November 30, 2006

UCSB Travels to Portland, Looks to Stay Unbeaten on Road

Nov. 30, 2006

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Schedule

Game No. 7
Saturday, December 2, 2006 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at the University of Portland Pilots
at Portland's Chiles Center

Game No. 8
Wednesday, December 6, 2006 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Fresno State Bulldogs
at UCSB's Thunderdome

The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara will enter its Saturday night game at the University of Portland with a record of 4-2. The Gauchos opened the season with four straight wins for the first time since the 1992-93 season. The first of the four wins came at the Thunderdome, but the last three came on the road, where UCSB is 3-0 in 2006-07.

Streaking Backwards
After winning four straight games to open the season, the Gauchos returned to the Thunderdome for a pair of games and lost them both. Now UCSB goes to Portland looking to end a modest two-game losing streak, its first negative streak of the season. In fact, you have to go back to the middle of the 2005-06 season to find Santa Barbara's last losing streak. The Gauchos finished last season without losing two or more in a row over the last 11 games. The last time they lost consecutive games was when they lost three in a row from January 21 through January 28.

Loyola Marymount Comeback Spoils Another Big Night By Harris
Jon Ziri scored a career-high 17 points, which included a go-ahead three-pointer with 1:54 remaining, to rally Loyola Marymount to a 58-55 victory over UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday. The comeback win by the Lions spoiled a 25-point performance by Gaucho guard Alex Harris, his sixth-straight game with 20 or more points. Brandon Worthy added 16 points while Matthew Knight scored all 14 of his points in the second half as the Lions came back from an 11-point deficit. James Powell added 14 for UCSB. The Gauchos led 35-24 with 14:26 to go, but didn't make a basket for over 10 minutes. They did make 11 of 14 free throws during that time, including a pair by Harris for a 46-44 lead with 5:38 left. Ziri made two foul shots to put LMU ahead 48-46 with 4:18 left, and his three-pointer put the Lions back on top 53-51 inside the two-minute mark. Knight added a lay-up for a four-point lead. Harris nailed a pair of baskets in the last 44 seconds, but UCSB was unable to get a shot off after getting the ball back with 10 seconds remaining. Santa Barbara shot a season-low 34.8% for the game, including 33.3% in the second half. The Gauchos second-leading scorer on the season, Chris Devine, struggled throughout. He entered the game averaging more than 18 per game and finished with just five, missing six of his seven shots. The Lions shot just 37.3% for the game, but they did hit 44.1% in the second half.

Brown Returns, Turner Remains Sidelined
Senior guard Cecil Brown saw his first action in Wednesday night's loss to Loyola Marymount. The Canoga Park, Calif., native played 21 minutes and looked rusty. He finished with two points, going 1-of-4 from the field, and he had two rebounds and two assists. Brown came off the bench in his initial appearance of the season. He had missed the first five regular season games and both exhibitions with a stress fracture in his right foot. Senior forward Glenn Turner, who had a hernia repaired on November 9, remains sidelined. He has started lightly working out but no date has been set for his return.

Probable Starters - Notes
G - James Powell - Has scored in double-figures in each of the last five games.
G - Alex Harris - First Gaucho to score 20 or more in six straight since 1996-97 season.
G - Justin Joyner - Has had just one assist in each of the last two games.
F - Chris Devine - Scored a season-low five points in the loss to Loyola Marymount.
F - Tom Garlepp - Is second in the Big West with nine blocked shots.

Probable Reserves - Notes
G - Cecil Brown - Played 21 minutes and had two points in Wednesday's season-debut.
G - Paul Roemer - Has not played in either of the last two games.
G - Trevor Bing - Has missed his last three three-point attempts, including one Wednesday.
F - Ivan Elliott - Had five rebounds vs. Loyola Marymount, second-highest total of the season.
F - Emmanuel Bidias a Mouté - Had three rebounds in just six minutes on Wednesday.
F - Beau Gibb - Scored his first basket of the year against Loyola Marymount.
F - David Massey - Scored his only points and had his only rebound at Montana State.
F - Sam Phippen - Freshman forward will redshirt the 2006-07 season.

The Infirmary - Notes
F - Glenn Turner - Repaired hernia has him out indefinitely.

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 had 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 126-113 (.530) overall record and a 79-55 (.590) 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 315-213 (.598) at four-year schools.

