Fourth-Seeded UCSB Takes Aim at Top-Seeded Cal State Northridge in Big West Semifinals
March 13, 2009
Friday, Mar. 13, 2009 at 5:30 p.m.
Big West Tournament Semifinal
No. 4 UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. No. 1 Cal State Northridge Matadors
at The Anaheim Convention Center Arena
Radio: KIST 1490-AM in Santa Barbara
Tonight's game will be televised on ESNPU. ESPNU is available on channel 264 on Cox Digital Cable in Santa Barbara, on Direct TV channel 614, and Dish Network channel 148. Check with your local cable provider for your channel number.
Plenty of great tickets remain available for the Big West Tournament semifinals. They are available at the Anaheim Convention Center box office. The other semifinal game will, which will tip-off at about 8:00 p.m., is between No. 2 Long Beach State and No. 3 Pacific.
UCSB enters Friday night's game with an overall record of 16-14. The Gauchos completed their Big West season with an 8-8 record and won the tiebreaker to earn the fourth-seed in the 2009 Big West Tournament. Santa Barbara has equaled its longest winning streak of the season, four straight, and has won eight of its last nine games. Before the current 8-of-9 run, UCSB was 8-13 overall and 2-7 in the Big West.
Probable Starters - Notes
G - D.J. Posley - Has nine assists in the last two games, 4.5 per game.
G - Paul Roemer - Scored 10 points last night, making a career-best 8-of-8 from the free throw line.
G - Will Brew, Jr. - Tallied 13 points, all in the second half ,in last night's win.
F - Jaimé Serna - Fouled out in just 17 minutes vs. Cal State Fullerton.
F - Chris Devine - Moved into third on UCSB's all-time scoring list with 1,591 points.
Probable Reserves - Notes
G - Nick Quick - Out with a torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee.
G - Jordan Weiner - 26 of his 30 baskets have come from three-point range.
G - James Nunnally - Led team in scoring in the last four games, averaging 17 and shooting 67.7%.
G - James Powell - Returned from orbital fracture to plays six minutes vs. Cal State Fullerton.
F - Sam Phippen - Scored career-high 10 points in win over Cal State Fullerton.
F - Jesse Byrd - Had three points, four rebounds and one steal vs. Cal State Fullerton.
C - Greg Somogyi - Played a season-low one-minute in last night's game.
Gauchos Pass The Test Against Cal State Fullerton
On Thursday afternoon, several UCSB players, including freshmen James Nunnally and Will Brew, Jr., were administered final exams in the Gauchos hotel. On Thursday night, they were keys in a 73-64 win over defending Big West Tournament champion Cal State Fullerton. Nunnally had a team-high 15 points while adding five rebounds and three assists. Brew had 13 points, all in the second half. Chris Devine added 14 points and Paul Roemer and Sam Phippen had 10 apiece as the Gauchos had five players in double-figures for the first time this season.
Then There Was One: The Gauchos And Matadors
With its win over Cal State Fullerton in the quarterfinals of the Big West Tournament, UCSB has now beaten every league opponent this season, with one exception. UCSB went 0-2 against Cal State Northridge, losing 72-70 in Santa Barbara on Jan. 29, and 62-57 in Northridge on Feb. 25. That defeat was the only one suffered by the Gauchos in the last nine games and in it they held a 13-point second half lead. Over the years, UCSB holds a 27-13 edge over the Matadors.
Bob Williams Update
Bob Williams in his 11th season as the head coach at UCSB. He enters the Big West semifinal game against Cal State Northridge with a Gaucho record of 179-145, .553. Williams has guided the UCSB program to its only league tournament title in history (2002), and its only two regular season championships (2003 and 2008). Overall, he is in his 22nd season as a coach at four-year schools and he has a record of 368-245 (.601).
