December 24, 2008

UCSB Returns Home Monday to Host Ball State in Final Non-Conference Game

Dec. 24, 2008

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• The Schedule
Game No. 12
Monday, December 29, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Ball State Cardinals
at UCSB's Thunderdome
Radio: KIST 1490-AM in Santa Barbara
Note: Coke Family Pack Night - 40$ for 4 tickets, 4 hot dogs, 4 sodas, and 4 t-shirts.

Game No. 13
Friday, January 2, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Long Beach State 49ers
at LBSU's Walter Pyramid
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.

• Gauchos Return Home For One Game Before Opening League On Road
UC Santa Barbara will play its final pre-conference game on Monday, Dec. 29 when it returns home to host Ball State in a 7:00 p.m. game at the Thunderdome. The game against the Cardinals will mark just the second time that the Gauchos have played at home in a span of nine games. The road run will continue after the Ball State game as UCSB plays its first two and seven of its first 10 Big West Conference games on the road. League play will begin on Friday, Jan. 2 when the Gauchos travel to Long Beach State. The game against Ball State will be a Coke Family Pack Night and for $40.00 fans can get four tickets, four hot dogs, four sodas, and four t-shirts. 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.

• The Gaucho Record
UCSB enters its final pre-conference game with an overall record of 5-6. Considering that Big West play will not begin until January, 5-6 is the only record the Gauchos have. They will also enter the game against Ball State with a two-game losing streak, one short of their longest losing streak of the season.

• Second Half Run Leads San Diego State Past UCSB, 68-51
In its game against San Diego State on Saturday, Dec. 20, UC Santa Barbara led by as many as four points in the first half and trailed by just five early in the second half. A strong rally in the final 18 minutes by the Aztecs, however, gave them a comfortable 68-51 win over the Gauchos. Lorenzo Wade scored a team-high 17 points, while Ryan Amoroso added 13 and Kyle Spain 11 to lead SDSU. Senior forward Chris Devine scored a game-high 18 points to lead the Gauchos. Freshman James Nunnally added nine points. The Aztecs finished the game at 53.8% from the field, but they were particularly good in the first half as they made 14-of-22 shots, 63.6%. UCSB, on the other hand, made just 43.8% of its shots, including 41.4% in the first half. The Gauchos also struggled from three-point range, finishing 3-for-13, 23.1%. In addition to its shooting problems, UCSB had trouble taking care of the ball with a season-high 23 turnovers. SDSU also had trouble with the ball, committing 21 turnovers. The Aztecs outrebounded the Gauchos 31-25. Jesse Byrd paced Santa Barbara with six boards.

• Byrd Injures Knee, Will Miss 4-6 Weeks
UCSB junior forward Jesse Byrd, a starter in all 11 games and the Gauchos' leading rebounder at 7.6 per contest, will miss four-to-six weeks after suffering a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee during Saturday's game at San Diego State. The 6-foot-8 Byrd has been a mainstay in UCSB's lineup since the first game of the season. Not only does he lead the team in rebounding, but he also paces all regulars in field goal percentage at 58.1%. In Saturday's loss to the Aztecs, the Oakland, Calif., native scored four points and had six rebounds in 22 minutes. In the previous game at Weber State, Byrd had 10 points and a career-high 14 rebounds, it was his second double-double of the 2008-09 season. Byrd's injury occurred in the waning minutes of Saturday's game at San Diego State. He came down with one of his six rebounds and landed with all of his weight on the left leg. He remained in the game for a couple more minutes, but on the bus ride back to Santa Barbara the knee swelled up. An MRI on Monday revealed the tear and Byrd is scheduled to have surgery next week. Freshmen Jaimé Serna and Greg Somogyi, as well as sophomore Sam Phippen are expected to see increased playing time.

• 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 168-137. 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 357-237 (.601) at four-year schools.

