UCSB Travels South for Final Extended Road Trip of Season
Feb. 3, 2009
Game No. 21
Thursday, February 5, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Cal State Fullerton Titans
at Cal State Fullerton's Titan Gymnasium
Radio: KIST 1490-AM in Santa Barbara
Game No. 22
Saturday, February 7, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at UC Irvine Anteaters
at UCI's Bren Events Center
Radio: KIST 1490-AM in Santa Barbara
Gauchos Hit The Road For Final Lengthy Trip Of Season
After a brief one-game appearance at the Thunderdome, UC Santa Barbara returns to the road for a pair of games in Orange County this week. The Gauchos travel to Cal State Fullerton on Thursday night to take on the defending Big West Tournament champs, and then they will play at UC Irvine on Saturday night. Following the two-game trip, UCSB will return home for six of its final seven regular season games beginning with a Valentine's night match-up against Cal Poly. For "Date Night at the Thunderdome," fans can purchase two tickets for the price of one and the first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive commemorative "I Love You" teddy bears. Tickets for all Gaucho games can be purchased from the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, by calling 805-893-UCSB, or online by clicking here.
On The Radio
All UC Santa Barbara basketball games are broadcast live in Santa Barbara on KIST 1490-AM. KEYT-TV Sports Director Gerry Fall is in his fifth year as the play-by-play voice of the Gauchos. Former Los Angeles Lakers and UCSB star Don Ford handles the color commentary for the majority of games, home and road. When Ford is not available for road games, Bill Mahoney, yours truly, will handle the task. Steve Wendt, the voice of the UCSB women's basketball team, will handle the play-by-play for a handful of men's games.
The Gaucho Record
UCSB will enter Thursday's game at Cal State Fullerton with an 8-12 record overall and a 2-6 mark in Big West games. By the time they hit the court at Fullerton, the Gauchos will have had a week off. They last played on Jan. 29 when they dropped a 72-70 home decision to Cal State Northridge.
UCSB Set To Host Montana State In Feb. 21 ESPNU BracketBuster Match-Up
UCSB will host Montana State in an ESPNU BracketBuster game. The Gauchos will play the Bobcats on Saturday, Feb. 21 at 7:00 p.m. in the Thunderdome. Montana State enters the week with an overall record of 9-9 and a Big Sky Conference mark of 3-4. The Gauchos and Bobcats have played eight times in a series that dates back to 1972. The last time the teams met was on Nov. 24, 2007, when UCSB recorded a 76-61 victory in Santa Barbara.
The Bob Williams File
Bob Williams is in his 11th season as head coach at UC Santa Barbara. In 2007-08, Williams guided the Gauchos to a 23-9 overall record. The 23 wins were a school record, and UCSB also won its second Big West regular season title with a 12-4 conference record. Following the campaign, the Gauchos were awarded a bid to the National Invitation Tournament. It was the third time that a Williams-coached UCSB team advanced to postseason play. The 2002 Gauchos won the school's first Big West Tournament title, advancing to the NCAA Tournament, and in 2003, they won the league's regular season championship and played in the NIT. Williams has been selected Big West Coach of the Year twice, in 1998-99 and 2002-03. In 1998-99, he took over a UCSB program that had not recorded a winning season in five years, and after seeing his team lose its first eight games that year - extending a two-season losing streak to 16 straight games - the Gauchos turned things around, winning 15 of their final 20 games and finishing on top in the Big West's Western Division. Williams has a UCSB record of 171-143. He guided the program to eight winning seasons in his first 10 years, and a pair of 20 win seasons. He has a career record of 102-70 in Big West games. Prior to his arrival at UCSB, Williams 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's 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 an overall career record of 360-243 (.593) at four-year schools.
UCSB and Cal State Fullerton have played 66 times in a series that dates back to 1977. The Gauchos hold a 34-32 advantage all-time. In the first meeting between the schools this season, on Jan. 10, the Titans posted a 62-58 win. UCSB swept the season series in 2007-08, including an 87-72 win in Fullerton. The Gauchos and UC Irvine have played 70 times in a series that began in 1968. UCSB holds a 42-28 all-time edge. On Jan. 8, the Gauchos posted a 68-61 win over the Anteaters at the Thunderdome. The victory ended UCI's four-game winning streak in the series, a streak that included Big West Tournament wins in each of the last two seasons.
