December 15, 2008

UCSB Travels to Weber State, San Diego State for Final Pre-Christmas Games

Dec. 15, 2008

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• The Schedule
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

Game No. 11
Saturday, December 20, 2008 at 1:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at San Diego State Aztecs
at SDSU's Cox Arena
Radio: KIST 1490-AM in Santa Barbara
TV: The Mtn. - Mountain West Sports Network - DirectTV channel 616

• 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 Week: Utah, Here We Come...Again
After returning home for one game, UC Santa Barbara embarks on another road trip this week. The Gauchos will make their second trip of the season to Utah when they travel to Ogden to play Weber State on Wednesday night. On Dec. 4, the team played at Utah Valley and won. Following the game against the Wildcats, UCSB will remain on the road, traveling form Salt Lake City to San Diego. On Saturday, Dec. 20, in their final pre-Christmas game, the Gauchos will play San Diego State. The meeting with the Aztecs will be Santa Barbara's seventh away from home in the last eight. UCSB will return to the Thunderdome for one final pre-conference game on Dec. 29 when it hosts Ball State at 7:00 p.m. The game against the Cardinals will be a Coke Family Pack Night and for $40 a family can get four tickets, four t-shirts, four Cokes, and four hot dogs. 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.

• Gauchos Give
As part of the "Gauchos Give," the department's community outreach initiative, the UCSB basketball teams raised money to help provide for needy children from the Santa Barbara, Goleta, and Isla Vista areas. The Gaucho programs provided 51 kids with $100 apiece and then accompanied the kids as they went on shopping sprees at Kmart in Goleta on Monday evening.

• The Gaucho Record
UCSB enters its final pre-Christmas week with an overall record of 5-4. Considering that Big West play will not begin until January, 5-4 is the only record the Gauchos have. They have won two straight for the second time this season, and four out of five. Also for the first time since opening with a win over Cal State Los Angeles, Santa Barbara is over the .500 mark.

• Devine Returns, Leads Balanced Attack As Gauchos Top Loyola Marymount
Senior forward Chris Devine returned after missing one game with a sprained ankle and led the Gauchos to an 81-61 win over Loyola Marymount on Saturday night at the Thunderdome. Devine scored a team-high 15 points, making 6-of-12 shots from the field, and added five rebounds, two assists, and a steal in 24 minutes. Junior guard James Powell added 14 points, which included a trio of three-point baskets, while junior Jesse Byrd added eight points and a game-high nine rebounds. After leading by a 35-26 score at the break, the Gauchos outscored the Lions 16-4 to open the second half, taking a commanding 51-30 lead. UCSB extended its lead to as many as 22 points and settled for the 81-61 win. Santa Barbara assisted on 23 of its 30 baskets with guards D.J. Posley and Paul Roemer each contributing a season-high five assists. Seven different players had two or more assists for the Gauchos. Posley also had a season-high four steals. Freshmen forwards James Nunnally and Jaimé Serna contributed nine and eight points respectively. Serna equaled his career-high of eight, set in the previous game at Utah Valley, as he made 4-of-5 field goal attempts. The Gauchos outshot (46.9% to 40.8%) and outrebounded (38-35) the Lions, who were led by LaRon Armstead with 16 points.

• January 29 Game Against Cal State Northridge Moved To 8:00 P.M.
UCSB's Jan. 29 game at the Thunderdome 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.

• The Opponents
UCSB and Weber State have played just one time. The Gauchos and Wildcats met on Nov. 22, 2002 at the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks. Weber State won, 91-82. Saturday's meeting between Santa Barbara and San Diego State will be the 80th. The Aztecs hold a 43-36 all-time edge. The last time the teams played, Nov. 25, 2006 at the Thunderdome, SDSU edged UCSB, 76-72.

• 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 168-135. 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 357-235 (.602) at four-year schools.

• Possible Starters - Notes
G - 1 - D.J. Posley - Had season-highs with five assists and four steals vs. Loyola Marymount.
G - 20 - Will Brew, Jr. - Has started the last two games, his first two career starts.
G - 42 - James Powell - Has at least one three-point basket in each of the nine games.
F - 10 - Chris Devine - Moved into 10th in school history with 1,246 career points.
F - 44 - Jesse Byrd - Has had five or more rebounds in all nine games.