Newcomers Dominate 2006-07 Gaucho Roster
UCSB opened the 2006-07 season with a vastly different roster than it finished the 2005-06 season. Gone are eight of the 13 players from last season's team. In their place are two redshirt freshmen, a transfer from a four-year school, two junior college transfers and four true freshmen. In fact, due to injuries, the Gauchos have had only four returnees play in the season's first six games. In all, through six games 585 of the 1,250 minutes played by UCSB players have been played by returnees, 46.8%.

Frontcourt Blues
The UCSB frontcourt, which for the most part has been solid all season had its problems in Wednesday's loss to Loyola Marymount. Junior forward Chris Devine entered the game averaging more than 18 points per game and in uncharacteristic fashion made just 1-of-7 shots from the field and had five points against the Lions. Combined, Devine, Tom Garlepp, Ivan Elliott, Emmanuel Bidias a Mouté and Beau Gibb made just 2-of-14 shots from the field, 14.3%. The group scored just 12 of the Gauchos' 55 points for the game, 21.8%.

Maybe Gauchos Were Due For A Shooting Lemon
UCSB opened the season on November 10 with a 39.4% shooting performance against San Jose State. In each of the four games after the opener against the Spartans, the Gauchos made 49.2% or better from the field. On Nov. 13, Santa Barbara hit 57.9% at Montana State, a season-best. In three of the last four games, UCSB has been over the 50.0% plateau and while the Gauchos were shooting 50.2% for the season entering the Loyola Marymount game, they had made 117-of-219 shots in the four-game span, 53.4%. On Wednesday night against the Lions, they made a season-low 34.8% from the field, including a mere 33.3% in the decisive second half. In fact, if you exclude Alex Harris (7-for-12) and James Powell (5-for-11), the other eight players who played combined to go just 4-of-23, 17.4%. Despite the poor shooting effort in their last game, the Gauchos are still shooting 48.0% for the season, a significant improvement over the 44.1% they shot last season.

25-Point Duo A Gaucho Rarity
In UCSB's November 21 double-overtime victory over Pepperdine, two Gaucho players eclipsed the 25-point mark. Junior forward Chris Devine poured in a career-high 28 points, while junior guard Alex Harris had a career-best 27. It was the first time in more than 18 years that two Gauchos had scored 25 or more points in the same game. Several duos came close during those 18 years, but none hit the mark. Prior to Nov. 21, the last time was at Long Beach State on Feb. 25, 1988, when sophomore forward Mike Doyle scored 31 points and senior guard Brian Shaw scored 26.

Taking Offense To Rebounding
Gaucho opponents are averaging 15.8 offensive rebounds per game. Granted, UCSB is holding opponents to 39.3% shooting from the field, so there are plenty of offensive rebounds to be had, but through six games the opposition has had 12 or more offensive boards in each game and 16 or more in four of the six games.

The Opponents
The Gauchos and Portland have played eight times and each team has won four. The last meeting between the schools was on Dec. 28, 2005 in Santa Barbara and UCSB won that one, 76-63. The teams have not played in Portland since 1998-99, Bob Williams' first season, and the Pilots won that game, 78-73. The Gauchos and Fresno State were long-time PCAA and Big West rivals before the Bulldogs departed joined the Western Athletic Conference. The rivalry was renewed last year with Fresno State recording a 79-76 home victory on Dec. 23, 2005. The programs have met 96 times in the series that dates back to 1937. UCSB holds a 50-46 lead all-time and it won the last meeting at the Thunderdome, 75-55, on January 20, 1992.

The Gauchos At Home
UCSB is 1-2 at home in 2006-07. The Gauchos defeated San Jose State on Nov. 10 and have since lost consecutive games to San Diego State and Loyola Marymount. UCSB went 9-4 in home games during the 2005-06 season and it was a perfect 6-0 in non-conference home games last season. Since Bob Williams became head coach in 1998-99, Santa Barbara has gone 74-31 in home games overall and 30-12 in non-conference home games. Since the 2000-01 season, UCSB has gone 22-6 in non-conference games at the Thunderdome. The Gauchos went 8-4 in home games in 2004-05, but in each of the three years before that, they finished 10-2 at the Thunderdome.