UCSB had five players score in double-figures in its Big West Tournament quarterfinal win over Cal State Fullerton on Thursday night. It marked the first time this season that five Gauchos scored 10 or more points in the same game. Freshman James Nunnally led the way with 15. Chris Devine added 14, Will Brew, Jr., had 13, while Paul Roemer and Sam Phippen each added 10. Only one other time this season has Santa Barbara had four player score in double-figures.
Devine Climbs Scoring List
Senior forward Chris Devine scored 14 points in Thursday night's win over Cal State Fullerton. He leads UCSB in scoring at 15.4 points per game. The 14 points gives Devine 1,591 and moves him past Mark Hull and into third-place on the Gauchos' career scoring list. Additionally, he had six rebounds against the Titans and now has 716 in his career, fifth all-time. One of just two players in school history to rank among the top-five in points and rebounds, Devine was named First Team All-Big West earlier this week, and on Tuesday he earned his second Big West Hustle Award. He became the second Gaucho in school history to earn All-Big West honors four years in a row.
Nunnally Continues The Surge
Freshman James Nunnally scored a team-high 15 points last night against Cal State Fullerton. He now has 235 points on the season, 10th all-time for UCSB freshmen. Nunnally has led the Gauchos in scoring in four straight games, becoming the first freshman to do so since Branduinn Fullove in 2001. While he is averaging 7.8 points per game, he has averaged 17.0 per game in the last four, making 21-of-31 shots overall, 67.7%. In the last three games, Nunnally has made 7-of-10 shots from three-point range, 70.0%. He has scored in double-figures seven times this season, including five of the last six games. Finally, he has made 48 of his last 57 free throw attempts, 84.2%.
Freshman Will Brew, Jr., had 13 points vs. Cal State Fullerton, all in the second half. It was fifth double-figure scoring game of the season. He made three three-pointers and now has 24 on the season, third on the team. 12 of Brew's 24 three-pointers have come in the last nine games, a span over which he has made 43.0%.
Sophomore Sam Phippen has set new career-highs in back-to-back games. On Thursday night he had 10 points, making all three of his field goal attempts, including his only three-pointer. Phippen has scored 75 points on the year, 19 in the last two games. In the last two, he has averaged 9.5 points while making all five of his field goal attempts and both of his three-point attempts.
Junior Paul Roemer's 10-point game vs. Cal State Fullerton was his second double-figure performance of the season, but the first since he had 11 on Nov. 28 against Winston-Salem State. Roemer entered last night's game with a 65.8% mark from the free throw line but he made all eight of his attempts against the Titans.
UCSB shot 63.2% (12-of-19) in the second half of last night's game against Cal State Fullerton. It was their second best field goal percentage for a half this season.
The Gauchos made 50.0% of their field goal attempts in the win over Cal State Fullerton. They have now made 50.0% or better in two straight games for the first time this year, having made 51.0% in the regular season finale against Long Beach State. In the last three games, UCSB has made 70-of-140 shots, 50.0%.
On the other end of the court, Santa Barbara limited Cal State Fullerton to 33.3% shooting, 17-of-51. It was the Gauchos second-best defensive effort of the year. Only Nicholls State, which made 30.8% on Nov. 29, had a lower field goal percentage.
UCSB has not been a great free throw shooting team this season (69.1%), but in the pivotal second half of last night's game, the Gauchos were outstanding, making 23-of-27, 87.0%. Nunnally and Roemer were each 8-for-8 in the game and 6-for-6 in the second half.
By winning its Big West quarterfinal game against Cal State Fullerton, UCSB has guaranteed itself a winning record for the 2008-09 season. When the Gauchos were 8-13 overall, things didn't look good, but at 16-14 they will finish at or above .500 for the year. Santa Barbara has now had a winning record in four straight seasons for the first time since 1986-90.
UCSB allowed just 64 points to Cal State Fullerton on Thursday night, nearly 15 below the Titans season average. The Gauchos have limited seven of their last nine opponents to 66 points or less. In 30 games this year, opponents have scored 20 times.