• Possible Reserves - Notes
F - 0 - Jaimé Serna - Scored a career-high eight in each of last two games, going 7-for-8 from the field.
G - 2 - Nick Quick - Has played in six out of the nine games.
G - 3 - Jordan Weiner - Passed off for a career-high two assists vs. Loyola Marymount.
G - 4 - Paul Roemer - Tied career-high with five assists in win over Loyola Marymount.
F - 15 - Sam Phippen - Made career-high three field goals and tied career-high six points vs. LMU.
G - 21 - James Nunnally - Nine points vs. Loyola Marymount was second-highest total of season.
C - 55 - Greg Somogyi - Has blocked at least one shot in seven of 10 games.

• Joyner Will Redshirt 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.

• 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 five of its last six opponents. For the season, Santa Barbara is outrebounding opponents by a margin of 3.4 rebounds per game, but in the last five games the margin is 7.0 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 State by 16 and 12 respectively.

• Turnover Progress
Through six games this season, UCSB was averaging 19.3 turnovers per game. In the last three games, the Gauchos have made some positive progress in that area, committing a total of 40 turnovers, 13.3 per game, including a season-low 11 at Illinois State. On the season, they are now averaging 17.3 turnovers per game.

• Gauchos Break 80-Point Barrier
The 81 points scored by UCSB in its 81-61 win over Loyola Marymount were the most the team has scored this season. In fact, the 81 points were nine more than the previous high of 72 scored against Winston-Salem State on Nov. 28. Through nine games, the Gauchos have eclipsed the 70-point mark three times. They have scored 60 or more six times and they have been held below 60 points three times, winning once and losing twice.

• Double-Digit Duos
The Gauchos have not had more than two players score in double-figures in any of the first nine games of the 2008-09 season. In eight of the games, they have had two players score 10 or more and once, a 57-38 win over Nicholls State, they had just one player score in double-figures. While six different UCSB players (Chris Devine, James Powell, Jesse Byrd, Paul Roemer, James Nunnally, and Will Brew, Jr.) have scored 10 or more points in a game this season, never have more than two been synchronized.

• Devine Intervention
Senior forward Chris Devine returned to the starting lineup after missing one game with a sprained left ankle. In his return against Loyola Marymount, Devine had a team-high 15 points in 24 minutes. He also had five rebounds, two assists, and a steal while making 6-of-12 shots overall, including 1-of-3 from three-point range. The Eagle River, Alaska native leads the Gauchos in scoring at 12.9 points per game. He is second in rebounds at 6.0. The 15-point output was his fifth double-figure scoring effort of the season, his first since he had 12 on Nov. 28 against Winston-Salem State. 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 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 10 rebounds to go along with his 12 points, his second double-double of the season and the 11th of his career. With his 15 points against Loyola Marymount, Devine now has 1,246 for his career, the 10th most in school history. He needs just two points to move into ninth all-time. In addition, with 575 career rebounds, he needs just 12 to move into the top-10 at UCSB.

• Old Buddy, Old Powell
Junior guard James Powell had 14 points, three rebounds, two assists, and two steals in the win over Loyola Marymount. In the four games prior to the win over the Lions, Powell struggled offensively, averaging 9.0 points per game and scoring 12 or less in all four. Despite his recent struggles, he is still one of two Gauchos averaging in double-figures at 12.3 points per game. Immediately prior to his tough four-game stretch, Powell had his best game of the season, a 22-point showing on Nov. 24 at San Francisco. In that game, he made 7-of-15 shots overall, including 6-of-12 from three-point range. In the last five games, including a 4-for-10 overall shooting performance on Saturday, he has made 17-of-49 field goal attempts, 34.7%. Over that same period the Pomona, Calif., native made 11-of-29 from beyond the three-point line, 37.9%. On the season, Powell is making 34.5% overall and 32.8% from three-point range. He is the only UCSB player to have made at least one three-point basket in all nine games this season and, in fact, he has made two or more six times. Also, he and Chris Devine lead the team in double-figure scoring games with five apiece. The downturn in his scoring is hardly an accident. Through the first four games, Powell averaged 15.2 points and 15.2 shots per game. In the last five, he has averaged 10.0 points and 9.8 shots per game. He is also averaging 3.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. In the season-opener against Cal State Los Angeles on Nov. 14, Powell had a career-high seven rebounds.

