December 4, 2007

UCSB Jumps to 14th in Mid-Major Poll, Takes Five-Game Winning Streak into Wednesday's Thunderdome Match-up with Pepperdine

Dec. 4, 2007

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The Schedule
Game No. 9
Wednesday, December 5, 2007 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Pepperdine University Waves
at UCSB's Thunderdome
TV: None
Radio: KTMS 990/1490-AM
Internet: BigWest.TV

Game No. 10
Friday, December 10, 2007 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Utah Valley State Wolverines
at UCSB's Thunderdome
TV: None
Radio: KTMS 990/1490-AM
Internet: BigWest.TV

On The Radio
All UC Santa Barbara basketball games are broadcast live in Santa Barbara on KTMS, 990 and 1490 AM. KEYT-TV Sports Director Gerry Fall is in his fourth 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. Home games can also be heard on UCSB's student station, KCSB 91.9-FM. KCSB also streams live audio at www.kcsb.org.

On The Internet
All UCSB home games and all Big West games, home and road, are streamed on the Internet on Big West TV. Big West TV can be accessed at www.BigWest.org.

The Bob Williams Show
The Bob Williams in Paradise show will be aired each Tuesday night from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on KTMS 990 and 1490 AM in Santa Barbara. Coach Williams will talk about past and upcoming games, interview Gaucho players and welcome guests from the Santa Barbara sports community. Bob in Paradise is broadcast live each week from The Paradise Cafe on the corner of Anacapa and Ortega in downtown Santa Barbara.

The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara has jumped out to a 7-1 record in 2007-08. The Gauchos won their first two games of the year, defeating Northwestern State and Harvard at the Basketball Travelers Classic in Palo Alto, then lost at Stanford, which was nationally-ranked at the time. Since then, UCSB has put together a five-game winning streak, the first four wins during the streak (Cal Poly Pomona, San Francisco, Montana State and UNLV) came at home. On Saturday, the Gauchos won on the road at Loyola Marymount.

Gauchos Off To Their Best Start In 15 Seasons
UCSB's 7-1 start is the program's best in 15 years. The last time the Gauchos won seven of their first eight games was in 1992-93 when they went on to win eight of their first nine. The only time a UCSB team had a better eight-game record was in 1988-89 when it posted a perfect 8-0 record to open the year. The 1987-88 Gauchos also went 7-1 to open the year. In 2006-07, Santa Barbara was 6-2 after eight games.

Streaking
UCSB will take a five-game winning streak into its game against Pepperdine on Wednesday night. The Gauchos had three four-game winning streaks in 2006-07, but could never get to five. The current five-game winning streak is the longest since 2002-03 when UCSB won five games in a row to end the regular season. Bob Williams-coached Gaucho teams have put together three five-game winning streaks, but never a six-gamer. The last time Santa Barbara won as many as six games in a row was in 1992-93 when it won six in a row to start the season.

UCSB Ranked 14th In Mid-Major Poll
After opening the 2007-08 season ranked 20th in the Collegeinsider.com Mid-Major Poll, the Gauchos dropped to 23rd in the second poll, jumped to 22nd in the third poll, to 18th in the fourth and to a season-high 14th this week.

Powell Named Big West Co-Player Of The Week
Sophomore guard James Powell was named Big West co-Player of the Week after helping UCSB to a pair of wins last week. Powell scored 15 points, all in the second half, as the Gauchos came from behind to defeat UNLV, 63-60 on Nov. 27. It was his three-pointer with less than half a second left that snapped a 60-60 tie and gave his team the win. On Saturday, Powell had 11 points to go with season-highs of six rebounds and five assists as UCSB defeated Loyola Marymount, 63-56. The honor was the first ever for Powell. He is the second Gaucho to win the award this season, joining Alex Harris.