Possible Starters - Notes
G - 1 - D.J. Posley - Has four assists in four of the last six games.
G - 4 - Paul Roemer - After missing three games, played 20 minutes on Jan. 29 vs. CSUN.
G - 20 - Will Brew, Jr. - Did not attempt a shot in 17 minutes vs. CSUN on Jan. 29.
F - 0 - Jaimé Serna - Scored a career-high 11 points in Jan. 29 game vs. CSUN.
F - 10 - Chris Devine - Had third double-double of season with 16 points, 12 boards vs. CSUN.
Possible Reserves - Notes
G - 2 - Nick Quick - Played a career-high seven minutes on Jan. 24 at Pacific.
G - 3 - Jordan Weiner - Ranks second on the team with 18 three-point baskets.
G - 21 - James Nunnally - Has made at least one three-pointer in each of the last two games.
G - 42 - James Powell - Made all four of his three-point attempts on Jan. 29 vs. CSUN.
F - 15 - Sam Phippen - Recorded his first DNP of the season on Jan. 29 vs. CSUN.
F - 44 - Jesse Byrd - Had seven points in 10 minutes vs. CSUN. His first action since Dec. 20.
C - 55 - Greg Somogyi - Has just two total points in the last two games.
Byrd, Roemer Return To Gaucho Lineup
Junior forward Jesse Byrd and junior guard Paul Roemer returned to the UCSB lineup for its Jan. 29 game against Cal State Northridge. While Roemer was expected to return that early, the early return of Byrd was a nice surprise for the Gauchos. Byrd injured his knee at San Diego State on Dec. 20 and had surgery to repair cartilage on Dec. 31, was expected to be out until mid-February. Early last week, however, the transfer from San Francisco was cleared to play limited minutes and he did against the Matadors. Byrd was allowed to play about 10 minutes, and he played 10 on the button. He had seven points, making 3-of-4 field goal attempts, and added one assist. It is expected that Byrd will see his playing time limit increase in the coming games. Roemer, who missed three games with a sprained shoulder, was in the starting lineup against Northridge. He played 20 minutes and was scoreless, but had no limitations. The return of Byrd and Roemer means that the only UCSB player left on the injured list is junior point guard Justin Joyner. Joyner, the team's starting point guard in each of his first two seasons, is redshirting the 2008-09 season as he recovers from wrist surgery.
One Last, Long Trip
UCSB's trip behind the Orange Curtain this weekend will be the team's final long road trip of the 2008-09 season. The Gauchos will play at Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine this weekend, then return home. When they board the Santa Barbara Airbus for the return-trip home from Irvine on Saturday night, the Gauchos will have played 14 of their last 19 games away from home, including five of their last six and seven of their first 10 Big West Conference games. UCSB will play six of its final seven games this season at the Thunderdome. The only road trip remaining during the regular campaign is a Wed. Feb. 25 game at Cal State Northridge
In its Jan. 29 game against Cal State Northridge, the Gauchos produced 16 assists, the third-highest total of the season and the most since they had a season-high 23 on Dec. 13 against Loyola Marymount. Eight different UCSB players had at least one assist against the Matadors, four had two or more, and two - D.J. Posley and James Powell - had four.
On the season, UCSB continues to hold a very slight edge over its opponents in the rebound category. The Gauchos average 32.8 rebounds per game while opponents are taking an average of 32.4. The trend in the last four games, however, has not been a good one. Santa Barbara has been outrebounded in the last four games by an average of 6.7 per game. In fact, in the last three games, Gaucho opponents have won the battle of the boards by an average of 8.7 per game. On a positive note, the return of junior forward Jesse Byrd, the team's leading rebounder before going down with a knee injury on Dec. 20, should help UCSB make progress in the rebounding area. Although Byrd did not have a rebound in his 10 minute stint on Jan. 29, he is still averaging a team-leading 7.0 boards per game in his 12 games played this year.