• Sam I Am
Sophomore forward Sam Phippen tied his career-high with six points in Saturday's win over Loyola Marymount. Phippen continued his recent emergence by making all three of his field goal attempts in 12 minutes. On Dec. 4, the sophomore from Durango, Colo., made the first start of his career at Utah Valley. In that game he had five points in a career-high 24 minutes. In the last four games, Phippen has averaged 4.2 points and made 8-of-10 shots from the field, 80.0%. He has now scored 25 points in nine games after scoring just seven in 19 last year.

• The Word On Byrd
Junior forward Jesse Byrd's last three games have been three of his best as a Gaucho. On Saturday, in 17 minutes against Loyola Marymount, he had eight points and nine rebounds, making 4-of-5 shots from the field. 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 three games, Byrd has averaged 13.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game while making 16-of-24 shots from the field, 66.7%. 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 62.0%, 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 7.1 per game. He is the only Gaucho to have at least five rebounds in all eight games and he has had seven or more five 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 5.0 points per game. He made 4-of-5 field goal attempts against Loyola Maryount, scoring a career-high eight points for the second game in a row. Serna also had five rebounds against the Lions. On Dec. 4 at Utah Valley, he made all three of his field goal attempts and scored eight points in 16 minutes before fouling out. In the last two, Serna has averaged 8.0 points per game while making 7-of-8 shots, 87.5%. He is now shooting 53.1% for the season, a figure which is at its high-point. The Laguna Beach, Calif., native is third on the team in rebounding at 3.8 per game, but has had four or more five times, including three of the last four. He had a personal-best seven in the opener on Nov. 14 against Cal State Los Angeles.

• 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. On Saturday, Brew started his second game and tied his career-high with 24 minutes, but he struggled offensively, missing all five of his field goal attempts and finishing with one point. He did, however, have two assists, two steals, and two rebounds. Brew has nine steals in nine games, third on the team.

• Roemer Wasn't Built In A Day
While he has come off the bench in the last two games, junior guard Paul Roemer has had two of his best overall games. On Saturday against Loyola Marymount, Roemer had seven points, five assists, and two rebounds in just 15 minutes. The five assists tied his career-high, and he made both of his three-point attempts in the game. On Dec. 4 at Utah Valley, the first time this season that he had come off the bench, Roemer had three points, but also set a career-high with five rebounds. He has had three or more assists four times. Through nine games, Roemer is now averaging 4.6 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 2.4 assists. He scored a season-high 11 on Nov. 28 against Winston-Salem State. Finally, he has made nine three-pointers on the season and since starting 1-for-3 from three-point range, he has gone 8-for-14, 57.1%.

• The Flying Nunnally
Freshman James Nunnally had nine points and a season-high three assists in the win over Loyola Marymount. It was Nunnally's second-highest point total of the season and the most since he went for a career-high 22 on Nov. 21 against North Carolina. Nunnally is fourth among the Gauchos in scoring at 6.3 points per game and he is fifth in rebounding at 3.1 per game. The 22 points he had against UNC were the most scored by a freshman since Branduinn Fullove had 22 at Boise State on Mar. 3, 2001. Finally, he is averaging 9.7 points per game at home and 3.6 per game away from home.

• Strike A Posley
Senior guard D.J. Posley is averaging 5.3 points per game and in the last five games he has averaged 7.0 per game. Posley tied his season-high with five assists in Saturday's win over Loyola Marymount and he continues to lead the team at 3.2 assists per game. It was the third time this season he has had five assists. Posley scored a career-high nine points in consecutive games against Winston-Salem State and Nicholls State. He has had eight or more in three of the last five. On Saturday, he also claimed the team-lead in steals when he had a season-high four, giving him 13 on the year.

• A Hungary Hunter
Freshman center Greg Somogyi had five points, three rebound, and an assist against Loyola Marymount. He made his only field goal attempt and has now hit 11-of-17 on the season, 64.7%. The native of Budapest, Hungary is now averaging 3.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.1 blocked shots in just 9.7 minutes per game. Somogyi's total of 10 blocked shots already ranks tied for seventh on UCSB's all-time freshman list. Finally, he has had two or more rebounds in six of nine games, including a season-high six on Nov. 28 against Winston-Salem State.

• 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."

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