December 2, 2008

UCSB Travels to Utah Valley for Last Game Before Final Exams

Dec. 2, 2008

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• The Schedule
Game No. 6
Thursday, December 4, 2008 at 6:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Utah Valley Wolverines
at Utah Valley's McKay Center
Radio: KIST 1490-AM in Santa Barbara

Game No. 7
Saturday, December 13, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Loyola Marymount Lions
at UCSB's Thunderdome
Radio: KIST 1490-AM in Santa Barbara

• 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
After spending eight days on the road, playing four games, UC Santa Barbara returned home on Monday evening. The Gauchos should keep their travel bags readily available because they will leave on Wednesday morning for a Thursday night game at Utah Valley. The game against the Wolverines will be the only one of the week. UCSB will then be off for final exams until it hosts Loyola Marymount at the Thunderdome on Saturday, Dec. 13 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets for that, and all Gaucho games, can be obtained from the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, by calling 805-893-UCSB, or online by clicking here..

• The Gaucho Record
The Gauchos enter the week with a record of 3-4. On Sunday, UCSB dropped an 87-59 decision to Illinois State in the title game of the World Vision Invitational. The loss was easily the worst of the season for the Gauchos and it ended a brief two-game winning streak. In the first two games of the tournament Santa Barbara defeated Winston-Salem State (71-58) and Nicholls State (57-38). Including the Nov. 24 game at San Francisco, UCSB has gone 2-2 on the current road trip.

• 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 166-135. 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 355-235 (.602) at four-year schools.

• The Opponents
UCSB and Utah Valley have played just once. The Gauchos defeated the Wolverines in the first meeting between the programs on Dec. 7, 2007, by a score of 81-61. UCSB and Loyola Marymount, on the other hand, have played 80 times in a series that dates back to 1937. While the Lions hold a 46-34 advantage, the Gauchos won last season's game in Los Angeles, 63-56.

• UCSB Beaten By Host Illinois State In World Vision Invitational Final
Anything that could go wrong for UCSB in Sunday's championship game at the World Vision Invitational did. The Gauchos ran into an Illinois State buzz saw that shot a season-best 62.5% from the field overall and made 14-of-28 three-point attempts, and they made just 40.6% of their own field goals, including 4-of-22 from three-point range, to lose 87-58. It was easily the worst defeat of the season for Santa Barbara, and the price was steeper than just one game. Gaucho senior Chris Devine went down late in the first half with a sprained ankle and did not return. His status for Thursday's game at Utah Valley is up in the air. UCSB did have a pair of bright spots in defeat. The Gauchos turned the ball over just 11 times, a season-low. Their previous season-low was 12, but they had produced 18 or more turnovers five times. The other bright spot was the play, particularly in the second half, of junior forward Jesse Byrd. Byrd scored a career-high 17 points, including 15 in the second half, and tied his personal-best with eight rebounds. UCSB led just two times in the game, the final time coming at 10-8 with 15:14 left in the first half. The Red Birds led by 16 at half and cruised to the win, never seeing their lead drop below 20 points over the final 16 minutes of the game.

• Byrd, Devine Earn All-Tournament Honors
Despite the 87-58 loss in the championship game at the World Vision Invitational in Normal, Ill., two UCSB players earned All-Tournament honors. Chris Devine, who missed the entire second half of the final game with a sprained left ankle, was named to the team. In his three games, Devine averaged 10.0 points and 7.0 rebounds. He had 12 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Gauchos past Winston-Salem in their first game on Friday night. He also made 12-of-20 from the field, 60.0%. Byrd averaged 10.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. He hit 14-of-23 shots from the field, 60.9%. In Sunday's championship game, the junior transfer from the University of San Francisco scored a career-high 17 points, including 15 in the second half, and equaled his career-high with eight rebounds.

• Possible Starters - Notes
G - 1 - D.J. Posley - Averaged 7.3 points per game at the World Vision Invitational.
G - 4 - Paul Roemer - Had a career-high five assists in Sunday's finale against Illinois State.
G - 42 - James Powell - 38 of his 49 points in the last four games have come in first halves.
F - 10 - Chris Devine - Sprained ankle at Illinois State and is questionable for Utah Valley.
F - 44 - Jesse Byrd - Scored career-high 17 points in Sunday's game at Illinois State.

• Possible Reserves - Notes
F - 0 - Jaimé Serna - Averaged 5.5 rebounds in the last two games of World Vision Invitational.
G - 2 - Nick Quick - Has played in five out of the seven games.
G - 3 - Jordan Weiner - Made just the fourth two-point basket of his career at Illinois State.
F - 15 - Sam Phippen - If Devine is not able to go vs. Utah Valley, could make his first start.
G - 20 - Will Brew, Jr. - Tied career-high with three rebounds at Illinois State. G - 21 - James Nunnally - Scored eight points at Illinois State, his second highest total of the season.
C - 55 - Greg Somogyi - Was scoreless at Illinois State, a first for him.

