March 6, 2007

UCSB Ties for Second in Big West, Opens League Tournament as the Fourth Seed on Thursday Night

March 6, 2007

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The Schedule
Game No. 29
Wednesday-Saturday, March 7-11, TBA
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at the Big West Tournament
at the Anaheim Convention Center

The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara enters the Big West Tournament with an overall record of 18-10. The Gauchos finished the Big West's regular schedule with a 9-5 record, tying for second-place. Because of tiebreakers, UCSB will play as the fourth seed in the Big West Tournament. UCSB's opponent in the quarterfinals of the tourney will be either UC Irvine, Pacific or Cal State Northridge. If UC Irvine defeats UC Riverside in the first round on Wednesday, then the Gauchos would play the Anteaters. If the Highlanders upset UCI, then Santa Barbara would play the winner of the Pacific-Cal State Northridge game.

UCSB Earns First First Round Bye In Three Years
With their win over Pacific on March 1 the Gauchos clinched a bye in the first round of the 2007 Big West Tournament. The bye is UCSB's first in the tournament since the 2004 event. Santa Barbara played in the first round of both the 2005 and 2006 Big West Tournaments, winning each game before losing in the quarterfinals. The last time the Gauchos advanced to the semifinals was in 2003.

Harris Leads Gaucho All-Big West Trio
Junior guard Alex Harris, the Big West Conference's scoring leader, was named First Team All-Big West on Monday and two of his teammates, senior guard Cecil Brown and junior forward Chris Devine, were selected Second Team All-Big West. Harris, who enters this week's league tournament with a scoring average of 21.0 points per game, is the first Gaucho to be selected First Team All-Big West since 2002-03 when Branduinn Fullove and Mark Hull were each named. Brown and Devine were also selected Second Team All-Big West in 2005-06. While Brown, who missed the first five games of the regular season, is averaging 9.6 points per game overall, he really picked up steam in Big West games, averaging 11.6 points and 3.4 assists per game. Devine has been steady all season, averaging 14.5 points and 6.6 rebounds per game and scoring in double-figures 25 times in 28 games. This marks the first time since the 1970-71 season that UCSB has had three players on the first or second all-league teams. That year, Doug Rex and John Tschogl were selected first team and Ron Allen was second team. Harris, incidentally, was also chosen to the NABC's Second Team All-District 15. He is the first UCSB player since Hull in 2002-03 to earn All-District honors and just the second in the last 14 years.

Joyner, Powell Named To All-Freshman Team
Freshmen guards Justin Joyner and James Powell, a major part of UCSB's outstanding season, were each chosen to the Big West Conference's 2006-07 All-Freshman Team. Joyner, the starting point guard in 25 of UCSB's 28 games, is averaging 4.8 points per game and leads the team in assists with 81, the third most by a freshman in school history. He also paces the team with 34 steals, the second highest total by a freshman ever. Powell is scoring 8.8 points per game and is third on the team with 62 assists. His 36 three-point baskets are second on the team and the second most ever by a Gaucho freshman. Powell also ranks in the top-10 in several other freshman categories, including scoring, assists and steals. The duo are the first UCSB players to be named to the All-Freshman Team since Alex Harris was chosen in 2004-05. It also marks the first time two Gauchos have made the squad since 2000-01 when Branduinn Fullove and Nick Jones made it.

Gauchos Get Defensive, Defeat Cal State Northridge In Finale
Alex Harris capped his Big West Conference scoring championship with 25 points on Saturday to lead UC Santa Barbara to its third straight win, 75-59 over visiting Cal State Northridge, in its regular-season finale. The Matadors fell behind by as many 18 points before rallying to within 59-51 behind Calvin Chitwood's 21 points. But Harris, who will enter the post-season with a 21.0-point average, halted Northridge's run with a 3-pointer while scoring nine points in the final 5:46. Senior Cecil Brown, playing his final game at the Thunderdome, scored eight straight points to give UCSB a 12-7 lead early in the first half. He finished with 15 points and he tied his career-high with six assists while Chris Devine added 16 points for the Gauchos, who shot 52.1 percent. Glenn Turner, also playing his final home game, had six points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots. Thomas Shewmake had 14 points and nine rebounds for Northridge, which shot just 33.9 percent.