Gauchos Use Another Strong Second Half To Win Fifth Straight
In what is fast becoming a habit, UC Santa Barbara parlayed another strong second half performance into its fifth straight win, 63-56 at Loyola Marymount on Saturday night. Once again, the Gauchos overcame a sluggish first half that saw them score just 23 points and shoot a mere 26.7%. The Lions matched UCSB's first half struggles with just 21 points and a 27.3% field goal mark. On Tuesday night, in a 63-60 win over UNLV, the Gauchos scored just 16 firt half points before going for 47 in the second half. On Saturday, they outscored LMU 40-35 in the final 20 minutes, making 57.1% of their shots. Senior guard Alex Harris led Santa Barbara with 21 points, including 13 in the second half. Junior forward Chris Devine had 13, 11 of which were scored after halftime. James Powell (11) and Ivan Elliott (10) were also in double-figures. All 10 of Elliott's points came in the second half. UCSB had a nine-point lead on a couple of occasions in the second half, the last one being at 49-40 with 9:08 to play. LMU, which was led by guard Shawn Deadwiler who scored 23 points, got as close as three points at 59-56 with 1:05 left, but could get no closer as the Gauchos made four of five free throws in the final minute. Santa Barbara forced the Lions into 24 turnovers, the second highest opponent total of the season. LMU, however, outrebounded the Gauchos 37-33. Guard Jon Ziri had a game-high 12 boards. UCSB was led by Devine who had nine. Powell added six rebounds and five assists.

Probable Starters - Notes
G - Justin Joyner - Has had two or more assists in all eight games.
G - Alex Harris - Has led the Gauchos in scoring in all seven of his appearances.
G - James Powell - Had season-highs of six rebounds and five assists at Loyola Marymount.
F - Chris Devine - Collected a season-high nine rebounds at Loyola Marymount.
F - Ivan Elliott - Has scored in double-figures in two of the last three games.

Probable Reserves - Notes
G - Nick Quick - Made the first three-pointer of his career against Cal Poly Pomona.
G - Jordan Weiner - Has made 2-of-3 shots on the year, both from three-point range.
G - Paul Roemer - Has played 125 minutes in eight games after playing 132 in all of 2006-07.
G - D.J. Posley - Leads the Gauchos with 11 steals and has at least one in six straight.
G - George Murphy - Has yet to play in a game.
F - Nedim Pajevic - UCSB is 5-0 when he scores in double-figures.
F - Sam Phippen - Recorded personal-highs of three points and four rebounds at LMU.
F - Beau Gibb - Has played exact amount of minutes (72) that he played all of last year.
F - Spencer Ford - Freshman forward will redshirt 2007-08 season.

The Bob Williams File
Bob Williams is in his 10th season as the head coach at UC Santa Barbara. Last year his team recorded an overall record of 18-11 and a Big West mark of 9-5. The 18 wins were the most regular season wins by a Gaucho team since 1991-92 and it equaled the second most wins a Williams-coached UCSB team has ever had. Williams has led Santa Barbara to winning records in five of the last six seasons, the only exception being a 2004-05 team that was ravaged by injuries. He has guided UCSB to a pair of postseason appearances. In 2002-03, the 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 title ever and first NCAA Tournament appearance in 12 years. Including this season, Williams' UCSB teams have posted a 147-123 (.544) overall record and an 86-59 (.589) 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 336-223 (.601) at four-year schools.

The Opposition
UCSB and Pepperdine have played 67 times since the series began in 1940. The Waves hold a 35-32 edge, but the Gauchos have won the last two games. Last year, on Nov. 21, UCSB needed double overtime to post an 89-80 win in Malibu. The last time the programs played in Santa Barbara, Dec. 7, 2005, the Gauchos won by a score of 65-56. UCSB and Utah Valley State will be playing for the first time.

The Gauchos At Home
With wins over UNLV, Montana State, San Francisco and Cal Poly Pomona, UCSB is 4-0 at the Thunderdome this season. The Gauchos are already half way to their home win total of a year ago. In 2006-07, Santa Barbara uncharacteristically struggled at home with an 8-6 record. With the four straight Thunderdome wins to open the 2007-08 season, the Gauchos have now won six straight home games dating back to last year.