• Devine's Status Questionable For Utah Valley
Senior forward Chris Devine who, on Sunday, moved into 12th on UCSB's all-time career scoring list with 1,231 points, sprained his left ankle towards the end of the first half of the loss to Illinois State. Devine's status for Thursday night's game at Utah Valley is questionable, bordering on doubtful. Since sitting out his first two seasons while recovering from knee injuries, the senior from Eagle River, Alaska has not missed a Gaucho game due to an injury. He is currently in a flat-footed tie with James Powell for the team scoring lead at 12.6 points per game and he is tied with Jesse Byrd for the lead in rebounding at 6.1 per game.

• Joyner Will Miss 2008-09 Season
Junior point guard Justin Joyner will miss the 2008-09 season as he rehabilitates his surgically-repaired right wrist. The Big West-leader in assist-to-turnover ratio and the Gauchos' leader in assists in 2007-08, Joyner played his entire sophomore season with a broken bone in the right wrist, starting all 32 games.

• January 29 Game Against Cal State Northridge Moved To 8:00 P.M.
UCSB's Jan. 29 at the Thunderdome game against Big West Conference foe Cal State Northridge, originally scheduled for 7:00 p.m., has been moved to 8:00 p.m. to accommodate ESPNU.

• Turnovers...A Bright Spot?
In Sunday's 87-59 loss at Illinois State, there were few bright spots. One of the bright spots was UCSB's turnover total of 11. With little question, it marks the first time this season that turnovers are a bright spot for the Gauchos. The 11 miscues were a season-low, one fewer than the 12 they committed in a game against Utah State. UCSB has had 18 or more turnovers in five of seven games this season, and 20 or more four times. Santa Barbara has had a season-high 22 turnovers in games against Winston-Salem State and Cal State Los Angeles. Interestingly, the Gauchos won both of the games in which they coughed the ball up 22 times, and they lost the games with 11 and 12 turnovers. On the year, UCSB is averaging 18.1 turnovers per game.

• On The Block: A Freshman Thing
As a team in 2008-09, UCSB has 17 blocked shots through seven games, an average of 2.4 per game. Of the 17 shots blocked by the Gauchos, 15 have been rejected by freshmen Greg Somogyi, Jaimé Serna, and James Nunnally. Somogyi has blocked a team-high nine shots in just 65 minutes of action, while Serna has rejected four and Nunnally has produced a pair.

• On The Rebound
After a run of three straight outstanding rebounding performances, the Gauchos were outrebounded at Illinois State, 34-30. Still, UCSB is outrebounding its opponent by 3.2 per game. In three games prior to the loss to the Red Birds, Santa Barbara had outrebounded its opponents by double-digit margins. The run began in the loss at San Francisco when the Gauchos won the board battle 33-23. In a win over Winston-Salem State, they had their biggest rebounding edge of the season, 44-28, and against Nicholls they produced a 36-24 edge.

• Devine Intervention
Senior forward Chris Devine is highly doubtful for Thursday night's game at Utah Valley with a sprained left ankle. Devine, a Collegeinsider.com preseason mid-major All-American, sprained his ankle near the end of the first half of UCSB's loss at Illinois State on Sunday. Devine had nine points and two rebounds in 16 minutes against the Red Birds before injuring his ankle and sitting out the second half. Despite the injury, he was named to the World Vision Invitational All-Tournament Team. Devine is averaging 12.3 points and 6.1 rebounds through seven games, both figures are tied for the team-lead. Devine had his best offensive game of the year on Nov. 24 at San Francisco when he had 24 points, equaling the fifth highest total of his career. In the game against Dons, Devine was 14-of-16 from the free throw line. His free throw totals, both makes and attempts, were new career-highs. In UCSB's first game at the World Vision Invitational, a win over Winston-Salem State, he had 12 points and 10 rebounds, his second double-double of the season and the 11th of his career. With his nine points on Sunday, Devine now has 1,231 for his career, the 12th most in school history. He needs just five points to move into 11th and six to move into 10th all-time. In addition, with 570 career rebounds, he needs just 17 to move into the top-10 at UCSB.

• That's Jaimé, not Jamie
Freshman forward Jaimé Serna is now averaging 4.1 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. The 4.0 rebounds ranks him third on the team. He had 11 rebound in the final two games of the World Vision Invitational, producing five in 15 minutes against Illinois State and six in a season-high 22 minutes against Nicholls State. In the game against Nicholls State, Serna also tied his season-high with six points. The Laguna Beach, Calif., native had a personal-best seven rebounds in the season-opener against Cal State Los Angeles, and his other six-point performance came on Nov. 21 against No. 1 North Carolina.

