November 12, 2008

Gauchos Host Cal State Los Angeles Friday, Utah State Monday as 2008-09 Season Tips-Off

Nov. 12, 2008

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• The Schedule
Friday, November 14, 2008 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Cal State Los Angeles Eagles
at UCSB's Thunderdome
Game broadcast on KBKO 1490-AM
Game available on Gametracker

Monday, November 17, 2008 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Utah State Aggies
at UCSB's Thunderdome
Game broadcast on KBKO 1490-AM
Game available on Gametracker

• On The Radio
All UC Santa Barbara basketball games are broadcast live in Santa Barbara on KBKO 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 this season.

• This Week
UC Santa Barbara will open its 2008-09 season regular season on Friday, Nov. 14 against Cal State Los Angeles. The Gauchos will also host Utah State on Monday, Nov. 17 in a match-up of former Big West rivals. The game against Utah State will be Coke Family Pack Night and for $40.00, families can get four tickets, four hot dogs, four cokes and four t-shirts. Tickets for these and all UCSB games, plus information on season tickets and "Cinco Packs," are available from the Athletics Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, by calling 805-893-UCSB, or online by clicking here.

• A Nice Way To Start
UCSB played its only exhibition game on Saturday, defeating Cal State Dominguez Hills, 70-52. The Gauchos jumped out to an 11-0 lead and never looked back. Junior guard James Powell led the way with 20 points, five rebounds, and four steals. Senior forward Chris Devine had 14 points and three steals. In all, UCSB had 17 steals and held the Toros to just 31.5% from the field. The game against Dominguez Hills marked the debut of several Gauchos as well. Making their first appearances were junior transfer Jesse Byrd as well as freshmen Jaimé Serna, James Nunnally, and Greg Somogyi.

• The Gaucho Record
In 2007-08, UCSB had an overall record of 23-9 and a Big West mark of 12-4. The 23 wins were the most in school history and the 12-4 league record was good enough to earn the Gauchos a share of the 2008 Big West regular season title. Following the season, UCSB advanced to the National Invitation Tournament where it was beaten by Ole Miss.

• UCSB Picked 2nd by Big West Coaches, Media
The Gauchos have been picked to finish second in the Big West Conference in the annual polls of the league's coaches and media. Cal State Northridge, which, along with Cal State Fullerton, tied for the regular season league crown in 2007-08, was picked to win the title in both of this year's votes. Pacific and Fullerton were selected third and fourth respectively, with the coaches choosing UC Davis fifth and the media picking Long Beach State.

• Joyner Sidelined With Wrist Injury
Junior point guard Justin Joyner, who started all 32 games as a sophomore, will be sidelined for the season with a wrist injury. Joyner played all of the 2007-08 season with a broken bone in his right wrist. He had surgery to repair the injury in the spring, but it has not healed sufficiently for him to resume full activity. Joyner averaged 3.8 points and a team-leading 3.6 assists per game. In fact, last season he led the Big West in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.1-to-1.0.

• Williams Enters Second Decade in Santa Barbara
Bob Williams is entering his second decade as UCSB's head coach. Williams's first 10 years have resulted in 163 wins, eight winning seasons, three Big West regular season titles, a league tournament title, and three postseason appearances.

• 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 163-131. 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 100-64 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 352-231 (.604) at four-year schools.

• Possible Starters - Notes
G-1-D.J. Posley - Had solid debut in exhibition game with seven points, four assists, two steals.
G-4-Paul Roemer - Had four assists, three steals, and five rebounds against CSUDH.
G-42-James Powell - Led the team with 20 points in exhibition win.
F-10-Chris Devine - Three-time all-league choice enters season with 1,143 career points.
F-44-Jesse Byrd - Playing his first game in nearly 20 months he logged 16 minutes.

• Possible Reserves - Notes
F-0-Jaimé Serna - Had four rebounds and three steals in his debut.
G-2-Nick Quick - Played 15 minutes vs. CSUDH, went 1-for-3 from the field.
G-3-Jordan Weiner - Had seven field goal attempts in exhibition, all from three-point range.
G-11-Justin Joyner - Injured wrist will force him to redshirt 2008-09 season.
F-15-Sam Phippen - Had four points and three rebounds in 12 minutes vs. CSUDH.
G-20-Will Brew, Jr. - Freshman missed exhibition game while recovering from concussion.
G-21-James Nunnally - Freshman will see time increase as season evolves.
C-55-Greg Somogyi - Had five points, four rebounds and two blocks in 12 minutes vs. CSUDH.

• The Gauchos In Season-Openers
UCSB has recorded a 6-4 record in season-openers under Bob Williams. The 6-4 log includes last season's 92-71 win over Northwestern State at the Basketball Traveler's Classic in Palo Alto. The Gauchos have won five consecutive season-opening games. Dating back to 1937-38, UCSB has gone 45-23 in season-openers under seven different coaches.