Late Bloomers
Although it is off to a good start in 2007-08, UCSB has yet to play a good game, start to finish. The Gauchos have had their struggles in the first half of games, but they have made a habit of playing strong second halves to make up for it. On Saturday at Loyola Marymount, Santa Barbara struggled through the first 20 minutes, scoring just 23 points and making just 26.7% of its shots. The Gauchos bounced back in the second half with 40 points and a 57.1% mark from the field. On Nov. 27, in a 63-60 win over UNLV, UCSB had just 16 points and shot just 20.7% in the first half. The Gauchos heated-up in the second half against the Runnin' Rebels, scoring 47 points and shooting 65.2%. In the last two games, UCSB has scored a total of 39 points in the first halves, 19.5 per half, making just 14-of-59 field goal attempts, 23.7%. The second halves have been a different story as the Gauchos have scored 87 points, 43.5 per half, and making 29-of-52 shots, 55.8%. Overall, through eight games, the Gauchos have outscored the opposition by 13 points in the first half of games, a margin of 1.6 points on average, and by 56 points in the second half of games, a margin of 7.0 on average. UCSB has scored 40 points or more in a half six times this season, five in second halves. The highest scoring first half by the Gauchos in 2007-08 was a 40-point first half effort against Northwestern State. They followed that up with a season-high 52-point second half. While UCSB is shooting 44.7% from the field overall, it has made 37.0% of its shots in first halves and 52.5% in second halves.

Turning Over A New Leaf
Probably the most important aspect of the defense being employed by UCSB this season is its ability to cause turnovers. In recent years, Gaucho teams have played good defense in the sense that they have generally limited opponents to low field goal and three-point percentages, and relatively low point totals. What UCSB's defense has not done is force turnovers and thus create points from the turnovers. Through eight games in 2007-08, that has changed. Santa Barbara's first eight opponents have turned the ball over 166 times, an average of 20.7 per game. In 2006-07, the highest total of turnovers forced by UCSB was 21, by Pepperdine in a double overtime game. This season, five of the first seven opponents have had 21 or more turnovers in a game and none has had fewer than 16, the total that Stanford and UNLV produced. In the season opener, Northwestern State coughed-up 28 turnovers, a season-high. In 2006-07, Gaucho opponents averaged 13.4 turnovers per game and had 16 or more seven times in 29 games, and 20 or more just once. On the other side of the court, UCSB is committing its share of turnovers as well, although not at the same clip as the opposition. The Gauchos have 126 turnovers through eight games, 15.7 per game, an increase of 1.8 per game over 2006-07. Santa Barbara has had 17 or more turnovers four times and 20 or more twice. The Gauchos had a season-high 23 turnovers on Nov. 20 against San Francisco.

The Defense Never Rests
The Gauchos are allowing just 62.6 points per game, a drop of nearly five points per game from last year's defensive average of 67.4 per game. UCSB has allowed more than 70 points in a game one time, the season opener against Northwestern State when the Demons scored 71. The Gauchos have allowed fewer than 60 points twice, including Saturday when Loyola Marymount scored just 56. In the last three games, the opposition has scored 177 points, 59.0 per game.

Playing The Margins
After having each of their first four games decided by 18 points or more, things have tightened-up for the Gauchos. Three of the last four games have been decided by seven or fewer points and UCSB is a perfect 3-0 in those games. On Nov. 20, UCSB defeated San Francisco by five points, 74-69. On Nov. 27, Santa Barbara played its closest game of the season, a 63-60 win over visiting UNLV. Saturday, the Gauchos won a seven-point decision at Loyola Marymount, 63-56.

Breaking The Rebound Rule
UCSB is being outrebounded on the season by an average of 3.0 rebounds per game. The Gauchos have won the battle of the boards just three times in eight games, doing so against Northwestern State, Cal Poly Pomona and UNLV. In the five games that their opponents have outrebounded them, they have gone 4-1, meaning that they have gone a perfect 3-0 in games when they outrebound their opponents. The largest rebound deficit that UCSB has had this season is 17, in the only loss of the year, a 67-49 decision at Stanford.

That `70s Show
While UCSB has allowed 70 or more points in a game just one time this season, the Gauchos have scored 70 or more five times, going 5-0 in those games. UCSB has actually scored 74 or more five times this season, all in the first six games. The Gauchos are averaging 71.2 points per game, the exact same average that they had last season. Their highest scoring effort this year was a 92-point explosion in the opener against Northwestern State, and their lowest scoring effort was a 48 point output on Nov. 11 at Stanford.

Freebies
The Gauchos have been very good from the free throw line this season. Through eight games, UCSB has made 78.0% of its charity attempts while the opposition has made just 64.0%. In fact, the Gauchos have outshot seven of eight opponents from the line this season, winning all seven times. The only game that saw UCSB make a lower percentage than its opponent was on Nov. 11 at Stanford when the Cardinal hit 24-of-39, 61.5%, and the Gauchos made just 4-of-9, 44.4%. The only other time Santa Barbara shot below 76.0% was on Nov. 27 against UNLV when it made 9-of-13, 69.2%.