• Roemer Wasn't Built In A Day
Junior guard Paul Roemer had a career-high five assists in Sunday's game at Illinois State. In the first game of the World Vision Invitational, he had 11 points, his highest total this season and the second-highest of his career. Roemer is averaging 4.4 points and 2.2 assists per game. Recently he has also become a three-point shooting threat. On the year, he has made 7-of-14 from outside the arc, but in the last five games he has hit six of those seven.

• Old Buddy, Old Powell
Junior guard James Powell had his best game of the young season in a Nov. 24 loss at San Francisco. After struggling through the first three games, Powell scored a season-high 22 points, making 7-of-15 shots overall and 6-of-12 from three-point range. In the three games at the World Vision Invitational in Normal, Ill., however, Powell struggled offensively. In the games against Winston-Salem State, Nicholls State, and Illinois State, he made just 9-of-30 from the field overall, 30.0%, and 7-of-19 from three-point range, 36.8%. In the three games, he averaged 9.0 points per game. Despite his recent struggles, Powell is tied with Chris Devine for the team-lead in scoring at 12.6 points per game. Interestingly, the Pomona, Calif., native has done much of his damage in the first half of recent games. In the last four games, all away from home, Powell scored 49 total points, 12.2 per game, with 38 of those points, 9.5 per game, coming in first halves. He leads the Gauchos with 17 three-pointers this season, almost half of the team's total of 40. Powell, however, is shooting just 31.5% from outside the three-point arc. He also had shooting troubles early in the 2007-08 season and yet Powell finished the year as the school record holder in three-point field goal percentage at 46.7%, and his 79 total three-point baskets were the second most in school history. This year, he has been in double-figures four times in seven games. An Honorable Mention All-Big West choice in 2007-08, Powell had a career-high seven rebounds on Nov. 14 against Cal State Los Angeles. Finally, with 17 three-pointers through seven games, he now has 134 in his career, the eighth most in UCSB history.

• The Word On Byrd
Junior forward Jesse Byrd had his best game as a Gaucho in Sunday's loss at Illinois State. After scoring just two points in the first half against the Red Birds, Byrd had 15 in the second half for a new career-high 17. He also tied his career-high with eight rebounds in the game. He is now averaging 8.0 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. In fact, the transfer from San Francisco is tied for the team-lead in rebounding and is third on the squad in scoring. Also, Byrd is shooting 60.5% from the field, the top mark on the team. In the last three games, he is averaging 10.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game while shooting 60.9% from the field. Byrd joined Devine on the World Vision Invitational All-Tournament Team. Prior to his performance at Illinois State on Sunday, his best game had come against the No. 1 team in the country, North Carolina, when he made 4-of-5 shots from the field and all four of his free throws for 12 points. He also had five rebounds against the Tar Heels. Finally, Byrd is the only Gaucho player to have five or more rebounds in all seven games this season.

• The Flying Nunnally
Freshman James Nunnally had a solid three-game performance at the World Vision Invitational. In Sunday's finale, he scored eight points, his second highest total of the season. Nunnally went 4-for-5 from the field against Illinois State. On Saturday, against Nicholls State, he had four points and four rebounds, and in the first game, against Winston-Salem State, he had six rebounds, one short of his career-high. On Nov. 21, in a loss to North Carolina. Nunnally, had career-highs for minutes played with 26, points with 22, and rebounds with seven. The 22 points were the most scored by a Gaucho freshman since Branduinn Fullove had 22 in a game at Boise State on March 3, 2001. He enters the week ranked fourth on the team in scoring at 6.7 points per game.

• Strike A Posley
Senior guard D.J. Posley is averaging a season-high 5.0 points per game. In two games prior to Sunday's tournament final against Illinois State, wins over Winston-Salem State and Nicholls State, Posley set a new Gaucho career-high with nine points. In addition to his recent offensive surge, the Hazel Crest, Ill., native continues to led UCSB in assists with 22, an average of 3.2 per game. He is also second on the team with eight steals. On Nov. 24 at USF, Posley played a career-high 31 minutes against the Dons and had a career-high five rebounds. He has had a season-high five assists twice, including the game against North Carolina despite playing just one half before leaving with severe leg cramps.

• Something Is Brewing
Freshman Will Brew, Jr., tied his season-high with three rebounds in the loss at Illinois State. Earlier on the trip, he tied a season-high with five points in the loss at San Francisco. He also made the second three-point shot of his career against the Dons. Brew, the team's backup point guard, is third on the squad with 11 assists, an average of 1.5 per game. He is also tied for third on the team with six steals.

• Dunk You Very Much
Freshman center Greg Somogyi has made 8-of-14 shots on the year and six of the eight field goals have been slam dunks. In three weekend games at the World Vision Invitational, Somogyi set personal highs with six points and six rebounds against Winston-Salem State, and then with two assists against Nicholls State. He is averaging 2.9 points and 3.0 rebounds per game. He leads the Gauchos with nine blocked shots in just 65 minutes of action.

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