• The Opponents
UCSB and Cal State Los Angeles have played 40 times in a series that dates back to 1949. The Gauchos hold a 21-19 edge all-time, but the teams have not played since 1976. Santa Barbara and Utah State have played 60 times in a series that began in 1970. The Aggies have the edge in the series, 38-22. The teams played in Logan, Utah last year as part of the ESPNU Bracket Busters series. Utah State won that game by a score of 72-59.

• Early Honors For Devine
Senior forward Chris Devine has been selected to the Collegeinsider.com Preseason Mid-Major All-American Team, as well as Preseason All-Big West. Devine, who averaged 12.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per game as a junior, is the second Gaucho player in as many seasons to be selected to the 25-man Collegeinsider.com team. It is the third year in a row in which Devine has been chosen to the Big West's Preseason All-Conference squad.

• Devine Intervention
As mentioned above, senior forward Chris Devine has been accorded a pair of preseason honors. He is UCSB's top returning scorer (along with James Powell) at 12.3 points per game, and its top returning rebounder at 5.4 per game. He played in and started 31 of 32 games in 2007-08. Devine missed one game to attend a funeral, his only DNP in three seasons. In fact, the native of Alaska has played in and started 89 of 90 games since missing the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons with a variety of injuries. In the Gauchos' exhibition game against Cal State Dominguez Hills, Devine played 22 minutes and had 14 points, three steals, two assists, and a blocked shot.

• Old Buddy, Old Powell
While Chris Devine was named to the Big West's Preseason All-Conference team for the third time, he is not the only top-notch returnee for the Gauchos. Junior guard James Powell, who also averaged 12.3 points per game in 2007-08, is expected to carry a major load for UCSB. As a sophomore, Powell made 79 three-point baskets, the second-highest total in school history, and he shot 46.7% from outside the three-point arc, a new school record. Following the season he was named Honorable Mention All-Big West. In the Gauchos' exhibition game against Cal State Dominguez Hills, Powell scored a game-high 20 points, making 6-of-9 shots overall and 2-of-4 from three-point range. He also led the team with five rebounds and four steals.

• Roemer Inherits The Point
Junior guard Paul Roemer will begin the season as UCSB's starting point guard, taking over for the injured Justin Joyner. Roemer, who was a prep teammate of Joyner's at De La Salle High School, came off the bench in all 32 games in 2007-08, averaging 2.3 points and 1.7 assists per game. He also had the second-best assist-to-turnover ratio on the team at 1.4-to-1.0. In last week's exhibition game against Cal State Dominguez Hills, Roemer started and played 28 minutes. He scored just three points, on a three-point basket, but he tied for the team-lead with five rebounds and four assists. He also had three steals.

• Strike A Posley
Senior guard D.J. Posley is, with little question, one of the best defensive players on the Gauchos' roster. Last year, despite limited playing time, he was among the team-leaders in steals with 36. In fact, in a Big West Tournament game against UC Irvine, Posley kept UCSB in the game with six steals, the most by a Gaucho player in eight years. This year, the native of Hazel Crest, Ill., will be expected to provide the same defense while adding some on the offensive end. In 2007-08, Posley averaged 2.7 points and 1.2 assists per game. He made just 35.3% of his field goal attempts, including 27.8% from three-point range. In the exhibition game against Cal State Dominguez Hills, he hit 3-of-5 shots while scoring seven points and handing off four assists. Posley also had a pair of steals. He did not attempt a three-point shot.

• Byrd Spreads His Wings, Finally
Junior forward Jesse Byrd, a transfer from San Francisco, started and played 16 minutes in the exhibition against Cal State Dominguez Hills. Although he attempted just one shot, he scored five points from the free throw line. It was the first time in around 20 months that Byrd actually played in a game, having sat out he 2007-08 season as a redshirt after transferring from USF.

• Getting Fresh
The exhibition game against Cal State Dominguez Hills was the debut for three of UCSB's four freshmen. Forwards Jaimé Serna and James Nunnally, along with center Greg Somogyi, each played at least 11 minutes against the Toros. The Gauchos' fourth freshman, guard Will Brew, missed the game while recovering from a concussion. All three of the freshmen had solid debuts. Serna played 20 minutes, and although he did not attempt a shot, he had three points, four rebounds and three steals. The 7-foot-2 Somogyi logged 12 minutes and had four points, five rebounds, and a pair of blocked shots. He also took an alley-oop pass from Nunnally for a crowd-pleasing slam dunk. Nunnally played 11 minutes while contributing two points, two rebounds, and one assist. Brew, by the way, is expected to return for the season-opener against Cal State Los Angeles.