Probable Starters - Notes
G - Cecil Brown - Has averged 13.7 points and 4.3 assists in last three games.
G - Alex Harris - His 589 points this season rank him third on UCSB's all-time list.
G - Justin Joyner - His 81 assists rank third all-time among Gaucho freshmen.
F - Chris Devine - Has scored 10 or more points in 25 of 28 games.
F - Glenn Turner - Averaged 5.0 rebounds in the last 11 games.

Probable Reserves - Notes
G - James Powell - Has made 15 three-point baskets in the last eight games.
G - Paul Roemer - Has not played in either of the last three games.
G - Trevor Bing - Has not played in the last five games.
F - Ivan Elliott - Averaging 8.0 rebounds per game in the last five games.
F - Tom Garlepp - Logged just 37 minutes in 14 Big West games.
F - Emmanuel Bidias a Mouté - Has played in each of the last 16 games.
F - Beau Gibb - Has played in just one of the last 16 games.
F - David Massey - Played in only game and had only points on Nov. 13 at Montana State.

The Bob Williams File
Bob Williams is in his ninth season as the head coach at UC Santa Barbara. Last year his team overcame a slow start to finish over the .500 mark for the fourth time in five seasons. UCSB was 15-14 overall and 6-8 in the Big West. Prior to the 2004-05 season, when an injury-ravaged Gaucho team finished below .500, Williams guided the program to three straight winning seasons for the first time since the late 1980s. In 2002-03, Williams' 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 Championship ever and first NCAA Tournament appearance in 12 years. Including this season, Williams' UCSB teams have posted a 140-121 (.536) overall record and an 86-59 (.593) 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 328-221 (.597) at four-year schools.

The Gauchos vs. The Big West
UCSB could play virtually anyone in this year's Big West Tournament. Here is how the Gauchos have done against the current incarnation of league opponents.

Opponent              Record
Cal Poly              58-30
Cal State Fullerton   32-31
Cal State Northridge  26-8
Long Beach State      49-52
Pacific               46-49
UC Irvine             41-24
UC Riverside          17-4

Road Trip!
In the regular season UCSB went 10-4 in road games this year. In their last road game, the final one of the season, the Gauchos defeated UC Riverside, 68-67. The victory over the Highlanders gave Santa Barbara a new school record for true road wins in a single season. The 10 wins are one more than the previous record of nine set during the 1963-64 season when the school still competed at the NCAA College Division level. In addition to Saturday's win at Riverside, the Gauchos have logged road wins at Montana State, UNLV, Pepperdine, Portland, San Francisco, UC Irvine, Cal State Northridge and Pacific this season. They began the year with five straight true road wins for the first time since the 1987-88 campaign. The five straight road wins to open the year extended the Gauchos' road streak over two seasons to six in a row, tying a school record also set during the 1987-88 season. On Dec. 22, UCSB had its school record-tying six game road winning streak ended at the University of San Diego, 81-63 and then on Jan. 4, Long Beach State handed the Gauchos their second consecutive road loss, 101-65. UCSB bounced-back and won four consecutive road games before a Valentine's Day loss at Cal Poly. Finally, dating back to the 2005-06 season when they won four of their last five true road games, the Gauchos have gone 14-5 on the road in their last 19 games.

The Gauchos At Home
The Thunderdome was not kind to UCSB this season. The Gauchos were 8-6 at home in 2006-07 and on Saturday night they defeated Cal State Northridge, 74-59. It was their second straght home win. On Thursday, they snapped a two-game home losing streak with a 64-49 win over Pacific. After winning four straight home games, including its first two Big West games on Dec. 28 and Dec. 30 against UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton respectively, Santa Barbara lost four of its next six home appearances. Before winning on March 1, UCSB had lost two straight one-point games at home, to Long Beach State and Eastern Washington. Overall, their six home losses this season have come by a combined 23 points, 3.8 per game. On Jan. 20, Cal Poly beat Santa Barbara by 10, but the other five losses came by a combined 13 points, 2.6 points per defeat. UCSB went 9-4 in home games during the 2005-06 season. Since Bob Williams became head coach prior to the 1998-99 season, the Gauchos have gone 81-34 in home contests. The six losses this season are the most home defeats by a Williams-led Santa Barbara team.

