Gauchos Remain on the Road, Travel to Cal State Fullerton on Saturday

Gauchos Remain on the Road, Travel to Cal State Fullerton on Saturday

Jan. 11, 2008

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The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara enters Saturday's game at Cal State Fullerton with an overall record of 12-4 and a Big West record of 1-2. Since opening the year with a 10-1 record, the Gauchos have dropped three of their last five games, including two in a row for the first time this season. Since beginning Big West play with a win over Long Beach State, UCSB has dropped consecutive games to Cal State Northridge, and on Thursday night at UC Irvine.

Late Rally Not Enough, UCSB Loses 66-63 at UC Irvine
A furious late rally was not enough for UCSB on Thursday night, as the Gauchos dropped a 66-63 decision at UC Irvine. The Anteaters led Santa Barbara by a 61-43 score with just under 10 minutes to play before things turned around. UCSB outscored UCI 20-3 over a nine-minute span to cut the lead to 64-63, and had two opportunities to take the lead, but could not convert. Patrick Sanders, who finished with a game-high 16 points, made a pair of free throws with less than a second to play to give his team its final 66-63 edge. Alex Harris, the leading scorer in the Big West, was held to a season-low 15 points for the Gauchos. Sophomore guard Paul Roemer, who keyed the UCSB rally with a pair of three-point baskets, finished with a career-high 12 points, all on three-pointers. Both teams shot well from beyond the three-point arc with the Gauchos making 10-of-21, 47.6%, and the Anteaters draining 8-of-16, 50.0%. UCI outrebounded UCSB by a 35-26 count, including 13 offensive rebounds. Anteater center Darren Fells had a game-high 13 rebounds.

Probable Starters - Notes
G - Justin Joyner - Has 40 assists and 14 turnovers in the last nine games.
G - Alex Harris - Has 1,394 career points, needs six to move into sixth all-time 18 to move into fifth.
G - D.J. Posley - Tied his second-highest point total with six at UC Irvine.
F - Chris Devine - Suffering from the flu, struggled to seven points, three boards at UC Irvine.
F - Ivan Elliott - Averaged 11.7 points and 8.0 rebounds in last four games.

Probable Reserves - Notes
G - Nick Quick - Has attempted seven shots in just 10 minutes of action.
G - Jordan Weiner - All eight of his baskets this season have been three-pointers.
G - Paul Roemer - Scored a career-high 12 points, all on three-pointers, at UC Irvine.
G - James Powell - Has made just 6-of-20 from the field in the last two games.
F - Nedim Pajevic - Attempted a season-high three three-pointers at UC Irvine.
F - Sam Phippen - Tied season-high with one steal in win over LBSU.
F - Beau Gibb - Recorded his first DNP of the season at UC Irvine.

The Bob Williams File
Bob Williams is in his 10th season as the head coach at UC Santa Barbara. Last year his team recorded an overall record of 18-11 and a Big West mark of 9-5. The 18 wins were the most regular season wins by a Gaucho team since 1991-92 and it equaled the second most wins a Williams-coached UCSB team has ever had. Williams has led Santa Barbara to winning records in five of the last six seasons, the only exception being a 2004-05 team that was ravaged by injuries. He has guided UCSB to a pair of postseason appearances. In 2002-03, the Gauchos went 18-14 overall and 14-4 in league. The 2002-03 Big West mark earned Santa Barbara its first-ever Big West regular season championship along with a trip to the postseason National Invitation Tournament. Additionally, the success earned Williams his second Big West Coach of the Year award, his first coming after an impressive 1999 campaign. In 2001-02, Williams guided UCSB to its first Big West Conference Tournament title ever and first NCAA Tournament appearance in 12 years. Including this season, Williams' UCSB teams have posted a 152-126 (.549) overall record and an 86-59 (.589) record in Big West games. Prior to his arrival at UCSB, he spent eight years at UC Davis and in those eight years, his teams recorded 20 or more wins five times and a 158-76 record. In Williams' final season, the Aggies went 31-2, won the NCAA Division II National Championship and he was named NABC Division II Coach of the Year. Including two seasons at Menlo College, Williams has a record of 341-226 (.602) at four-year schools.

The Gauchos and Titans
UCSB and Cal State Fullerton have played 63 times in a series that dates back to 1977. The Gauchos hold a narrow 32-31 advantage over the Titans. The teams split a pair of games in 2006-07 with each team winning on its own floor. The Gauchos defeated Fullerton at the Thunderdome, 84-76, and then the Titans won in Orange County, 79-73. When UCSB won the first game between the schools last year, it ended a five-game Titan winning streak in the series.

The Gauchos on the Road
After dropping Thursday's game at UC Irvine, the Gauchos are 3-3 in true road games this season. Two of the road losses were at nationally ranked opponents, Nov. 11 at Stanford and Dec. 22 at North Carolina. UCSB road wins this season have come at Loyola Marymount, Ball State and Eastern Washington. In addition to the three road victories, the Gauchos won neutral court games over Harvard and Northwestern State In 2006-07, the Gauchos recorded an all-time best 10-4 record on the road. Dating to the 2005-06 season, UCSB has gone 17-8 in its last 25 true road games.