• Possible Starters - Notes
G - 1 - D.J. Posley - Has scored eight or more points in five of last seven games.
G - 20 - Will Brew, Jr. - His field goal at San Diego State was his first in last three games.
G - 42 - James Powell - Scored two points at San Diego State, his lowest total in two seasons.
F - 0 - Jaimé Serna - Made 10-of-12 shots in the last four games, 83.3%.
F - 10 - Chris Devine - Moved into 9th in school history with 1,281 career points.

• Possible Reserves - Notes
G - 2 - Nick Quick - Has played in seven out of the 11 games.
G - 3 - Jordan Weiner - Seven of his nine baskets have come from three-point range.
G - 4 - Paul Roemer - Leads the team in three-point field goal percentage at 45.5%.
F - 15 - Sam Phippen - After scoring seven points last year, he has 27 in 11 games this year.
G - 21 - James Nunnally - Scored nine points at San Diego State, his highest road total this season.
F - 44 - Jesse Byrd - Will miss four to six weeks with left knee injury.
C - 55 - Greg Somogyi - Had five blocked shots at San Diego State, one short of school record.

• The Opponents
UCSB and Ball State have met just one time, on Dec. 19, 2007 at Muncie, Ind. The Gauchos defeated the Cardinals by a score of 79-52. It was the team's largest margin of victory during the 2007-08 season. Whereas UCSB and Ball State have played just once, the Gauchos and Long Beach State have laced `em up 103 times. The 49ers hold a slight 52-51 all-time edge. Last year, Santa Barbara won at home, 79-64, and in overtime at Long Beach, 70-68.

• Three-Point Respite
During this holiday season, UCSB's three-point shooting has opted to take a little time off. Actually, it has not been a choice, but recently the Gauchos have really struggled from outside the three-point arc. While they are averaging 5.4 threes per game and shooting 32.8% for the season, they have not been as efficient lately. In the last three games, since making a season-best 53.5% in a Dec. 4 win at Utah Valley, UCSB has made just 14-of-50, 28.0%, and an average of just 4.7 per game. In fact, the Gauchos have made just three three-point attempts in each of the last two games, going 6-for-28, 21.4%.

• The Return Of The Turnover
An old nemesis of the Gauchos, the turnover, reappeared in full-force in the last game. In its 68-51 loss at San Diego State, UCSB committed a season-high 23 turnovers. It was the first time in six games, that the Gauchos had produced 20 or more turnovers. After having 20 or more in four of the first five games, they had gone five straight with fewer than 20. On the season, UCSB is now turning the ball over at a clip of 17.8 per game. The team had a season-low of 11 on Nov. 30 at Illinois State.

• Frontcourt Sharpshooters
UCSB is shooting 45.1% as a team, but the frontcourt regulars - Chris Devine, the injured Jesse Byrd, Jaimé Serna, Greg Somogyi, and Sam Phippen - have been particularly good. The group of five has made 132 out of 233 field goal attempts, 56.7%.

• The Rebound Story
Although they were outrebounded at San Diego State by a margin of 31-25, UCSB continues to outrebound its opposition by a margin of 2.2 per game. After outrebounding their first opponent this season, Cal State Los Angeles, the Gauchos were crushed on the boards by Utah State (-11) and North Carolina (-12), but since then, things have improved. Before losing the battle of the boards to the Aztecs, UCSB had outrebounded six of seven opponents, including three by 10 or more.

• Devine Intervention
Since missing a game and a half with a sprained ankle, senior forward Chris Devine has been outstanding offensively. Devine injured his ankle at the end of the first half of a Nov. 30 game at Illinois State, missing the remainder of that game and the subsequent game at Utah Valley. His scoring has been on the ascent in three games since. On Dec. 13 he had 15 against Loyola Marymount, on Dec. 17 he chipped-in 17 at Weber State, and on Dec. 20 at San Diego State he had 18. Overall he is now averaging a team-high 13.8 points per game, but in the last three he is at 16.7 per game. Also, Devine has made 20-of-38 from the field over that span, 52.6%. The 18 points he had in the last game was his second-highest total of the year. He went for a season-high 24 on Nov. 24 at San Francisco. With his recent offensive surge, the native of Eagle River, Alaska now has 1,281 career points, the ninth most in school history. He needs 71 to move past Scott Fisher and into eighth all-time. Also, despite a recent dip in his rebound numbers, Devine has 578 career boards and needs just nine to move into that all-time top-10. A Collgeinsider.com preseason All-American, Devine is averaging 5.1 rebounds per game, but has just three in the last two games and 10 in his last four outings, 2.5 per game. He does have a pair of double-doubles on the season - against Cal State Los Angeles (17 points and 11 rebounds) and Winston-Salem State (12 points and 10 rebounds) - giving him 11 for his career.

