The UCSB Men's Basketball team started their season off with a bang by defeating CSU-Dominguez Hills with a 70-52 victory in an exhibition game at the Thunderdome last night. Junior James Powell led the Gauchos with 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 steals. In fact, the key to the victory was the Gauchos' 17 steals, many of them in the first few minutes of the game when they built up a 17-2 lead. Senior Captain Chris Devine added 14 points and 3 steals in a game marred by first-game jitters and many turnovers. Backcourt starters Paul Roemer and DJ Posley had solid all-around games, disrupting the CSUDH offense, hitting key outside jumpers, and dishing to open teammates. Jesse Byrd was strong under the basket, and made a handful of free throws.
The bench received valuable minutes as Coach Bob Williams tried to develop team depth. Sam Phippen is more aggressive on both ends of the court this year, Jordan Weiner hit a couple 3-pointers, and Nick Quick joined the scoring parade with a one-handed runner in the lane.
Perhaps the most encouraging aspect was the play of the 3 true freshmen. Jaime Serna, the first post player off the bench, displayed an unusually composed and mature game, defending the post, rebounding, and going to the basket hard. James Nunnally displayed a knack for the open court, and hit a big 3 pointer in the second half, as well as lobbing a pass into the interior to his fellow freshmen teammate, 7'2" Greg Somogyi. Somogyi promptly finished off the assist with a huge dunk, igniting the Gaucho bench and the crowd in the Thunderdome. Somogyi showed surprising agility and athleticism for a big man, blocking and altering many shots on defense, and running the floor well. He also made a nice reverse tip-in on his own miss. Between Somogyi, Serna, Nunnally, and Will Brew, Jr. (who missed the game due to injury), the future looks very bright for the Gauchos.
The Gauchos open their regular season this Friday, November 14 against CSULA, in the Thunderdome at 7 pm.