Picked Fifth, Gauchos Surprise Some With Second-Place Finish
At last October's Big West Conference Media Day, UCSB was selected to finish in fifth-place in the league standings by both the media and the coaches. Instead, the Gauchos finished in a three-way tie for second-place with a 9-5 league record. The second-place finish is UCSB's highest since the 2002-03 team won the Big West's regular season championship.

The Most Wins Since...
The Gauchos' 18 victories are the most that they have won since the 2002-03 team also won 18. The 18 wins are the most regular season wins since the 1991-92 team won 20 regular season games. In 2002-03, UCSB won 17 regular season games before winning one in the Big West Tournament. In 2001-02, the Gauchos finished the season with a 20-11 record, but they needed three league tournament wins to get to the 20 win mark. Thus, the 18 wins are the most regular season wins since 1991-92 and the most that a Bob Williams-coached Santa Barbara team has ever achieved.

The Best Conference Record Since...
UCSB's 9-5 record in Big West play is its best since it won the Big West regular season title with a 14-4 record in 2002-03. It also marks the first time since the 2003-04 season that the Gauchos have finished over the .500 mark in league play. That year, they had a 10-8 Big West mark. In 2004-05, UCSB went 7-11 in league and last year it was 6-8.

Junior Partners
Juniors Alex Harris and Chris Devine have proven to be one of the best one-two scoring punches in UCSB history. Currently, the duo ranks second all-time on the Gauchos' one-two punch list. Harris and Devine combined for 995 points in the first 28 games, an average of 35.5 per game, slightly higher than the 34.9 per game that Lucius Davis and Idris Jones combined for in 1991-92. In UCSB's November 21 double-overtime victory over Pepperdine, Harris and Devine each eclipsed the 25-point mark, the first Santa Barbara pair to do so since Mike Doyle tallied 31 and Brian Shaw added 26 in a Feb. 25, 1988 game at Long Beach State. Three times this season the duo has scored 20 or more in the same game. The last time that happened was in 1990-91 when Davis and Gary Gray also did it three times.

Top One-Two Punches

#   Players                  Season     Points
1.  L. Davis/I. Jones        1991-92    1,014
2.  A. Harris/C. Devine      2006-07      995
3.  C. DeHart/M. Doyle       1988-89      957
4.  C. DeHart/E. McArthur    1989-90      929
5.  L. Davis/G. Gray         1990-91      928

Active Scoring Leaders
Player Points Games Avg. Alex Harris 1,047 86 12.2 Cecil Brown 964 110 8.8 Chris Devine 761 57 13.4

Double Dipping
Led by Alex Harris and Chris Devine, seven different UCSB players have scored in double-figures this season. Harris has scored 10 or more points in 27 of 28 games and Devine has done so 25 times. Cecil Brown, who missed the first five games of the season, has done so 13 times, including six of the last eight games. Here is a list of all Gaucho players and the number of times they have hit double-digits this season.

Player            GP    10+
Alex Harris       28    27
Chris Devine      28    25
Cecil Brown       23    13
James Powell      28    12
Ivan Elliott      28     7
Justin Joyner     27     5
Tom Garlepp       19     1

Double-Double Dipping
The Gauchos have produced six statistical double-doubles this season. Chris Devine has five of them and Ivan Elliott has the the other. Devine now has nine in his career, seven of which have come on the road.