Getting A Little More Offensive
Scoring 70 points in a game is hardly reason for declaring a national holiday, but for UCSB, it was a step in the right direction. Although they lost a 72-70 decision to Cal State Northridge on Jan. 29, the Gauchos showed marked improvement from their previous game, a 58-36 loss at Pacific on Jan. 24. UCSB 41.5% of its field goal attempts in the game against Cal State Northridge, up from a season-low 28.6% at Pacific. Perhaps the greatest area of optimism after the game against the Matadors was the improvement in three-point shooting. After making just 4-of-30 in its previous two games, the Gauchos made 8-of-14 against Northridge for a season-best 57.1%. They were led by junior James Powell who made all four of his attempts in the game.
Defending Their Honor
The Gauchos' defense continues to be relatively solid. In their last game, against Cal State Northridge, they held the Matadors to 41.1% shooting overall and just 29.4% from three-point territory. Despite losing the last two games, UCSB has held its last two opponents - CSUN and Pacific - to an average of 65.0 points, a field goal percentage of 40.2%, and a three-point percentage of 30.8%. In addition, the Gauchos harassed Northridge into 21 turnovers. It was the fourth time that an opponent had 20 or more turnovers in a game this season. Overall, UCSB opponents are shooting 44.9% overall, 36.7% from three-point range and are averaging 65.7 points per game. Five of the last six opponents have been held to 43.6% from the field or below.
A Fresh Approach
When UCSB played four freshmen in the season-opener against Cal State Los Angeles, it was the first time that four freshmen had played in the same game for the Gauchos since the 2000-01 season. The four freshmen, guards James Nunnally and Will Brew, Jr., forward Jaimé Serna, and center Greg Somogyi have each played in all 20 games. In the Big West Conference opener at Long Beach State, they started three of the freshmen - Nunnally, Brew and Somogyi - also a first since the 2000-01 season. In 2000-01, the Gauchos started Branduinn Fullove, Jacoby Atako, and Nick Jones together on several occasions. Brew, Nunnally, and Serna have been in the starting lineup together four times this season.
Freshmen Block Party
The Gauchos have blocked 51 shots on the season, an average of 2.5 per game. Freshman Greg Somogyi leads the way with 28, 54.9% of the team total. Somogyi, however is not the only freshman getting into the shot-blocking act. Jaimé Serna ranks second on the team with eight, while James Nunnally has three, and Will Brew, Jr., has two. Combined the first-year foursome has 41 of the team's 51 swats, an impressive 80.4%.
A New Start
Last season, only seven UCSB players started games and the Gauchos had just three different starting lineups. In 2008-09, 11 different players have started games while UCSB has trotted out eight different starting fives.
Chris Devine had one of his best all-around performances in the Jan. 29 game against Cal State Northridge. Devine had 16 points and a season-high 12 rebounds against the Matadors. It was his third double-double of the season - he had 17 points and 11 rebounds vs. Cal State Los Angeles and 12 points and 10 rebounds vs. Winston-Salem State - and the 12th of his career. On the year, Devine is now averaging 14.6 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. The 16 points he scored against Northridge pulled him into a tie with Lucius Davis for fifth on UCSB's all-time scoring list with 1,420. If, and when, he scores 15 more points this season, he would move past Doug Rex and into fourth on the all-time list. In addition, the 12 rebounds gives Devine 646 for his career, tying him for seventh all-time. He needs 19 to move into fifth all-time. He is already one of just five players to appear on the top-10 lists for rebounds and points. He also stands to become one of two players - Doug Rex is the other - to rank among the top-five in both categories. While he is averaging 14.6 points per game overall, Devine has tallied 189 in the last 12 games, 15.7 per game. Over that span he scored in double-figures 10 times, including a stretch of eight straight games. He has also scored 20 or more four times this season, including three times during the current 12 game run. He had a season-high 27 points on Jan. 22 at UC Davis. Devine opened league play with back-to-back 20 point games for the only time this season. He tallied 20 on Jan. 2 at Long Beach State and he went for 24 on Jan. 4 at UC Riverside. The Eagle River, Alaska-native has had seven or more rebounds in seven of the last nine games, averaging 7.6 per game over that span.
