December 13, 2007

UCSB, 9-1, Travels to Ball State, Top-Ranked North Carolina

Dec. 13, 2007

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The Schedule
Game No. 11
Wednesday, December 19, 2007 at 4:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Ball State Cardinals
at BSU's Worthen Arena
TV: None
Radio: KTMS 990/1490-AM
Internet: ballstatesports.com

Game No. 12
Saturday, December 22, 2007 at 10:00 a.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at the University of North Carolina Tar Heels
at UNC's Dean Smith Center
TV: Fox Sports South
Radio: KTMS 990/1490-AM
Internet: tarheelblue.com

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.

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 enters its road trip to Ball State and North Carolina with a 9-1 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 seven-game winning streak. Six of the wins (Cal Poly Pomona, San Francisco, Montana State, UNLV, Pepperdine and Utah Valley) during the streak have come at home, and one (Loyola Marymount) came on the road.

UCSB Now No. 6 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 to 14th in the fifth poll, to seventh last week and despite not playing a game last week, to an all-time high of sixth in the latest poll.

Gauchos Off To Their Best Start In 19 Seasons, Second Best Start Ever
UCSB's 9-1 start is the program's best in 19 years and the second best in program history. The last time the Gauchos had a better record through 10 games was in 1988-89 when they went 10-0 to open the year. That team ultimately went 11-0 and 15-1. The other UCSB team to open with a 9-1 record was the 1987-88 team. That team ultimately went 11-1

Streaking
UCSB will take a seven-game winning streak into its game at Ball State on Wednesday, Dec. 19. The Gauchos had three four-game winning streaks in 2006-07, but could never get beyond that. The current seven-game winning streak is the longest that a Bob Williams-coached UCSB team has had. The last time Santa Barbara won as many as seven games in a row was in 1988-89 when they opened the season with 11 straight victories.

Harris Named Big West Player Of The Week For Second Time
Senior guard Alex Harris was named Big West Player of the Week for the second time in three weeks after leading UCSB to wins over Pepperdine and Utah Valley. Harris averaged 23.5 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game in the two victories. Most impressively, he made 10-of-13 shots from three-point territory, 76.9%. In the win over Pepperdine, Harris had scored 22 points, grabbed three rebounds, and had a pair of steals. In that game he made 4-of-5 three-point attempts. Against Utah Valley, he had 25 points and made a career-high six three-pointers, in eight attempts. The award was the second in three weeks for Harris and the fourth of his career. A Gaucho has won or shared Big West Player of the Week honors three straight weeks. Last week, sophomore guard James Powell shared the award.

Probable Starters - Notes
G - Justin Joyner - Has 17 assists and five turnovers in the last three games.
G - Alex Harris - Made 10-of-13 three-point attempts in last two games, 76.9%.
G - James Powell - Has scored in double-figures in five straight and six of seven.
F - Chris Devine - Came-up with a season-high four steals in win over Utah Valley.
F - Ivan Elliott - Made 7-of-9 shots, 77.8%, in the last two games.

Probable Reserves - Notes
G - Nick Quick - Has played in each of the last two games.
G - Jordan Weiner - Has made 2-of-3 shots on the year, both from three-point range.
G - Paul Roemer - Has scored in consecutive games for the first time this year.
G - D.J. Posley - Since making 1-of-12 shots to open year, has gone 10-of-17, 58.8%.
G - George Murphy - Has yet to play in a game.
F - Nedim Pajevic - Had six rebounds vs. Utah Valley, his highest total in five games.
F - Sam Phippen - Recorded personal-highs of three points and four rebounds at LMU.
F - Beau Gibb - Has played 84 minutes this season after playing 72 in 2006-07.
F - Peter Jordan - Walk-on freshman has played in two games this season.
F - Spencer Ford - Freshman 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 149-123 (.548) 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 338-223 (.602) at four-year schools.