Player          Opponent        Stats
Chris Devine    at Pepperdine   28p, 13r
Chris Devine    at USF	        12p, 10r
Chris Devine    Vanguard        22p, 11r
Chris Devine    at UC Irvine    15p, 11r
Chris Devine    at UC Davis     19p, 10r
Ivan Elliott    UC Riverside    12p, 10r

Gauchos Use Defensive Lockdown To Close Season With A Rush
The Gauchos needed to win its final three regular season games to finish with a 9-5 Big West record and a share of second-place. They did so by defeating UC Riverside, Pacific and Cal State Northridge and they did so by using a stifling defense. In the games against the Highlanders, Tigers and Matadors, UCSB limited the opposition to just 175 total points, 58.3 per game. In addition, Santa Barbara held its last three opponents to just 62-of-167 shooting from the field overall, 37.1%, and 16-of-56 from three-point range, 28.6%. In fact, in the last two games, won by an an average of 15.5 points, neither opponent made 20 field goals and the two combined to make just 38-of-110 overall, 34.5%. Finally, the last two opponents combined for just seven total three-point baskets. The Gauchos have allowed seven or more in a single game 15 times this season, so seven in two was very good.

The Other Side Of The Court
While UCSB was putting the clamps on its final three opponents, it was also shooting the ball about as well as it has all season. In the final three games, the Gauchos made 74-of-144 shots overall, 51.4%, and 22-of-51 from three-point territory, 43.1%. In the first of the three wins, a narrow 68-67 victory at UC Riverside, UCSB made 57.8% of its field goal attempts, the third highest percentage it made all season. In one of the three games, the March 1 win over Pacific, the Gauchos made just 45.1% of their shots overall, but they made up for it by drilling 10 out of their 19 three-point field goal attempts for a sterling percentage of 52.6%.

Starters From Start To Finish
Juniors Alex Harris and Chris Devine were in the starting lineup when UCSB opened the regular season against San Jose State on Nov. 10. They were in the starting lineup when the Gauchos completed the season against Cal State Northridge on March 3. In between, the Harris and Devine were in the starting lineup for every game. They were the only two UCSB players to start all 28 regular season games. In fact, the only other player to make more than 20 starts was freshman point guard Justin Joyner who started 25. Joyner would have started all 28 but was limited in two games with the flu and he missed one entirely with a strained hamstring.

Playing The Percentages
The Gauchos are now shooting 47.6% overall for the season and their opponents have made 41.2%. UCSB leads the Big West in both categories. As mentioned earlier, Santa Barbara has been particularly effective in recent games. In the last three, the Gauchos limited its opponents to just 37.1% while they made 51.4%. For the year, UCSB has made 50.0% or better 12 times, five more times that the 2005-06 season. On the other hand, opponents have made 50.0% just four times and they have been held to 40.0% or below 12 times and to 45.0% or below 21 times. When Gaucho opponents shoot 40.0% or below, they have posted a stellar 11-1 record.

UCSB In The Big West Stats
UCSB is stacking up quite well in several of the Big West' statistical categories. The Gauchos actually lead the conference in five key categories, scoring defense (67.3 points per game), field goal percentage defense (41.2%), three-point field goal percentage defense (32.4%), field goal percentage (47.6%) and free throw percentage (72.8%). Of the 14 primary statistical categories, UCSB ranks in the upper-half in eight and in the top-two in five. The lowest statistical rankings for the Gauchos are three-point field goals made (6.36 per game), steals (6.1 per game) and assists (14.1 per game), they rank sixth in all three categories.

Three-Point Turnaround
In the final two regular season games of the 2006-07 season, the Gauchos allowed a total of just seven successful three-pointers in 30 attempts, 23.3%. While UCSB is leading the Big West Conference in three-point field goal percentage defense, opponents have had some big games in that category this season. On Jan. 4, Long Beach State made 17-of-33 three-point attempts against the Gauchos, 51.5%. The 17 three-pointers broke an opponents record. On Feb. 14, Cal Poly made 15-of-30, 50.0%, the second most by an opponent in school history. So, when the Gauchos' final two opponents, Cal State Northridge and Pacific make a total of seven, that's a good thing. UCSB, on the other hand, makes among the fewest three-pointers in the league, but while it averages 6.36 per game, it has made 49 in the last six games, an average of 8.2 per game. In fact, Santa Barbara has made 10 or more in three of the last six games after having done so just once in the first 22 games of the season. Gaucho opponents have made 31 more threes, but they have needed 171 more attempts.