• Old Buddy, Old Powell
Junior guard James Powell continues to struggle on the offensive end. In fact, Powell had one of the worst games of his career at San Diego State. Before fouling out in just 15 minutes, he had two points and one rebound. Powell made just 1-of-5 shots overall and missed all three of his attempts from outside the three-point arc. It marked the first time this season that he failed to hit a three-point basket. Powell is now averaging 10.9 points per game, a season-low. Since scoring a season-high 22 at San Francisco on Nov. 24, the Pomona, Calif., native has been in double-figures just twice. Over that period, he has scored just 59 points in seven games, 8.4 per game. He is shooting 33.1% overall and 29.7% from three-point territory, but in the last seven, he has made only 20 out of 63 shots overall, 31.7%, and 12-of-39 from outside the three-point arc, 30.8%. Powell is averaging 3.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. He had a career-high seven rebounds on Nov. 14 against Cal State Los Angeles and he has had three or more rebounds six times in 10 games, including the last three.

• A Hungary Hunter
Freshman center Greg Somogyi should be one of the benefactors of playing time left behind by the injury to Jesse Byrd. Somogyi, who is averaging exactly10.0 minutes per game, is expected to see twice that in coming games. He is averaging 3.3 points, 2.6 rebounds, and a team-leading 1.4 blocked shots per game. In the loss at San Diego State, Somogyi had two points, three rebounds, his first career steal, and a career-high five blocked shots. In fact, the five blocked shots were a freshman record for the Gauchos and the 15 that he has through 11 games ranks fourth on UCSB's all-time freshman list, one behind Eric McArthur. Overall the native of Budapest is shooting 66.7% and in the last four he has gone 6-for-7, 85.7%. Somogyi had career-highs of six points and six rebounds on Nov. 28 against Winston-Salem State.

• Sam I Am
Sophomore forward Sam Phippen was scoreless in just one minute at San Diego State. In the Dec. 17 game at Weber State, he had two points in 11. On Dec. 13, he tied his career-high with six points in a win over Loyola Marymount. In four games prior to making just 1-of-4 shots at Weber State, Phippen made 8-for-10 shots from the floor, 80.0%. Through 11 games, he has now scored 27 total points, 20 more than he scored all of last season, and he has made 12-of-20 field goal attempts, 60.0%. Finally, after missing all three of his three-point attempts in 2007-08, he has gone 2-for-3 this season, 66.7%.

• Byrd On Hold
Junior forward Jesse Byrd injured his knee in the Dec. 20 game at San Diego State and is expected to be sidelined until at least the second week of February. Byrd is UCSB's leading rebounder at 7.6 per game and he ranks third in scoring at 8.3 per outing. Against San Diego State he had four points and six rebounds. It marked the 11th straight game in which he had at least five rebounds. On Dec. 17 at Weber State he had a double-double, going for 10 points and 14 rebounds. The 14 rebounds were the most by a Gaucho in five seasons. It was Byrd's second double-double of the season, he also had 13 points and 12 rebounds on Dec. 4 at Utah Valley. In the five games prior to his injury, the transfer from San Francisco averaged 10.4 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. Despite making just 5-of-12 in his last two games, Byrd also took over the lead among regulars in field goal percentage at 58.1%. He has scored in double-figures four times this season, including three times in the last five games. The fourth instance was a 12-point showing against top-ranked North Carolina. By averaging 10.2 points and 6.8 rebounds per game at the World Vision Invitational, Byrd joined Chris Devine on the All-Tournament Team.