Gauchos Continue Hot Shooting, Defeat Utah Valley
Alex Harris scored 25 points and made a career-best six out of eight shots from three-point range, as UC Santa Barbara won its seventh straight game, 81-61 over visiting Utah Valley University on Dec. 7. The Gauchos made 12-of-20 shots from three-point territory overall, 60.0%, and have now hit 21-of-33, 63.6%, in the last two games. The Wolverines struggled from outside the arc, hitting 6-of-23, 26.1%. Wolverine guard Ryan Toolson, who tied Harris for game-high honors with 25 points, made one of his four three-pointers with 3:09 to play in the first half, pulling his team within three, 31-28. UCSB, however, closed the half on an 8-0 run, which included a three-pointer by Harris and five free throws, to take a 39-28 halftime lead. After Ivan Elliott made a lay-up for the first basket of the second half to give the Gauchos a 41-28 lead, Utah Valley scored four in a row to narrow the gap to nine, 41-32. A 13-3 run expanded UCSB's lead to 54-35, and the game was never closer than 17 the rest of the way. The Gauchos led by as many as 24 (67-43) with just over seven minutes to play. Devine and James Powell each finished with 12 points and Elliott had 11 for UCSB. Elliott and Devine each had a team-high seven rebounds as well. Justin Joyner, who made a pair of three-point baskets, finished with eight points and a season-high seven assists. The Gaucho bench was also instrumental in the win as D.J. Posley made his lone three-point attempt and finished with five points, and Nedim Pajevic had four points, six rebounds and three assists.

Honorees
UCSB has had three Big West Players of the Week this season. Senior Alex Harris has earned the award twice (Nov. 25 and Dec. 10) and sophomore guard James Powell has won it once (Dec. 3). Harris has been named Player of the Week four times in the last two seasons.

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 six have done so in blocked shots.

Three-Point Stance
UCSB has really started to heat-up from three-point territory. Through 10 games, the Gauchos are averaging 7.7 three-pointers per game and are making 43.0%. Recently, however, those numbers are even better. In the last two games, wins over Pepperdine and Utah Valley, UCSB made 21 out of 33 three-point attempts, 63.6%. In the last four games, the Gauchos have drained 37-of-71, 52.1%. Three times in the last four games, they have made at least 50.0% of their three-point attempts. Through three games this season, Santa Barbara had made 15-of-47 shots from outside the three-point arc, 31.9%, but during the seven-game winning streak, the team has hit 62-of-132, 47.0%. Finally, UCSB has been particularly good on its three-point attempts at the Thunderdome, averaging 9.7 per game, making 50.0% or better in four of the six games and nailing 58-of-118 overall, 49.2%.

Turning Over A New Leaf
Probably the most significant statistical turnaround for UCSB this season has been the number of turnovers that it is forcing. In recent years, Gaucho teams have played good defense but they have not forced many turnovers. In other words, the solid defense has not led directly to offense. This year UCSB is forcing a significant number of turnovers. Through 10 games, the Gauchos are forcing 20.7 turnovers per game, an increase of 7.3 per game over the 13.4 per game the forced in 2006-07. Last year, the highest number of turnovers forced by Santa Barbara was 21, in a double-overtime win at Pepperdine. In 2007-08, UCSB has forced 21 or more turnovers six times and no Gaucho opponent has had fewer than 16 miscues in a game. The highest total by an opponent this season was the 28 committed on Nov. 9 by Northwestern State. On Dec. 5, Pepperdine had 25 turnovers and on Nov. 15, Cal Poly Pomona had 24. On the other side of the court, the Gauchos are averaging 16.2 turnovers per outing, up from 13.9 per game last season. They had a high of 23 in a Nov. 20 win over San Francisco.

Playing The Margins
Of UCSB's 10 games this season, seven have been decided by double-figures and three by fewer than 10. The Gauchos are outscoring opponents by 10.0 points per game and the only single-digit margins came in wins over UNLV (3 points), San Francisco (5 points) and Loyola Marymount (7 points).

The Opposition
UCSB and Ball State have never met in a basketball game. Whether Jim Rome (UCSB) or Michael Douglas (UCSB) have met David Letterman (Ball State), I can't say, but I can state conclusively that the basketball teams have never met. The Gauchos and North Carolina have played one time. The Tar Heels defeated UCSB by a score of 83-66 on Nov. 25, 2005 in Chapel Hill.