Finally, Into The Black
It took a late surge, but UCSB is finally in the black when it comes to assist-to-turnover ratio. In Saturday's regular season finale against Cal State Northridge, the Gauchos had 19 assists, their highest total since they had 22 in a Dec. 19 win over Vanguard and their second highest total of the season. Also in the win over the Matadors, UCSB had 14 turnovers and with the plus-5 in the final game, the Gauchos enter postseason play with 394 assists and 390 turnovers. The margin isn't much, but it's better to be in the black than in the red. Santa Barbara needed a solid late-season rush to get into positive territory. UCSB had equal or more assists than turnovers in its last six games. In their last six, the Gauchos have had 91 assists, 15.2 per game, and just 71 turnovers, 11.8 per game.

That 70's Show
Make no mistake, UCSB wants low-scoring games. When the Gauchos have been able to limit their opponents to fewer than 70 points, they have gone 15-2. When the opponents score more than 70 points they have gone 3-8. The only two opponents who were held to fewer than 70 points and still won were Long Beach State (68-67) and Loyola Marymount (58-55). In its last two games of the regular season, UCSB held Pacific and Cal State Northridge to 49 and 59 points respectively, an average of 54.0 per contest. Santa Barbara has actually held three opponents under 50 points this season and eight opponents under 60 points.

Marginalized Games
UCSB has played in three one-point games this season, all in the last seven games, and they dropped two of the three. On the other extreme, the Gauchos have played 10 games decided by 10 or more points and they have posted a 7-3 record in those games. Santa Barbara has won three games by 27 or more this year with the biggest margin of 32 coming in a Nov. 13 win at Montana State. The largest margin of defeat came at Long Beach State on Jan. 4 when the 49ers beat the Gauchos by 36.

The Best Things In Life Are Freej
UCSB finished the regular season as the Big West's best free throw shooting team. The Gauchos enter the league tournament having made 72.8% of their shots from the charity stripe and with the exception of a lull at midseason, they have been very good from start to finish. UCSB opened the year by making 29 of 31 free throws in its first two games, 93.5%, a tough pace to keep. The Gauchos ended the year by making 27 out of 32 in their final two games, 84.4%. In all, Santa Barbara outscored opponents from the free throw line this season by 77 points, an average of 2.7 per game. The Gauchos also attempted 89 more free throws that the opposition, 3.2 per game.

Freshmen Of Steal
The Gauchos don't produce a ton of steals, but when they do, odds are it will be a freshman doing the deed. Justin Joyner leads UCSB with 34 steals this season, the second most by a freshman in school history. James Powell is second on the team with 26, tied for the fourth most in school history. In addition, freshmen Paul Roemer and Emmanuel Bidias a Mouté have contributed nine and five steals respectively. Overall, Gaucho freshmen have produced 74 of the team's 170 total steals, 43.5%.

Streaky
Generally, this has been a season of streaks for UCSB. Only three times have the Gauchos won or lost just one game at a time. They opened the year by winning four straight games, then they lost two in a row, then they won four more in a row. UCSB enters the postseason with a three-game winning streak. The current three-game streak came on the heels of a season-long four-game losing streak, which came on the heels of the third of Santa Barbara's three four-game winning streaks. You get the picture?

They're Honored
In the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons, UCSB had a total of two players honored as Big West Player of the Week. This season, Gauchos earned the award three times. Alex Harris won Player of the Week recognition twice and Chris Devine won once. Harris won for his performance in UCSB's season-opening win over San Jose State when he scored 25 points, including 18 in the second half to lead a comeback. He also won for his performances in the Gauchos' first two Big West Conference games. Harris averaged 24.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game to pace them to wins over Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside. Devine won his Player of the Week honor after leading UCSB to road wins at Montana State and UNLV. He averaged 18.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game and was particularly effective in the win over UNLV when he had 25 points and six rebounds.

Mostly, They'll Be Back
When the Gauchos entered the 2006-07 season, they did so with a pretty extreme makeover from the previous year. UCSB had just five returnees entering the season. Next year could be a major change from this season. Santa Barbara could return all but two players, seniors Cecil Brown and Glenn Turner. This season, 1,729 of the team's 2,013 points, 829 of its 971 rebounds, 314 of its 394 assists, 147 of its 170 steals and 58 of its 87 blocked shots have come from the 11 non-seniors on the roster.