Old Buddy, Old Powell
After scoring just 15 points in a three-game stretch, junior guard James Powell bounced back with a solid effort off the bench on Jan. 29 against Cal State Northridge. Playing as a reserve for the first time since the 2006-07 season, Powell made all four of his three-point attempts and had 14 points. He added four rebounds, four assists, and one steal against the Matadors. Overall, Powell is averaging 11.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. In three games prior to the 14-point effort against Northridge, he made just 5-of-19 shots overall, 26.3%, and 1-of-9 from three-point range, 11.1%. Powell has struggled with his shooting all season, and on Jan. 24 against Pacific he missed all four of his field goal attempts, including three three-pointers, and was scoreless for the first time since Dec. 28, 2006 - his freshman season. Prior to scoring a total of 15 in three games, Powell had scored in double-figures in five straight, his longest streak this season. He tallied his season-high of 22 on Nov. 24 at San Francisco and had back-to-back 19-point games on Jan. 8 and Jan. 10 against UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton respectively. Powell is averaging 15.0 points per game at home and 8.6 per game away from home. On the year, he continues to lead the Gauchos in three-point baskets with 36 and he has made at least one in 17 of 20 games. He has made 153 career three-point baskets, seventh most in school history. He needs 11 to move into fifth all-time. Powell made a season-best six on Nov. 24 at San Francisco. He had a season-high five assists on Jan. 2 at Long Beach State and a career-high seven rebounds on Nov. 14 against Cal State Los Angeles. Finally, Powell enters the Cal State Fullerton game with 871 career points and needs 129 to become the 23rd Gaucho to hit the 1,000 point mark.
A Byrd In The Lineup Is Better Than One On The Mend
Junior forward Jesse Byrd injured his knee in the Dec. 20 game at San Diego State. He was expected to be out until mid-February, but he was cleared to play early last week and, although limited to 10 minutes, he played in the game against Cal State Northridge. Byrd made 3-of-4 shots and his only free throw attempt to finish with seven points. He did not have a rebound, but just having him in the lineup was a boost for UCSB. Prior to the Northridge game, he had at least five rebounds in every appearance he had made this season. Byrd is now averaging 8.2 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Despite going without a rebound against the Matadors, he has the highest rebound average on the team. Also, the transfer from San Francisco paces the Gauchos in field goal percentage at 59.1%. Byrd has a pair of double-doubles this season. On Dec. 17 at Weber State he had 10 points and 14 rebounds. The 14 rebounds were the most by a Gaucho in five seasons. He also had 13 points and 12 rebounds on Dec. 4 at Utah Valley. In the five games prior to his injury, the transfer from San Francisco averaged 10.4 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.
Freshman forward Jaimé Serna scored a career-high 11 points and added five rebounds on Jan. 29 against Cal State Northridge. Serna made 3-for-9 from the field and 5-for-7 from the free throw line. The field goal and free throw attempts were also personal-highs. Serna, who has started the last five games, is now averaging 5.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. In the last three games, he is averaging 8.7 points per game. Twice in the last three games, he has set a new career-high. Serna had nine on Jan. 22 at UC Davis. On Jan. 10 against Cal State Fullerton, he made his first start and tied his personal best with seven rebounds while playing a career-high 32 minutes. He has seven rebounds three times this season. Finally, while Serna is averaging 19.0 minutes per game, he has played 20 or more in six of the last eight, averaging 23.0 per game over that span.
The Hungary Hunter
Since scoring a career-high 14 on Jan. 22 at UC Davis, freshman center Greg Somogyi has struggled offensively. In the last two games, the native of Budapest has totaled two points. He was 1-for-4 in 10 minutes on Jan. 29 against Cal State Northridge. In two games prior to a scoreless game at Pacific, Somogyi tallied 22 points, 11.0 per game. On the year, he is averaging 4.2 points and 2.7 rebounds per game. While he was scoreless on Jan. 24 at Pacific, Somogyi did have five rebounds in 15 minutes. The five rebounds were the most he has collected since he had a career-high six on Nov. 28 against Winston-Salem State. Somogyi continues to lead the Gauchos in blocked shots with 28, the second most by a UCSB freshman ever. He had a career-high five on Dec. 20 at San Diego State, and he has blocked at least one shot in nine of the last 10 and 16 of 20.
