December 10, 2008

Winners of Three Out of Four, Gauchos Return Home to Play Loyola Marymount Saturday

Dec. 10, 2008

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• The Schedule
Game No. 9
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

Game No. 10
Wednesday, December 17, 2008 at 6:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Weber State Wildcats
at Weber State's Dee Events Center
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.

• The Gaucho Way
As a championship-caliber program, UCSB Athletics recognizes the responsibility that goes with it. This simply means all student-athletes, staff, and fans will behave with a champion's approach, creating a safe environment at games and events. All of those who attend, compete, or work at Gaucho events are caretakers of the passionate, exciting, and great experience UCSB is known for. This is "The Gaucho Way."

• This Week
After playing the last five games away from home, UC Santa Barbara returns to the Thunderdome on Saturday, Dec. 13 to host Loyola Marymount in a 7:00 p.m. game. It will mark the Gauchos' first home game since they hosted North Carolina on Nov. 21. The game against the Lions is a Santa Barbara News-Press Kids to College game and all youth, 13 and under, will be admitted free. Also, foam fingers will be given out to the first 500 in attendance. Tickets for 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 going to UCSBgauchos.com.

• UCSB Offers Tickets To Firefighters, Emergency Personnel At Dec. 13 And Dec. 17 Games
UCSB is offering free basketball tickets for any and all emergency responders who took part in protecting and defending the local community during the recent Tea and Gap Fires in the Santa Barbara area. The offer applies to firefighters, police, EMTs, Red Cross workers, ambulance drivers, and any other professionals who played a part in taking care of area residents and their property. All those interested are invited to attend the Gaucho men's game against Loyola Marymount on Dec. 13 and/or the Gaucho women's game against Harvard on Dec. 17. Tip-off for both games is scheduled for 7:00 p.m., and all emergency personnel will be recognized for their efforts during both games. Anyone interested in reserving tickets in advance or needing more information is asked to contact the UCSB Athletics Ticket Office at 805-893-UCSB. Tickets may also be obtained by showing emergency personnel identification at the Thunderdome box office the night of the games.

• The Gaucho Record
The Gauchos enter the week with a record of 4-4. On Dec. 4, UCSB defeated Utah Valley on the road, 62-57. That was the last game prior to final exams. The victory over the Wolverines was the Gauchos' third in their last four games, all away from home.

• Shorthanded UCSB Tops Utah Valley
Playing without leading scorer Chris Devine, who sat out because of a sprained ankle, UCSB used a stifling defense and an outstanding shooting performance to hand Utah Valley University its first home loss of the year, 62-57, on Dec. 4. Junior forward Jesse Byrd had the first double-double of his career with 13 points and a career-high 12 rebounds, and freshman guard Will Brew, Jr., scored a personal-high 11 points in the first start of his career, to lead the way. The Gauchos, who shot 53.5% from the field, had five players score eight or more points. In addition to Byrd and Brew, James Powell added nine, while D.J. Posley and Jaimé Serna each had eight. It was a career-high for Serna. UCSB limited Utah Valley to 36.4% shooting overall, and just 25.0% from three-point range. Wolverine guard Ryan Toolson, who entered the game averaging 27.4 points per game and shooting 58% from three-point range, was held to 19 points. Toolson made just 7-of-22 shots overall and 3-of-15 from three-point territory.

• 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 167-135. 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 356-235 (.602) at four-year schools.

• The Opponents
UCSB and Loyola Marymount 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 and Weber State have played just one time. The Gauchos and Wildcats met in November of 2002 at the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks. Weber State won, 91-82.

• Devine Expected To Return For Loyola Marymount
Senior forward Chris Devine, who missed UCSB's game at Utah Valley with a sprained ankle, is expected to return for Saturday's home game against Loyola Marymount. The game against Utah Valley marked the first time since he became active that Devine had missed a game due to injury. The Eagle River, Alaska native sat out his first two years in Santa Barbara with a variety of injuries. The only other game he missed was to attend a funeral of a friend in Alaska.

• Possible Starters - Notes
G - 1 - D.J. Posley - Has scored eight or more points in three of the last four games.
G - 20 - Will Brew, Jr. - Scored a career-high 11 points in his first career start at Utah Valley.
G - 42 - James Powell - Has at least one three-point basket in each of the eight games.
F - 10 - Chris Devine - Expected to return after missing Utah Valley game with sprained ankle.
F - 44 - Jesse Byrd - Had first double-double at Utah Valley, 13 points, 12 rebounds.