The Gauchos On The Road
UCSB is 3-0 in road games this season. The Gauchos opened the road portion of their schedule with an 88-56 win at Montana State on Nov. 13. On Nov. 17, they won at UNLV, 79-76 and on Nov. 21 they won at Pepperdine, 89-80 in double overtime. This marks the first 3-0 start in true road games since the 1992-93 campaign when the team jumped out of the gates with a 4-0 road record. UCSB posted a 5-9 record in true road games in 2005-06 and a 6-10 mark in all non-home games. While the 5-9 doesn't seem like much, it includes an 0-7 start and a 5-2 finish. The Gauchos opened the 2005-06 season with seven straight road losses, extending a two-season streak to nine straight road defeats. However, since the end of that streak, UCSB has gone 8-2 on the road.

A Senior Is Finally Heard From
Cecil Brown's appearance in Wednesday night's game against Loyola Marymount was not only his first appearance of the season, it was the first time that a senior had even entered a UCSB game this season. One of just two seniors on the roster, Brown is the only one to play through six games. In fact, when the Gauchos embarked on their three-game road trip earlier this year, it was the first time that a Bob Williams-coached UCSB team had ever boarded an airplane without a senior in tow.

Meaningless Fact Of The Week
With a pair of wins in California and one apiece in Nevada and Montana, UCSB has won games in three different states this year. A win at Portland on Saturday and the Gauchos will have achieved victories in four different states in the same season for the first time since the 1989-90 season when they won games in California (several), Iowa (Bradley in the Amana-Hawkeye Classic), Utah (Utah State) and Tennessee (Houston in the first round of the NCAA Tournament).

Working Overtime
UCSB defeated Pepperdine in double-overtime on November 21 in Malibu. It marked the fourth consecutive overtime victory for the Gauchos, a streak that dates back to the 2003-04 season.

The Harris Poll
Junior guard Alex Harris was named Big West Player of the Week after leading the Gauchos with 25 points in a season-opening win over San Jose State and he hasn't let-up in the five games since. In Wednesday's loss to Loyola Marymount, Harris was one of the few bright spots as he overcame a bad cold to score 25 points and grab six rebounds. The 25 points tied his second-highest total of the season and the second-highest of his career. Harris has now become the first Gaucho to score 20 or more points in six straight games since Raymond Tutt did so during the 1996-97 season. The six 20-point performances are the first six of his career. He now leads the Big West Conference with an average of 23.2 points per game. In addition, Harris is shooting 53.0% from the field and he has made more than half of his shots in five of six games, failing to achieve the feat only once, against San Diego State on November 25. On November 21, in a double-overtime win at Pepperdine, Harris scored a career-high 27 points and he played 48 of a possible 50 minutes. In fact, he has been a workhorse this season, averaging 36.5 minutes per game and never playing fewer than the 28 he played on November 13 at Montana State. In recent games, he has also started to diversify. In the narrow defeat to Loyola Marymount, he had six rebounds, his second-best mark of the season. Also, while Harris is averaging 4.3 rebounds per game, he has averaged 5.7 per game in the last three contests. Against San Diego State, he had a career-high six assists and he is now averaging 2.7 per game overall, but 3.3 per game in the last three. Through six games this season, Harris has set new career-highs in points (27), assists (six), steals (five at Montana State), three-point baskets (five vs. San Jose State), field goals (eight on three occasions), field goal attempts (19 vs. San Diego State), free throws (nine vs. San Diego State and Loyola Marymount) and free throw attempts (12 vs. San Diego State). Finally, Harris made his final 14 free throws in 2005-06 and he made 19 straight to start this season, including his first five at Pepperdine, giving him 33 straight over two seasons, a new school record. The previous record of 32 in a row was set by Frank Horwath during the 1982-83 season.

The Devine File
Junior forward Chris Devine just wasn't himself in Wednesday's loss to Loyola Marymount. He went 1-of-7 from the field and scored just five points in 28 minutes. Still, Devine is averaging 16.3 points per game and shooting 58.0% from the field. He also paces UCSB in rebounding at 7.8 per game. He has averaged 9.3 rebounds per game in the last three games. In the four games prior to Wednesday night, he had made 32-of-46 shots from the field, 69.6%. On November 21 at Pepperdine, Devine had a career-high 28 points and he added 13 rebounds, his second-highest total ever. It was also his first double-double of the season and fifth of his career. Devine was named Big West Player of the Week on November 20 for his performances in the Gauchos' wins at Montana State and UNLV. It was his first such honor. In addition to achieving his career-high for points in a game this season, the Eagle River, Alaska, native had a career-high five steals on Nov. 10 against San Jose State. A Second Team All-Big West choice last season, Devine was selected to the league's preseason all-conference team this year.