Strike A Posley
Senior guard D.J. Posley tied his career-high by playing 31 minutes on Jan. 29 against Cal State Northridge. Posley had nine points, four rebounds, four assists, and two steals against the Matadors. He continues to lead the Gauchos in assists at 2.6 per game. He is also averaging 6.5 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game. Posley scored a career-high 17 points on Jan. 17 at Cal Poly and has averaged 8.5 points per game in the last four. On Jan. 17 at Cal Poly, he was 6-for-9 from the floor and bettered his career scoring high by seven points. He also had a career-high seven rebounds against the Mustangs. His previous career high of 10 came on Dec. 17 at Weber State. With four assists in the game against Northridge, Posley has now had four or more assists seven times this year, including four times in the last six games. Finally, while he is shooting 39.2% from the field, he has hit 18-of-36 in the last six games, 50.0%.
The Flying Nunnally
Freshman James Nunnally came off the bench and had five points, one rebound, and a pair of assists on Jan. 29 against Cal State Northridge. On Jan. 24, he led the Gauchos in scoring at Pacific with nine points to go along with five rebounds, one assist, and one steal. The nine-points equaled Nunnally's third highest total of the season. While he is shooting 41.4% for the season, he has not been up-to-par with his shooting in recent games. In the last six games, Nunnally has made 10-of-33 shots overall, 30.3%. Over that same span, he made 3-for-13 from thee-point range, 23.1%. He is now averaging 6.3 points and 3.2 rebounds per game overall. Nunnally has had three or more rebounds in five of the last six games and he has had five or more five times this season. Also, while he has attempted 47 free throws this season, 31 have come in the last nine games. Although he came off the bench on Jan. 29 against Northridge, Nunnally has made seven starts this season. In his first start, Dec. 29 against Ball State, he had 12 points and six rebounds. He had career-highs of 22 points and seven rebounds on Nov. 21 against North Carolina.
Where There's A Will, There's A Way
In five games since scoring a career-high 18 points against UC Irvine, freshman guard Will Brew, Jr., has scored a total of just eight points. However, in the last five games, a span of 111 minutes, Brew has attempted just 12 shots, one every 9.2 minutes of action. On Jan. 29 against Cal State Northridge, he played 17 minutes and, for the first time this season, did not attempt a shot. He was scoreless with one assist and one steal against the Matadors. Brew has started 12 of the last 13 games. On the year, he is averaging 3.8 points, 1.8 assists, 2.0 rebounds, and 1.0 steals per game. He has scored in double-figures twice, going for 11 on Dec. 4 at Utah Valley in addition to his outburst against UCI. Brew has 75 points on the year, 29 coming in those two games. In the game against UCI, he made 6-of-7 three-point attempts, including six in a row to start the game. He now has 12 three-pointers on the year, tied for third on the team. On Jan. 8 against UCI, he not only had 18 points, but he tied his career-high with five rebounds. He had a season-high five assists on Nov. 17 against Utah State and he has had three or more six times.
Roemer Wasn't Healed In A Day
Junior guard Paul Roemer returned to the lineup on Jan. 29. He had missed three games with a shoulder injury. Roemer was in the starting lineup, but missed both of his shots and did not score against the Matadors. After starting the first seven games of the season, Roemer came off the bench for eight in a row, until making a start in the last game. He is averaging 3.5 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game. He scored a season-high 11 on Nov. 28 against Winston-Salem State.
Sophomore guard Jordan Weiner had six points, on two three-point baskets, on Jan. 29 against Cal State Northridge. Weiner has made at least one three-point basket in four straight games and is second on the team with 18 this season. In fact, Weiner's last 11 baskets have come from three-point range and 50 of his 57 field goal attempts this year are three-point attempts. He scored a career-high 14 on Jan. 17 at Cal Poly, making four three-pointers in the process. He also had 11 on Dec. 29 against Ball State.
Sam He Is
Sam Phippen did not play in the Jan. 29 game against Cal State Northridge, his first DNP of the year. On Jan. 24, at Pacific, he scored three on a three-pointer and is now 5-for-10 from three-point range this year. Phippen is now averaging 2.4 points and 1.5 rebounds per game and has scored 46 points in 19 games after tallying just seven points in 15 games last year.