November 16, 2008

UCSB Hosts Utah State and No. 1 North Carolina in Huge Week

Nov. 16, 2008

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

Friday, November 21, 2008 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. North Carolina Tar Heels
at UCSB's Thunderdome
Game broadcast on KIST 1490-AM
Game available on Gametracker
The Game will be televised by ESPNU

• 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 this season.

• This Week
UC Santa Barbara will host a pair of games this week. On Monday, Nov. 17, the Gauchos will host former Big West rival and perennial power Utah State. The game against Utah State will be Coke Family Pack Night at the Thunderdome, and for $40.00, families can get four tickets, four hot dogs, four cokes and four t-shirts. On Friday, Nov. 21, UCSB will welcome North Carolina, the No. 1 team in the country, to the Thunderdome. It will mark the first time since 1991 that the top-ranked team in the nation will visit the Thunderdome. 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 Real Win! UCSB Tops Cal State Los Angeles In Opener
Chris Devine scored 11 of his team-high 17 points in the final 6:37 as the Gauchos held off a second-half comeback by Cal State Los Angeles, 64-55 on Friday night. Devine made 6-of-9 shots and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds, which included a pair of crucial put-backs down the stretch. James Powell added 16 points and seven rebounds while freshman Jaimé Serna added seven rebounds. The Gauchos, who led by as many as 25 points, took a 39-21 advantage into halftime after shooting 53.8 percent. But they went cold in the second half, making just 28.6 percent overall and missing all seven of their three point attempts. Christofer Hart scored 17 of his game-high 21 points in the second half to rally the Golden Eagles. Leland Jones' basket trimmed UCSB's margin to 49-45 with 7:05 left. But the Gauchos pulled away from there, with Devine scoring their next seven points. As was the case in its exhibition win over Cal State Dominguez Hills, UCSB had turnover troubles against Cal State Los Angeles. The Gauchos committed 22 miscues against the Golden Eagles. On a positive note, after being outrebounded in the exhibition game, Santa Barbara won that battle on Friday night, 41-30.

• The Gaucho Record
Well, if you figured out the code used above, the Gauchos are 1-0 in 2008-09. 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 conference's coaches and media. Cal State Northridge, which, along with Cal State Fullerton and UCSB, 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.

• Possible Starters - Notes
G 1 D.J. Posley - Had five assists in the opener against Cal State Los Angeles.
G 4 Paul Roemer - Played a career-high 28 minutes in season-opener.
G 42 James Powell - Scored 16 and made all seven of his free throws vs. Cal State Los Angeles.
F 10 Chris Devine - Had 17 and 11 vs. CSULA, his first double-double since 2006-07 season.
F 44 Jesse Byrd - Had three points, five rebounds, one assist, and a steal in Gaucho debut.

• Possible Reserves - Notes
F 0 Jaimé Serna - Nice debut: four points, seven rebounds, two assists, one steal in 21 minutes.
G 2 Nick Quick - Missed only shot in two minutes vs. Cal State Los Angeles.
G 3 Jordan Weiner - 16 of his 18 career field goals are from three-point range.
G 11 Justin Joyner - Injured wrist will force him to redshirt 2008-09 season.
F 15 Sam Phippen - Had four rebounds vs. CSULA after having seven rebounds all of last season.
G 20 Will Brew, Jr. - Scored five points in 11 minutes in his debut vs. Cal State Los Angeles.
G 21 James Nunnally - Had five points, one blocked shot in his regular season debut.
C 55 Greg Somogyi - Had two points, two rebounds, and two blocks in six minutes vs. CSULA.

• 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 plus one game have resulted in 164 wins, eight winning seasons, three Big West regular season titles, a league tournament title, and three postseason appearances.

• The Gauchos In Season-Openers
UCSB has recorded a 7-4 record in season-openers under Bob Williams. The 7-4 log includes Friday night's 64-55 win over Cal State Los Angeles. The Gauchos have won six consecutive season-opening games. Dating back to 1937-38, UCSB has gone 46-23 in season-openers under seven different coaches. For you non-math majors, that is a 66.7% mark.

• 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. In the season-opener aganst Cal State Los Angeles, he recorded his first double-double since the 2006-07 season when he had 17 points and 11 rebounds. Devine scored 11 of his points in crunch time during the second half. With 17 points, the native of Eagle River, Alaska, now has 1,160 points, the 15th highest total in school history. Also, the double-double was the 10th of Devine's career.

• 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. In Friday's season-opener, he had 16 points, a career-high seven rebounds, one assist and a pair of steals. 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. After Friday's opener, he has 664 career points.

• Roemer Inherits The Point
Junior guard Paul Roemer has started the season as the Gauchos' starting point guard. He played a career-high 28 minutes in the opener against Cal State Los Angeles, scoring five points, and passing off for a pair of assists. A former walk-on, Roemer also had a pair of rebounds against the Golden Eagles. The start was the first of his career. Roemer, who was a prep teammate of Justin 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.

• Strike A Posley
Senior guard D.J. Posley is, with little question, one of the best defensive players on the Gauchos' roster. In Friday's season-opener against Cal State Los Angeles, he played a career-high 24 minutes and had a five assists, the second-highest total of his career. He also had three points, on a three-point basket, and a steal. 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. 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.

• Byrd Spreads His Wings In A Regular Season Game...Finally
Junior forward Jesse Byrd, a transfer from San Francisco, started and played 17 minutes in the opener against Cal State Los Angeles. It was his first regular season action in more than 20 months. Byrd had three points, five rebounds, one assist, and a steal in his action. He attempted just three shots in his 17 minutes and had no turnovers. Not a bad debut for someone who had not played a game in more than a year and a half.

•A Fresh Look
UCSB played four freshmen in its season-opening win over Cal State Los Angeles. It marked the first time since the 2000-01 season that the Gauchos had played four freshmen in a regular season game. Jaimé Serna (Santa Margarita HS) played 21 minutes and had four points, seven rebounds, two assists, and one steal. Will Brew, Jr., (St. Mary's HS in Berkeley, Calif.) played 11 minutes and had five points and one assist. James Nunnally (Weston Ranch HS in Stockton, Calif.) logged 10 minutes and had five points, one reobund, and a blocked shot. Greg Somogyi (A native of Budapest, Hungary and graduate of Woodside Priory) played six minutes and had two points, two rebounds, and two blocked shots. The last time a Gaucho team played four freshmen in the same game was during the 2000-01 season when they played Branduinn Fullove, Jacoby Atako, Casey Cook and Nick Jones in the same game.

•On The Horizon
Following its home game against top-ranked North Carolina, UCSB will hit the road. The Gauchos will play at the University of San Francisco on Monday, Nov. 24 at 7:00 p.m. Following the game against the Dons, Santa Barbara will travel to Illinois State to play in the World Vision Invitational. On Friday, Nov. 28, the Gauchos will play Winston-Salem State. On Saturday, Nov. 29, they will play Nicholls State, and on the final day of the tourney, Sunday, Nov. 30, the Gauchos will the host Illinois State Redbirds.

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