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Oye, Oye, Oye!
Sophomore forward Tom Garlepp has started the first six regular season games and after never playing more than 22 minutes in any game last season, he has 22 or more in five of six this season. In fact, Garlepp has played 148 minutes in six games, an average of 24.7 per game. Last year, he played 241 in 26 games, 9.3 per game. Garlepp is averaging 5.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and a team-leading 1.5 blocked shots per game. He tied his career-high with three blocked shots on Wednesday night and now has nine in the last four games, 2.2 per game. Garlepp has set career-highs this season in rebounds (eight vs. San Jose State), assists (five at Montana State), blocked shots (three at Pepperdine and vs. Loyola Marymount) and steals (two vs. San Jose State). He is, however, struggling with his shooting. Garlepp missed all three of his attempts on Wednesday and has now connected on just 9-of-31 on the year, 29.0%. Interestingly, he is 3-for-17, 17.6%, in home games and 6-for-14, 42.9%, in road games.

Old Buddy, Old Powell
Since scoring nine points in his first game as a Gaucho, freshman guard James Powell has scored in double-figures in five straight. On Wednesday night against Loyola Marymount he was just one of two Gauchos to score in double-figures as he had 14. Through six games, Powell is averaging 14.3 points per game, but in the last five games he has averaged 15.4 per game, and while he is shooting 47.5% for the year, he has drilled 26-of-52, 50.0%, in the last five. Also, in the last five games, Powell has made 10-for-26 from three-point range, 38.5%. Powell ranks third on the team in assists at 2.5 per game, but in the last three games he has averaged 3.3 per game. He has made 14 of his last 15 free throws and is now shooting 81.0% from the line. Finally, he has made 11 three-point baskets and he needs just four more to move into UCSB's freshman top-10.

Help Cecil! Help!
Senior guard Cecil Brown had a modest return on Wednesday. After missing the first seven games of the season, including a pair of exhibition games, with a stress fracture in his right foot, Brown returned and played 21 minutes. He made just 1-of-4 shots and had two points. When he gets back into the swing of things, Brown will give the Gauchos an even more potent backcourt. Last season, he led UCSB in scoring at 13.3 points per game and he was selected Second Team All-Big West following the year. His 42 three-point baskets were a career-high and second on the team. Against Loyola Marymount, he didn't even attempt a three-pointer.

Justin Joins In
After scoring a season-high 11 points against San Diego State, Freshman guard Justin Joyner tallied just two against Loyola Marymount. He made just 1-of-4 field goal attempts and missed both of his three-point attempts. Still, Joyner has been a pleasant surprise in 2006-07. He has joined with James Powell to give UCSB it first all freshman starting backcourt since the 2000-01 season. Joyner is averaging 4.8 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. He also leads the team in assists at 3.2 per outing and his seven assists on November 17 at UNLV were the most by a Gaucho since the 2004-05 season. Joyner tied his season-low for minutes on Wednesday night with 27, but he is averaging 31.2 per game, third on the team. Finally, after recording 15 assists and just five turnovers in the first three games, he has had four assists and 11 turnovers in the last three games.

Ivan The Pretty Good
Junior forward Ivan Elliott played 22 minutes against Loyola Marymount, his second-highest total of the sesaon. He also had five rebounds, his second-best figure as well. On the year, Elliott is now averaging 4.2 boards per game, but he has averaged 6.0 per game in the last three. He also had two blocked shots against the Lions and now has seven, all in the last five games. In fact, he has blocked two or more three times this year. Elliott has scored 28 points on the year and 22 of them have come in two games, including a high of 14 at Montana State.

Around The Key - More Notes
Junior guard Trevor Bing has attempted 11 shots this season, eight from three-point range...Bing is a perfect 3-for-3 from two-point range on the year and he had a career-high four assists on November 25 against San Jose State...After not entering the game against San Diego State, Emmanuel Bidias a Mouté had three rebounds in six minutes against Loyola Marymount...In his last two appearances, at Pepperdine and against Loyola Marymount, Bidias a Mouté has played 10 minutes and grabbed six rebounds...UCSB has beaten teams from the Mountain West Conference, Western Athletic Conference, Big Sky and West Coast Conference this season.