• Possible Reserves - Notes
F - 0 - Jaimé Serna - Scored a career-high eight at Utah Valley, making all three of his field goal attempts.
G - 2 - Nick Quick - Has played in five out of the eight games.
G - 3 - Jordan Weiner - The DNP at Utah Valley was his first of the season.
G - 4 - Paul Roemer - Came off the bench at Utah Valley and had season-high five rebounds.
F - 15 - Sam Phippen - Made his first career start at Utah Valley and played a career-high 24 minutes.
G - 21 - James Nunnally - Played 16 minutes without attempting a shot at Utah Valley.
C - 55 - Greg Somogyi - Has blocked at least one shot in seven of eight games.

• On The Rebound
Since struggling with their rebounding in games against Utah State and North Carolina, the Gauchos have turned things around. UCSB has outrebounded four of its last five opponents. For the season, Santa Barbara is outrebounding opponents by a margin of 3.3 rebounds per game, but in the last five games the margin is 7.8 per game. The Gauchos top two margins of the season came in consecutive wins at the World Vision Invitational when they outrebounded Winston-Salem State and Nicholls by 16 and 12 respectively.

• Turnover Progress
Through six games this season, UCSB was averaging 19.3 turnovers per game. In the last two games, the Gauchos have made some positive progress in that area, committing a total of 25 turnovers, 12.5 per game, including a season-low 11 at Illinois State. On the season, they are now averaging 17.6 turnovers per game.

• Breaking With Routine
In their win at Utah Valley, the Gauchos shot a season-best 53.5%, making 23-of-43 field goal attempts. It marked the first time this season that UCSB made more than half of its shots. In fact, in each of the first seven games, the Gauchos never shot lower than 40.6% nor higher than 47.8%. On the year, they are hitting 45.8% of their shots.

• On The Block: A Freshmen Thing
As a team in 2008-09, UCSB has 19 blocked shots through eight games, an average of 2.4 per game. Of the 19 shots blocked by the Gauchos, 16 have been rejected by freshmen Greg Somogyi, Jaimé Serna, and James Nunnally. Somogyi has blocked a team-high 10 shots in just 75 minutes of action, while Serna has rejected four and Nunnally has produced a pair.

• Devine Intervention
Senior forward Chris Devine is expected to return to the lineup on Saturday against Loyola Marymount after missing one game with a sprained ankle. Devine, a Collegeinsider.com preseason mid-major All-American, sprained his ankle near the end of the first half of UCSB's Nov. 30 loss at Illinois State. Devine had nine points and two rebounds in 16 minutes against the Red Birds before the injured ankle forced him to the sidelines. Despite the injury, he was named to the World Vision Invitational All-Tournament Team. Devine is averaging 12.3 points and 6.1 rebounds in seven games. The 12.6 points per game is a team-high while his rebounding average is second. 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 the 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 against Illinois State, 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.

• Old Buddy, Old Powell
Since scoring a season-high 22 points in a Nov. 24 game at San Francisco, junior guard James Powell has struggled offensively. While he is averaging 12.1 points per game, second on the team, Powell has averaged just 9.0 points per game in the last four, including nine in the win at Utah Valley. In the previous game, at Illinois State, he equaled his season-low with six points. Not ironically, Powell tied his season-low with nine field goal attempts against Utah Valley. In fact, he has had nine attempts in three of the last four games. In the first four games of the season, he averaged 15.2 shots per game and in the last four he has averaged just 9.7. The junior from Pomona, Calif., is battling to get on-track with his shooting. He is making just 34.0% of his shots overall, 32.1% from three-point territory. In the last five games, he has gone 20-of-54 overall, 37.0%, and 14-for-33 from three-point range, 42.4%. Powell leads the team with 18 three-point baskets and he is the only Gaucho to have made at least one three-pointer in all eight games. He has, in fact, made two or more in five games and he drained a season-high six threes on Nov. 24 at San Francisco. In the season-opener against Cal State Los Angeles on Nov. 14, he had a career-high seven rebounds. Powell is averaging 3.3 rebounds per game and he has had five or more three times. He is also tied for the team-lead with nine steals through eight games. He had a season-high three against North Carolina. He was an Honorable Mention All-Big West choice in 2007-08 when he set a UCSB record for three-point field goal percentage in a season at 46.7%. The 79 three-pointers that Powell hit during the 2007-08 campaign were the second most for a single-season in school history.