• Yes, Serna
Another beneficiary of the minutes left behind due to the injury suffered by Jesse Byrd should be freshman forward Jaimé Serna. Serna is averaging 4.8 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. Although he has played a season-low 13 minutes in each of the last two games, he is expected to see a sharp increase in his average of 16.5 minutes per game. In the loss at San Diego State, Serna had four points and one rebound in his 13 minutes. In fact, he has had four points and one rebound in each of the last two games. On Dec. 13 against Loyola Maryount, he made 4-of-5 field goal attempts and scored a career-high eight points for the second game in a row. On Dec. 4 at Utah Valley, Serna made all three of his field goal attempts and scored eight points in 16 minutes before fouling out. In the last four games, Serna has averaged 6.0 points per game while making 10-of-12 shots, 83.3%. He is now shooting 55.6% for the season, a figure which is at its high-point. The Laguna Beach, Calif., native has had four or more rebounds five times. He had a personal-best seven boards in the opener on Nov. 14 against Cal State Los Angeles.

• Strike A Posley
Senior guard D.J. Posley is averaging 6.0 points per game and in the last seven games he has averaged 7.6 per game. In Saturday's game at San Diego State, he had eight points, giving him eight or more in the last two and five times in the last seven. On Dec. 17 at Weber State, Posley had a career-high 10 points. It was the third time in a six-game span that he had either set or tied a career scoring high. He continues to lead the team in assists at 3.0 per game. On Dec. 13 against Loyola Marymount, Posley tied his season-high with five. It was the third time this season he has had five assists, also doing so on Nov. 14 against Cal State Los Angeles and Nov. 21 against top-ranked North Carolina. He is also leading the team in steals with 17 and has had eight in the last three games and at least one in 10 of 11 this season.

• Where There's A Will, There's A Way
Since a standout offensive performance in his first start as a Gaucho, freshman Will Brew, Jr., has grappled offensively. On Dec. 4 at Utah Valley, his first start, he made 4-of-6 shots overall, including 2-of-3 from three-point range, and had 11 points. In three games since, against Loyola Marymount and at Weber State and San Diego State, Brew has totaled four points and made just 1-of-12 field goal attempts. In the Dec. 20 game at SDSU, Brew had two points, one steal, and three assists. The assist total was his highest since he also had three on Nov. 21 against North Carolina. He is now averaging 3.2 points per game and shooting 32.4% from the field. Since becoming a starter, Brew has seen his minutes go up significantly. He is averaging 19.4 per game, but has played 102 in the last four, 25.5 per game.

• Roemer Wasn't Built In A Day
Junior Paul Roemer has come off the bench in each of the last four games after starting the first seven. He is now averaging 4.3 points per game and he leads the Gauchos in three-point field goal percentage at 48.1% (10-of-22). Roemer has made two three-pointers in four games this season. He also ranks second on the team at 2.5 assists per game, but in the last five contests he has 17, 3.4 per game, and he has had four or more three times. Roemer had a season-high five assists on Nov. 29 against Nicholls and Dec. 13 against Loyola Marymount. He had a career-high five rebounds on Dec. 4 at Utah Valley, and a season-high 11 points on Nov. 28 against Winston-Salem State.

• The Flying Nunnally
Freshman James Nunnally had nine points and three rebounds in 24 minutes on Dec. 20 at San Diego State. It was his highest scoring effort in a road game this season and it equaled his second-highest output overall. His season-high of 22 came in a season-high 26 minutes on Nov. 21 against top-ranked North Carolina. It was the most points scored by a Gaucho freshman since Branduinn Fullove had 22 at Boise State on Mar. 3, 2001. Nunnally is now tied with D.J. Posley for fourth on the team in scoring at 6.0 per game. He is also adding 2.9 rebounds per contest and the seven three-pointers he has made, including one at SDSU, rank tied for fourth on the team.

• 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."