Take Me To Your Leaders
While only two players (Alex Harris and James Powell) have led the Gauchos in scoring this season, the same has not held true for the other statistical categories. UCSB has had eight players lead or tie for the team-lead in steals, six lead or tie for the team-lead in rebounding, five lead or tie for the lead in assists, and five have done so in blocked shots.

The Harris Poll
Senior guard Alex Harris scored 21 points in UCSB's win over Loyola Marymount on Saturday night. Harris, who is now averaging a team-leading 23.6 points per game, has led the Gauchos in scoring in all seven of his appearances this season. He missed the team's home opener on Nov. 15 against Cal Poly Pomona with an injured left thumb, but in four games since his return, Harris has averaged 24.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. He has also made 11 three-pointers in the last four games, seven more than he made in his first three games. In last week's win over UNLV, Harris scored a game-high 19 points, including 16 in the second half, to help the Gauchos come back from a 13-point deficit to win, 63-60. The second half surge against the Runnin' Rebels was the second in a row for the Alameda, Calif., native. On Nov. 24 against Montana State, Harris scored a season-high 29 points, 21 in the second half. In that game, he made 15-of-18 free throws, all in the final 20 minutes, setting school records for one half. The 29 point total was the third highest of his career. Harris is shooting 46.5% overall and 40.5% from three-point range. After making 4-of-14 (28.6%) from three-point range in the first three games of the season, he has made 11-of-23, 47.8%, in the last four games. Harris has scored at least 18 points in all seven of his games this season and he has had 20 or more five times. A Preseason All-Big West and Mid-Major All-America selection, Harris also had a team-high seven rebounds in last week's win over UNLV and in the previous game, against Montana State, he had a team and season-high eight. Overall, Harris is averaging 4.6 rebounds per game, third on the team. He has also shown a penchant for going to the free throw line this season. He made 7-of-9 in the win over Loyola Marymount and has now made 56-of-67, 83.6%. He is averaging 8.0 points per game from the free throw line alone. Finally, with 165 points so far this season, Harris has now tallied 1,234 in his career and needs just two points to move into UCSB's all-time top-10 and just 14 to move into eighth-place.

The Devine File
Junior forward Chris Devine is second on the team in scoring at 13.4 points per game and he has pulled into a tie for the team-lead in rebounds at 5.0 per game. Devine had 13 points, a season-high nine rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal in Saturday's win over Loyola Marymount. Despite foul trouble, he played 28 minutes against the Lions. Devine is one of two Gauchos to have scored in double-figures in every appearance he has made this season. Although he missed one game, he has scored 10 or more in all seven outings and 13 or more six times. Devine scored a season-high 18 points on Nov. 20 against San Francisco. He has had two of his three best rebounding efforts in the last two games. On Nov. 27, in a win over UNLV, he had seven rebounds to go along with 10 points and a pair of assists. While he is averaging 5.0 boards per game, he has been much better since collecting just three in the first two games of the season. In his last five games, Devine has 32 rebounds, 6.4 per game, and he is at 8.0 per game in the last two. Also, while he is making 52.5% of his field goal attempts on the year, he has gone 28-of-51, 54.9%, in his last six games. In the last five games, Devine has made 4-of-6 shots from beyond the three-point arc. He did not make a three in the win at LMU, ending a streak of four straight games with a made three-pointer. Finally, the Preseason All-Big West Conference choice has had two or more assists in three straight games.

Old Buddy, Old Powell
After struggling with his offense through the first three games of the year, sophomore guard James Powell has had his four best offensive performances of the season in the last five games. In fact, for his efforts in wins over UNLV and Loyola Marymount, Powell was named Big West co-Player of the Week, his first career Player of the Week honor. In the two games, he averaged 13.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. In the win over the Rebels, Powell made the game-winning three-pointer with less than half a second remaining. He finished with 15 points on a career-high five three-pointers, all in the second half, as the Gauchos overcame a 13-point deficit to win. Powell has now scored in double-figures in three straight games for the first time this season. After averaging 5.7 points per game through the first three games, he has averaged 14.0 per game in the last five. On Nov. 15 against Cal Poly Pomona, Powell scored a career-high 24 points on 8-of-12 shooting overall and 4-of-7 from three-point range. It was a key performance because it came in the absence of Alex Harris who missed the game with an injury. Overall, Powell is now averaging 10.9 points per game, a figure which is at its seaon-high. He has taken over the team lead with 16 three-point baskets, an average of 2.0 per game. He has made 14 of his 16 three-pointers in the last five games. While he is shooting 39.2% overall and 40.0% from three-point range, Powell has made 24-of-54 shots overall in his last five games, 44.4%, and 14-of-31 from three-point territory, 45.2%. Finally, in Saturday's win, Powell tied his career-high with six rebounds and he set a new season-high with five assists.

