. 

Two Of Next Three Games Set For Prime Ticket
Two of the next three UCSB games will be aired on Fox Sports Prime Ticket as part of the Big West Conference's television package. The Gauchos game at Northridge on Saturday and then their game at Cal State Fullerton a week later on Jan. 25 will both be televised live

Gauchos Bounce Back With Defensive Win Over Long Beach State
UCSB bounced back from a loss in its Big West opener with a 64-51 win over visiting Long Beach State on Thursday night. Michael Bryson had 13 points while Alan Williams added 12 points and 15 rebounds, and Mitch Brewe scored a career-high 12 to lead the way. Bryson also flirted with a double-double as he pulled down nine rebounds. The Gauchos won despite having a season-high 19 turnovers. They did so with a stingy defense that limited the 49ers to 29.9% shooting from the field and just 18.5% from three-point range. UCSB, on the other hand, made 50.9% of its shots overall and 40.0% from three-point territory. Zalmico Harmon had one of his best all-around games with seven points, four rebounds, two steals and nine assists. The nine assists were one shy of his career-high. Mike Caffey led Long Beach with a game-high 21 points.

Possible Starters - Quick Fact 
G 3 Zalmico Harmon - Had nine assists vs. Long Beach State, one fewer than his career-high...Leads the Big West at 5.4 assists per game.
G 35 Taran Brown - Has had two blocked shots in each of the last two games...Made a three vs. Long Beach State, his first in five games.
F 21 Mitch Brewe - Set a career-high with 12 points in win over 49ers...Made two three-pointers and is now 5-for-7 on the season.
F 15  Alan Williams - Had his seventh double-double with 12 points, 15 boards vs. LBSU...Averaging league-leading 23.3 ppg and 11.4 rpg.
G 24 Michael Bryson - Had best game since missing Dec. 20 game at Utah State with sore back...13 points, nine rebounds, 6-of-8 FGs vs. LBSU.

Probable Reserves - Quick Fact
G 1 Eric Childress - Has had at least three assists in four straight and nine times this season.
G 4 Aamahd Walker - Missed the last two games with a sprained ankle and is not expected to play at Northridge.
G 10 Kyle Boswell - Made at least one three in all 15 games and has 188 in his career...Moved past James Nunnally (Atlanta Hawks) into 6th all-time.
F 31  John Green - Injury to left foot has him sideline, most likely, until late January or early February.
F 34  Shawn Moore - Logged just three minutes vs. Long Beach, fewest since he played season-low two at San Diego on Dec. 15.
F 44  Sam Beeler - Tied his season-high with two blocked shots in nine minutes vs. Long Beach State.

The Opposition
UCSB and Cal State Northridge have played 46 times with the Gauchos winning 31 times. The teams split a pair of games last season with each team winning on the others' home court. The Matadors won 75-69 in Santa Barbara while the Gauchos won in the San Fernando Valley, 83-74. UCSB has won four of the last five games. 

The Gauchos On The Road
The Gauchos are 3-3 in true road games this season and 5-3 overall in games away from home. They have won their last two games away from the Thunderdome, defeating Western Illinois at Logan, Utah on Dec. 21 and Seattle on the road on Dec. 30. The five wins away from home are two more than UCSB won all of last season.

You Can Call Him The Dean
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 and the longest of any current Division I coach west of the Mississippi.  Willie Wilton guided the Gauchos from 1937-43, 1946-51 and 1952-57, a total of 16 seasons. He shares the same 16-year tenure as Utah State's Stew Morrill and Rick Barnes of Texas.

A Rebounding Rebound
UCSB has outrebounded its last three opponents, The Master's, Cal Poly and Long Beach State, by 17, 11 and 14 rebounds respectively. The margins are the three largest of the year for the Gauchos and they have pushed them into the rebounding black for the first time since mid-November. UCSB is now outrebounding its opponents by 1.7 rebounds per game. Overall, the Gauchos have outrebounded eight opponents and have been outrebounded seven times.