The Gauchos On The Road
The Gauchos are 1-1 in true road games this season. In its last road game, Dec. 1 at Loyola Marymount, UCSB posted a 63-56 win. The Gauchos lost their only other road games this year, 67-48 at Stanford on Nov. 11. Santa Barbara has won a pair of neutral court encounters this season, defeating Northwestern State (92-71) and Harvard (79-61) in the Basketball Travelers Classic, also at Stanford. In 2006-07, the Gauchos recorded an all-time best 10-4 record on the road.

The Gauchos At Home
With wins over Utah Valley, Pepperdine, UNLV, Montana State, San Francisco and Cal Poly Pomona, UCSB is 6-0 at the Thunderdome this season. In 2006-07, the Gauchos uncharacteristically struggled at home with an 8-6 record. With the six straight Thunderdome wins to open the 2007-08 season, Santa Barbara has now won eight straight home games dating back to last year.

Among The Ranks
In terms of team statistics, here is how the Gauchos rank in the Big West Conference:

Category               Stat      Rank
Scoring Offense        71.9      4th
Scoring Defense        61.9      1st
Scoring Margin        +10.0 ppg  1st
Field Goal %           45.2%     4th
Field Goal % Defense   41.8%     2nd
Free Throw Percentage  77.9%     1st
3-pt. FG %             43.0%     1st
3-pt. FG Made          7.70 3pg  3rd
3-pt. FG % Defense     27.7%     1st
Rebounding Margin     -2.3 rpg   6th
Blocked Shots          2.40 bpg  5th
Assists                14.90 apg 3rd
Assist/Turnover Ratio  0.92      4th
Opp. Turnovers         20.7 tpg  1st
Turnover Margin       +4.50 pg   1st
Steals                 8.80 spg  3rd 

The Defense Never Rests
The Gauchos are allowing just 61.9 points per game, a drop of more than 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 three times, including two of the last three games. In the last five games, opponents have averaged 59.0 points per game and during the seven-game winning streak they are at 60.0 points per game.

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 six times, going 6-0 in those games. UCSB has actually scored 74 or more six times this season, including five times in the first six games. The Gauchos are averaging 71.9 points per game, slightly more than the 71.2 points per game they averaged last year. 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.

Men Of Steal
UCSB is averaging 8.8 steals per game, an increase of 2.6 per game over last season's average of 6.2. At the current pace, the Gauchos would finish the season with more than 260 steals, a new school record.

The Harris Poll
Senior guard Alex Harris was named Big West Player of the Week for the second time this season and the fourth time in his career after leading UCSB to home wins over Pepperdine and Utah Valley. Harris averaged 23.5 points per game in the two games, but most impressively, he made 10-of-13 shots from thee-point range, 76.9%. Harris has jumped back into the scoring lead in the Big West Conference at 23.6 points per game. His 25 points in the game against Utah Valley gives him 1,281 career points, eighth on the school's all-time list. He needs 71 points to move into the number seven slot. This season, the Alameda, Calif., native has led the Gauchos in scoring in all nine of his appearances. He missed one game (Nov. 15 vs. Cal Poly Pomona) with a thumb injury, but he has scored at least 18 points in every other game. Harris will embark on the trip to Ball State and North Carolina having scored 21 or more points in three straight games, five of his last six, and seven of nine this season. He went for a season-high 29 points on Nov. 24 against Montana State, making career-highs of 15 out of 18 free throws in the game, all in the second half. Since the beginning of the 2006-07 season, Harris has scored 823 points in 38 games, an average of 21.7 points per game. He has developed into one of the best three-point shooters in school history. By making 10 out of 13 in two games last week, he is now shooting an even 50.0% (25-of-50) on the season. In the Dec. 7 win over Utah Valley, Harris made six three-pointers, a career-high. Since opening the year by making 4-of-14 (28.6%) in his first three games, he has hit 21-of-36, 58.3%, in his last six games. Harris has now made 145 three-pointers in 358 career attempts, 40.5%, the fourth highest percentage in school history. While he is averaging 4.0 rebounds per game, fourth on the team, he has totaled just seven rebounds in the last three games, 2.3 per game. He had a season-high eight rebounds on Nov. 24 against Montana State, and he has had seven twice, on Nov. 27 against UNLV and Nov. 10 against Harvard. Harris was a Preseason All-Big West and Mid-Major All-America selection.