The Defense Rests
With few exceptions, UCSB's defense was very good through the first 13 games of the year. One exception was a Dec. 22 game at North Carolina when the Tar Heels scored 105 points and shot 57.1% against the Gauchos, but let's be realistic, that was North Carolina. The last three games, two of which were losses, UCSB's defense has not been as stellar as it had been for most of the first 13. On Thursday night at UC Irvine, the Anteaters made 26-of-53 shots overall, 49.1%, and 8-of-16 from three-point territory, 50.0%. On the season, opponents are shooting 43.6% overall and 31.3% from beyond the three-point arc, but in the last three games they have made 80 out of 164 attempts overall, 48.8%, and 28-of-57 from three-point territory, 49.1%.

The Return of the Three Pointer
Following a three-game hiatus, the three-point shot returned as an important part of UCSB's offensive attack. Despite the loss at UC Irvine, the Gauchos made a solid 10 out of 21 three-point shots, 47.6%. In the three games prior to the game against the Anteaters, Santa Barbara made just 14-of-49 from outside the three-point half moon, 28.6%. Thursday's three-point parade was led by an unlikely source, sophomore guard Paul Roemer. Through the first 15 games, Roemer made 6-of-23 three-point attempts, 26.1%, but against UCI, he made 4-of-5, 80.0%, including his first four in succession. In addition, junior guard D.J. Posley, who had made just 4-of-14 entering the game, made his only attempt. For the season, the Gauchos have now made 123 three-point baskets, 7.7 per game. In 2006-07, they made 184, 6.3 per outing. A note of interest, on Jan. 5 against Cal State Northridge, UCSB missed all nine of its three-point attempts in the second half against the Matadors. That was the only half this season in which the Gauchos have not made at least one three-point basket.

Continuing a Turnover Trend...Barely
UCSB needed a surge of UC Irvine turnovers in the closing minutes, but with the Anteaters committing 16 on Thursday night, including 10 in the second half and eight in the final 10 minutes, no Gaucho opponent has had fewer than 16 in a game this season. UCSB opponents are still committing an average of 19.6 per game in 2007-08, an increase of 6.2 per game over the 13.4 per game it forced in 2006-07. Last year, a Gaucho opponent had 20 or more turnovers just once, 21 by Pepperdine in a double overtime game. In 2007-08, UCSB has forced 20 or more turnovers eight times in 16 games. On Jan. 3, Long Beach State had 22 turnovers and no Gaucho opponent has had fewer than 16 miscues in a game, the total that top-ranked North Carolina, nationally-ranked Stanford, Eastern Washington,, Cal State Northridge, and of course UC Irvine, each produced. The highest total by an opponent this season was the 28, on Nov. 9 by Northwestern State.

Alex Harris
Senior guard Alex Harris continues to lead the Gauchos and the Big West in scoring at 21.7 points per game. Despite scoring a season-low 15 in Thursday's loss at UC Irvine, Harris led UCSB. In his 15 games this season (He missed one with an injured left thumb.), Harris has either led for tied for the team-lead in scoring 14 times. In his last game against Cal State Fullerton, on Feb. 22, 2007, he went for a career-high 35 points. Harris' season-high this year was a 29-point performance on Nov. 24 against Montana State. He has scored 25 or more five times in his 15 games this year, most recently on Jan. 5 when he had exactly 25 against Cal State Northridge. Harris enters the game against the Titans with 1,394 career points and needs just six to move past York Gross and into sixth on the all-time list. In addition, he needs just 17 to pass Branduinn Fullove who is currently in the fifth spot. In Thursday's game at UC Irvine, Harris added four rebounds and three assists. He has now had at least four rebounds in two straight and five times in the last six games. He has had three or more assists four times this season, all in the last six games. Finally, by making 2-of-3 from three-point range, Harris has now gone 38-of-72 on the season, 52.8%, but in 12 games since missing the Gauchos' home opener against Cal Poly Pomona, he has made 34 out of 58 three-point attempts, 58.6%, and in the last nine games he made 23-of-35, 65.7%.

Chris Devine
After having two of his best overall games of the season, junior forward Chris Devine struggled in Thursday's game at UC Irvine. Devine, who has been suffering from a bad case of the flu, somehow got through 29 minutes. He scored seven points and had three rebounds. The point total was the second lowest of the season for the native of Alaska and three rebounds were his fewest since he went without a rebound on Nov. 10 against Harvard. In 13 second half minutes against the Anteaters, Devine was scoreless and had just one shot. In the game, however, he hid have three assists, his second highest total of the season, a blocked shot and a pair of steals. Devine is now averaging 13.4 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, both second on the team. He has been in double-figures 12 times in 15 games. Prior to Thursday, he had collected at least seven rebounds in three straight games. Despite his troubles against the Anteaters, Devine has still made 19 out of 31 shots over the past four games, 61.3%.