Milestone Watch
Junior Alan Williams eclipsed 600 rebounds in the Gauchos' Dec. 30 win at Seattle, becoming just the 11th player in school history to do so. On Thursday vs. Long Beach State, he passed James Nunnally (Atalanta Hawks) and moved into ninth all-time with 643. With 22 more boards, Williams will shoot past three more players and move into sixth all-time. With 135 blocked shots, Williams is fourth in school history and needs 20 to move past Doug Muse into third. He Also needs 10 points to become the 26th UCSB player to score 1,000 career points. Senior Kyle Boswell has made 45 three-pointers this season and now has 188 in his career. He needs just nine to move into third on UCSB's all-time list. Also, Boswell needs 160 points to surpass 1,000 in his career. 

A Magic Number
UCSB has allowed fewer than 70 points nine times in 2013-14 and has gone 9-0 in those games. On Thursday vs. Long Beach State, the Gauchos allowed 51 points, the second lowest opponent total of the season. On Dec. 30 at Seattle, UCSB allowed exactly 70 points and won. It was the first time they have won a game when allowing 70 or more, losing the other five. It also works the other way around. When the Gauchos hold opponents below 70 points they are 9-0.  

Playing The Percentages 
UCSB's had its biggest field goal differential vs. an opponent on Thursday night when it made 50.9% from the floor and limited Long Beach State to 29.9%, a difference of 21.0%. The 29.9% by the 49ers was the lowest opponent field goal percentage of the season. It was the seventh time that a Gaucho opponent has been below 40.0% for the season and it was the eighth time they were over 50.0% on the offensive end.

Double-Double, Toil And Trouble
With 12 points and 15 rebounds on Thursday night, Alan Williams now has seven double-doubles on the season and 24 in his career. He has double-doubles in three straight and four of the last five games. Williams is one of three UCSB players who has recorded a double-double this season. On Dec. 3 at UCLA, Michael Bryson had 15 points and 10 rebounds and on Jan. 4, Mitch Brewe had 11 points and 10 rebounds against Hawaii-Pacific. Bryson came tantilizingly close on Thursday night against Long Beach State when he had 13 points and nine boards. 

Brewe Joins The Three Amigos
For the most part, when it comes to three-pointers, UCSB has been dependant on three players: Kyle Boswell, Michael Bryson and Taran Brown. Each of the three has a career-high of seven three-pointers in a game and combined they have 89 of the teams 108 successful attempts from outside the three-point arc. Now, there is a Gaucho threatening to become the Fourth Amigo. Sophomore Mitch Brewe made both of his three-point attempts in the win over Long Beach State and has now made 5-of-7 on the year. In fact, he has made four in row since going 1-for-2 on Dec. 15 at San Diego. 

Turnover Turnaround: Not A Good Thing
UCSB played fast and loose with the ball in Thursday's win over Long Beach State. The Gauchos' 19 turnovers were the main reason the 49ers were in the game at all. It was the most turnovers committed by Santa Barbara this season, two more than the 17 at Colorado. Going a step further, the Gauchos had 12 turnovers in the first half against Long Beach, more than they've had in nine full games this season and equal to the total they had in two other games. UCSB has had 10 or fewer turnovers eight times in 2013-14 after turning the trick just twice during the 2012-13 campaign.

Pointing The Way
One of the biggest differences in UCSB this season has been its point guard play. Led by junior Zalmico Harmon, the Gaucho points have been solid almost always and outstanding at times. On Thursday against Long Beach State, Harmon had nine assists, one short of his career-high of 12 that he produced in a win over Cal. He also added seven points, four rebounds and a pair of steals. Freshman Eric Childress, playing just 10 minutes, his lowest total since Dec. 6, had three assists. On the season, Harmon leads the Big West in assists at 5.4 per game, the most by a UCSB player since Phillip Turner averaged 7.3 per game in 1994-95. Childress is at 3.2 per game. Combined, the duo is averaging 8.6 assists and just 3.3 turnovers per game, 2.6-to-1 ratio. With a team-high 21 steals, Childress needs five to move into UCSB's freshman top-10.