• Sam I Am
Forced into a starting role at Utah Valley because of the ankle injury suffered by Chris Devine, sophomore forward Sam Phippen responded with 24 solid minutes. He scored five points, had three rebounds, a blocked shot, and a steal in his stint. He was 2-for-3 from the field, and made his only three-point attempt. In fact, Phippen has averaged 4.5 points in the last two games, making 4-of-6 shots overall, 66.7%.

• The Word On Byrd
Junior forward Jesse Byrd's last two games have been his two best as a Gaucho. In the Dec. 4 win at Utah Valley, Byrd played a career-high 31 minutes and posted the first double-double of his career with 13 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. On Nov. 30 at Illinois State, he had a career-high 17 points and eight rebounds. In the last two games, Byrd has averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds per game while making 12-of-19 shots from the field, 63.2%. He has now scored in double-figures three times this season, the third instance being a 12-point performance against North Carolina. Byrd's recent offensive surge has bumped his scoring average to 8.6 points per game overall and it has improved his field goal percentage to 60.0%, best among players on the team with at least 20 field goal attempts. A transfer from San Francisco, Byrd has also claimed the team-lead in rebounding at 6.9 per game. He is the only Gaucho to have at least five rebounds in all eight games and he has had seven or more four times. In addition, the Oakland, Calif., native's 12-rebound performance against Utah Valley were the most rebounds by a UCSB player in two seasons.

• That's Jaimé, not Jamie
Freshman forward Jaimé Serna is now averaging a season-high 4.6 points per game. He made all three of his field goal attempts and scored a personal-best eight points in 16 minutes before fouling out at Utah Valley. Although he tied his season-low with one rebound against the Wolverines, Serna is third on the team in that category at 3.6 per game. In two games prior to the game at Utah Valley, he had two of his best rebounding efforts, grabbing five at Illinois State and six against Nicholls State. His season-high came in the opener against Cal State Los Angeles when he pulled-down seven. Serna's previous offensive high was six points, which he had against North Carolina and Winston-Salem State.

• Something Is Brewing
Freshman Will Brew, Jr., made the first start of his career in the win at Utah Valley and it was his best game as a Gaucho. Brew scored a career-high 11 points, in a career-high 24 minutes. He also made 4-of-6 shots overall and 2-of-3 from three-point territory. Ten of his 11 points came in the pivotal first half. Brew's previous career-high of five points came against Cal State Los Angeles and San Francisco. He is now averaging 3.9 points per game.

• Roemer Wasn't Built In A Day
While he came off the bench for the first time this season, junior guard Paul Roemer had a solid effort against Utah Valley. In 22 minutes, he had three points, one assist, and a career-high five rebounds. In the previous game, at Illinois State, Roemer had a career-high five assists. He has had three or more assists three times. Through eight games, Roemer is now averaging 4.3 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game. He scored a season-high 11 on Nov. 28 against Winston-Salem State. Finally, he has made seven three-pointers on the season, second on the team, with six coming in a three game stretch of games against North Carolina, San Francisco, and Winston-Salem State.

• The Flying Nunnally
Freshman James Nunnally is fourth among the Gauchos in scoring at 6.0 points per game and he is tied for fourth in rebounding at 3.3 per game. On Dec. 4, for the first time this season, Nunnally did not attempt a field goal. He finished with just one point, also adding four rebounds and a steal. He scored a personal-best 22 points on Nov. 21 against North Carolina and in the other seven games he has tallied 26 points. In fact, since scoring 22 against the Tar Heels, Nunnally has totaled 18 points in five games with eight coming against Illinois State. The 22 points he had against UNC were the most scored by a UCSB freshman since Branduinn Fullove had 22 in a game at Boise State on March 3, 2001.

• Strike A Posley
Senior guard D.J. Posley is averaging a season-high 5.4 points per game. He had eight points on Dec. 4 at Utah Valley. It was the third time in the last four games that Posley scored eight or more points. In wins over Winston-Salem State and Nicholls State, he 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 24, an average of 3.0 per game. He is also tied for the team-lead with eight steals. 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. Against Utah Valley, Posley also attempted a career-high 11 shots.

• A Hungary Hunter
Freshman center Greg Somogyi had four points, one rebound, and a blocked shot at Utah Valley. He made both of his field goal attempts and has now hit 10-of-16 on the season, 62.5%. The native of Budapest, Hungary is now averaging 3.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocked shots in just 9.4 minutes per game. Somogyi's total of 10 blocked shots already ranks tied for seventh on UCSB's all-time freshman list. Finally, while he has had two or more rebounds in five of eight games, including a season-high six on Nov. 28 against Winston-Salem State, Somogyi had just one rebound in each of his last two games, a total of 21 minutes.