James Powell
Sophomore guard James Powell had one of worst games of the season on Thursday night. Powell made just 2-of-8 shots from the field and finished with five points. While he is now averaging 10.6 points per game, he has had his troubles shooting the ball in the last two. In losses to Cal State Northridge and UC Irvine, Powell made just 6-of- 20 shots overall, 30.0%, and 2 out of 10 from three-point territory, 20.0%. He remains second on the team with 29 three-point baskets and his scoring total ranks him third. The Pomona native has scored 10 or more nine times in 16 games, this season, all in the last 13 games. A week ago, in the loss to Northridge, Powell did tie his career-high with six assists and in the league opener against Long Beach State, he tied his career-high with three steals.

Justin Joyner
Sophomore point guard Justin Joyner equaled his assist average on Thursday night with four in the loss to UC Irvine. Joyner entered the week leading the Big West in assist-to-turnover ratio. He now has a 2.1-to-1.0 assist to turnover ratio for the season. He has had four or more assists in three straight games and eight times in the last 10 games. Joyner had a season-high seven assists on Dec. 7 against Utah Valley. Interestingly, he has had more turnovers than assists just one time this year, Nov 11 at Stanford when he had two assists and four turnovers. Joyner has had the same total of assists and turnovers three other times, but just once in the first 16 games has he had more turnovers than assists. In addition to four assists, he had two points and a pair of steals on Thursday night. Joyner, who led the Gauchos in steals as a freshman, now has 17 on the year, including six in the last three games.

Ivan Elliott
Senior forward Ivan Elliott scored 12 points and added team-highs of six rebounds and two blocked shots in Thursday night's game at UC Irvine. Elliott, who is now averaging 9.6 points and a team-leading 6.0 rebounds and 1.1 blocked shots per game, has scored in double-figures in a season-high four straight games and six times in the last eight games. In the last four, he is averaging 11.7 points and 8.0 rebounds per. Elliott has made 19 out of his 32 field goal attempts in the last four, 59.4%, and he now leads the team's regulars at 53.9%. Overall, he has scored 10 or more points nine times, including eight times in the last 11 games. Elliott has also become one of the team's top three-point shooters. He made both of his attempts against the Anteaters and has now drained 17-of-32 on the year, 53.1%, including 13 of his last 23, 56.5%. Finally, Elliott is averaging exactly 6.0 rebounds per game and has had six or more 11 times, including each of the last seven games.

Nedim Pajevic
Senior forward Nedim Pajevic scored four points , had five rebounds and a pair of assists on Thursday night at UC Irvine. The graduate of Newport Harbor High School, playing in front of a number of friends and family, made just 2-of-8 shots overall and missed all three of his three-point attempts. The five rebounds he collected, however, were the most he has had in six games and by passing off for two assists, he has now had two or more in four straight games and 11 times this season. Pajevic is now averaging 6.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game. Although battling a sore knee, he played 18 minutes on Thursday night, his highest total in four games.

D.J. Posley
Junior guard D.J. Posley scored six points, had two rebounds and one steal on Thursday night. He made his only three-point attempt and it pulled UCSB to within one point late in the game. The six points were his second highest total of the year and his highest since he had a season-high seven on Dec. 5 against Pepperdine. The successful three-point attempt was Posley's first after five straight misses over four games and his fifth of the year. He is now averaging 3.2 points per game, a figure that is at its highest point all year. His 19 steals rank second on the team and he has had at least one in 13 of 16 games this season.

Paul Roemer
Sophomore guard Paul Roemer scored a career-high 12 points, on a career-high four three-point baskets, to help bring UCSB back form an 18-point deficit on Thursday night at UC Irvine. Roemer's previous career-high was a 10-point effort in the opener on Nov. 9 against Northwestern State. A valuable reserve guard, he has played at least eight minutes in all 16 games and 11 or more in 15 of 16. Roemer played 20 minutes against the Anteaters, equaling his second highest total of the year. The 12 points he tallied on Thursday were the same total that he had produced in six games prior. Roemer is now averaging 2.9 points per game. He also had a pair of assists against UC Irvine and has now had two in each of the last three games and four times in the last five games. Finally, Roemer's 4-of-5 three-point effort was easily the best of his career. Previously, he had a high of two three-point baskets, once each against Northwestern State and Cal Poly Pomona. The four threes on Thursday equal the total he had produced in the previous 14 games.

On the Horizon
UCSB will remain on the road for one more week. The Gauchos travel to Cal Poly on Saturday, Jan. 19 in their only game of the week. The contest, which will tip at 7:00 p.m., will be part of a doubleheader as the UCSB and Cal Poly women's teams will play at 4:00 p.m.