The Devine File
Junior forward Chris Devine is second on the team in scoring at 12.9 points per game and with seven rebounds in last week's win over Utah Valley, he has taken over the team-lead in rebounding at 5.4 per game. Devine scored 12 points in the game against the Wolverines and has now scored in double-figures in all nine games in which he has played this season, going for 13 or more six times. He had a season-high 18 on Nov. 20 against San Francisco, but then missed the Nov. 24 game against Montana State to attend the funeral of a close friend. In his four games since the season-high performance against USF and his return to action, Devine has scored 45 points, 11.2 per game. He has also gone into a bit of a shooting slump over that span, making 15 out of 38 shots, 39.5%, an uncharacteristic dip for a player who entered the year with a career field goal mark of 54.0%. While his shooting has suffered in recent contests, the rest of his game has been on the upswing. Devine is averaging a team-leading 5.4 rebounds per game, but since collecting a total of just three in the first two games of the season, he has averaged 6.6 per game. In the last four games, he has gathered 30 rebounds, 7.5 per game, and he has had at least seven in each of the games. Devine had a season-high nine boards on Dec. 1 against Loyola Marymount. In addition to increased rebounds, he had a season-high four assists in the Utah Valley game and is now averaging 1.7 assists per game. Devine has two or more assists in four of the last five games. A Presesaon All-Big West selection, he also has six steals in the last three games, including three on Dec. 5 against Pepperdine, equaling his season-high. Finally, Devine is now averaging 27.0 minutes per game, but in the last five games his playing time has increased. In his first four games this season, the senior from Eagle River, Alaska, averaged 22.2 minutes per outing, playing a high of 31 on Nov. 1 at Stanford, but in his last five games, he has played 155 total minutes, 31.0 per game, including a high of 34 on Nov. 27 against UNLV.

Old Buddy, Old Powell
Sophomore guard James Powell could muster just 17 total points in his first three games this season, 5.7 per outing. In those first three, he hit just 7-of-25 shots overall, 28.0%, 2-for-9 from three-point range, 22.2%, and 1-for-3 from the free throw line, 33.3%. In the seven games since then, all wins, Powell has become one of the Gauchos' primary offensive threats. The Pomona, Calif., native has scored in double-figures six time during the seven game stretch, including a career-high 24 on Nov. 15 against Cal Poly Pomona. He has averaged 13.6 points per game in the last seven, making 32-of-71 shots overall, 45.1%, 18-for-38 from three-point range, 47.4%, and 13-of-16 from the free throw line, 81.2%. Powell is now averaging 11.2 points per game overall, third on the team, and is second on the team in three-point baskets with 20. He has made at least one three-pointer in each of the last seven games, two or more six times. Powell made a career-high five three-point buckets, all in the second half, in UCSB's 63-60 win over UNLV on Nov. 27. In fact, it was his three-pointer with less than half a second remaining that decided the game. He was named Big West Player of the Week for the effort. Powell is also averaging 3.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. He has averaged 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game in the last four games. Finally, he has had five of his nine steals in the last four as well.

Justin Joins In
Sophomore point guard Justin Joyner has had his two highest assist totals of the year in the last two games. On Dec. 5, in a win over Pepperdine, Joyner had six assists in 26 minutes. On Dec. 7, against Utah Valley, he went one better with seven assists. On the season, he is now averaging 4.1 assists per game, a figure which is at its highest point, and he has had four or more assists in four straight and seven times in 10 games. In the last four games, Joyner has averaged 5.2 assists per outing. In addition to distributing the ball well, the Antioch, Calif., native not only leads the Gauchos, but also the Big West, in assist-to-turnover ratio. He has 41 assists and just 21 turnovers, a ratio of 1.95-to-1.0. In the last five games, Joyner has contributed 23 assists and just eight turnovers, a 2.87-to-1.0 ratio. In the Dec. 7 win over Utah Valley, he also had eight points and a pair of steals. The eight points were one below his season-high of nine, which he had on Nov. 10 against Harvard. Joyner also had eight points on Nov. 27 against UNLV. He is now averaging 3.7 points per game, but 25 of his 37 points came in three games. As a freshman, Joyner led the UCSB in steals with 36, an average of 1.3 per game, and after a slow start this season, he has started to pick-up the pace in that category as well. Through five games, Joyner had three steals, but he has now had at least one steal in five straight games and he totaled five in the last two games, including a season-high three on Dec. 5 against Pepperdine. Last year, Joyner had three steals five times.