A Piece Of The Pajevic (Pronounced Pie-uh-vich)
After a run of three consecutive double-figure scoring performances, senior forward Nedim Pajevic has struggled in his last two games. In wins over UNLV and Loyola Marymount, Pajevic missed all four of his field goal attempts and totaled just five points, 2.5 per game. On Saturday at Loyola Marymount, he scored a season-low one point, missing his only field goal attempt in 12 minutes. He was also without a rebound. On the year, the transfer from Weber State is now averaging 8.3 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. He has scored 10 or more points five times in eight games, including a season-high 16 points on Nov. 10 against Harvard. Pajevic has also produced UCSB's only double-double of the season, going for 10 points and 10 rebounds on Nov. 20 against San Francisco. His best overall game was probably when he had 11 points, eight rebounds and five assists on Nov. 15 against Cal Poly Pomona. Pajevic has provided the Gauchos with one of their best passing post players in a while and he is averaging 2.3 assists per game, third on the team. He has had three or more assists in four of eight games this season.

Ivan The Good
Senior forward Ivan Elliott has bounced back from a two-point game in the home opener against Cal Poly Pomona, averaging 9.0 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocked shots per game in the last four Gaucho contests. Overall, Elliott is now averaging 8.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. He is shooting 48.3% from the floor, but since making 8-of-10 and scoring a career-high 17 in the season opener against Northwestern State, he has made just 21-of-50 shots, 41.0%. Elliott has developed into a legitimate three-point shooting threat. After making 5-of-13 shots from beyond the arc in 2006-07, he has made 8-of-17 through seven games, 47.1%. He has made at least one three-point basket in six of eight games and on Nov. 24, in a win over Montana State, he made a career-high three, in four attempts. Elliott has scored 10 or more three times this year, including two times in the last three games.

Justin Joins In
Sophomore point guard Justin Joyner was scoreless in 24 minutes, missing his only field goal attempt, in the win at Loyola Marymount. He did have four assists and just one turnover, and he did play a pivotal part in a defensive effort that forced 24 turnovers. Joyner is averaging 3.4 points per game, but 17 of his 27 points were scored in two games, wins over UNLV (eight) and Harvard (nine). He has has more assists (28) than points (27). His 3.5 assists per game leads the team. He has had four or more assists five times this season, including each of the last two games and four of the last five. Joyner had a season-high five assists in the opener against Northwestern State. He is also averaging 2.9 rebounds per game and tied his season-high with five against UNLV. In that same game, Joyner doubled his season total of three-pointers, hitting a pair during the Gauchos' second half rally, helping them overcome a 13-point deficit. Joyner had missed nine straight three-point attempts before making 2-of-3 in the second half against the Rebels.

The Supporting Cast
Sophomore guard Paul Roemer played 16 minutes in the win at Loyola Marymount, the most he has logged since playing a career-high 26 on Nov. 20 against Cal Poly Pomona...Roemer has now played 125 minutes through eight games, just seven fewer than he played all of last season...He scored a season-high 10 points in the first game of the year, a win over Northwestern State, and eight against Pomona. In the other six games, he has had one point...Junior guard D.J. Posley leads the Gauchos with 11 steals on the year...Posley has had at least one steal in seven of eight games and he had a season-high three on Nov. 9 against Northwestern State...Freshman forward Sam Phippen had career-highs of three points and four rebounds in seven minutes at Loyola Marymount on Saturday...Phippen has played 23 minutes in five games, including a season-high nine on Nov. 24 against Montana State...Junior forward Beau Gibb has played in all eight games and after playing a season-low two minutes against UNLV, he registered seven minutes at Loyola Marymount...Gibb has now played 72 minutes, the exact same number he played in 2006-07.