Ivan The Good
Senior forward Ivan Elliott continues to be one of UCSB's most efficient players. In the win over Utah Valley, Elliott played 23 minutes, his second lowest total of the year, finishing with 11 points and seven rebounds. He made 4-of-5 shots, including his only three-point attempt, and both of his free throws. Overall, he is now averaging 8.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, and a team-high 1.2 blocked shots per game. Elliott has scored 10 or more points four times this season, including three times in the last five games. He went for a career-high 17 points in the season opener against Northwestern State and then went four games without scoring in double-figures before the current three times in five games run. Elliott is shooting 52.2% overall, but he is at 52.6% from outside the three-point arc, a figure that ranks second in the Big West. He has made 10 three-pointers this season, twice the total he made in 2006-07. Also, after a four-game stretch in which he made just 11 out of 30 field goal attempts, 36.7%, Elliott has made 14-of-23 in the last four, 60.9%, and 7-of-9 in the last two, 77.8%. He now ranks second on the team in rebounding at 5.2 per game, and he tied his season-high with seven in the Dec. 7 game against Utah Valley. Elliott has had five or more boards seven times in 10 games.

A Piece Of The Pajevic (Pronounced Pie-uh-vich)
After a two game lull, senior forward Nedim Pajevic bounced back with a solid effort off the bench in the Gauchos' last game. Pajevic played 18 minutes, his highest total in four games, and he scored just four points. He did, however, make both of his field goal attempts, collect six rebounds, and pass off for three assists. In all, the native of Sarajevo, Bosnia, is now averaging 7.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game. In fact, Pajevic is second on the team in assists and has had two or more seven times in 10 games, including six times in the last seven games. He had a personal-best five assists on Nov. 15 against Cal Poly Pomona. Through six games, Pajevic was averaging 10.2 points per game and had scored 10 or more five times. He has slowed offensively in recent games, scoring 11 total points in the last four games, 2.7 per game. In the last four games, Pajevic attempted just seven shots in 57 minutes, one every 8.1 minutes of play. He scored a season-high 16 points on Nov. 10 against Harvard, and he has the Gauchos' only double-double of the year, a 10 point, 10 rebound effort on Nov. 20 against San Francisco.

Strike A Posley
Junior guard D.J. Posley has started to emerge as a major contributor for UCSB. While his numbers don't jump out at you, he has progressively gotten better and better through the first 10 games. Posley is averaging 2.7 points, 1.7 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 0.8 assists per game. He had two of his three highest scoring games in the last two games, going for a season-high seven on Dec. 5 against Pepperdine and five on Dec. 7 against Utah Valley. Posley began the season by missing his first 10 field goal attempts, but he has made 11-of-19 since, 57.9%, improving to 37.9% overall. He also made his last two three-point attempts, hitting one in each of the last two games. Posley has been a nice fit for the new style of defense that the Gauchos have played this year. He leads the team in steals with 15 and he has had at least one in eight straight games. He had a high of three steals twice, against Pepperdine and Northwestern State.

Roemer Charges
In 2006-07, sophomore guard Paul Roemer played 132 minutes in 16 games. This year, Roemer has been a valuable reserve and has already logged 159 minutes, an average of 15.9 per game. He has played at least eight minutes in every game and 15 or more in seven of 10 games. Roemer has scored four points in each of the last two games and is now averaging 2.7 points, 1.5 assists, and 1.2 rebounds per game. He tallied a season and career-high 10 points in the opener against Northwestern State and he had eight on Nov. 15 against Cal Poly Pomona. Of his 27 points, 26 came in four games. Roemer is fifth on the team with five three-point baskets and he has made two twice. In addition, he has nine steals, tied for fifth on the team. He has had two steals in three games and at least one in six games, including each of the last three.