Men's Basketball Takes On Idaho & Utah State In Big West Home-Opening Weekend
Jan. 2, 2002
Game No. 12
Thursday, January 3, 2002 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. University of Idaho Vandals
at UCSB's Thunderdome
Game No. 13
Saturday, January 5, 2002 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Utah State Aggies
at UCSB's Thunderdome
The Gauchos On The Radio
All UC Santa Barbara basketball games are broadcast live on KEYT radio, 1250 AM in Santa Barbara. Randy Lee is back for his fifth season as the play-by-play announcer and Don Ford returns for his sixth year as the primary color announcer. Much to the disgust of the listening public, UCSB Director of Athletic Media Relations Bill Mahoney will handle the color for selected road broadcasts.
UCSB On The Internet
The Official Athletic Site of UC Santa Barbara is www.UCSBgauchos.com. Game recaps, weekly releases, boxscores, statistics and the occasional feature can all be found on the web. UCSB is proud member of the FANSonly network.
The Bob Williams Show
The Bob Williams airs Tuesday nights from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on KEYT NewsRadio 1250 AM. The Voice of the Gauchos, Randy Lee, co-hosts the show with Williams. In addition to men's basketball, the show will feature other UCSB athletes and coaches. The Bob Williams show will resume in January. It will air three times in January (8th, 22nd and 29th), four times in February (5th, 12th, 19th and 26th) and three times in March (5th, 12th and 19th).
The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara enters its first home weekend of the Big West season with an overall record of 8-3 and a league mark of 2-0. The Gauchos are coming off of a split in two games at the Cable Car Classic in Santa Clara. UCSB walloped the University of Detroit Mercy in the first round of the tournament, 86-59, before losing in the championship game to the host Santa Clara University, 61-59. Prior to the split in Northern California, the Gaucho logged victories in their first two Big West games, defeating UC Riverside (68-56) and Cal State Fullerton (64-62) on the road. The loss to Santa Clara snapped the Gauchos' four-game winning streak, their longest winning streak of the season.
This Week's Games
UCSB returns to Santa Barbara for its first league home games of the year. The Gauchos host the University of Idaho (3-8, 0-2 in the Big West) on Thursday and then they host the two-time defending Big West Champion, Utah State (10-1, 2-0 in the Big West Conference). Last season, UCSB split a pair of games with Idaho, losing at the buzzer in Moscow and winning on a last-second jumper by Branduinn Fullove in Santa Barbara. Utah State swept its two games against the Gauchos, winning easily in Logan and in Santa Barbara.
Best Start Under Williams
UCSB's 8-3 record through 11 games is the program's best start since the 1992-93 season when it also opened with an 8-3 record. That year, the Gauchos finished the season with an 18-11 record and they were invited to the National Invitation Tournament. The 8-3 start is easily the best 11 game start by UCSB during the Bob Williams Era. Previously, the Gauchos have opened at 3-8 (1998), 4-7 (1999) and 4-7 (2000).
UCSB Can't Hold On For Cable Car Title, Lose To Broncos, 61-59
UC Santa Barbara shot a poor 34.5% and could not hold on to an eight-point lead in the championship game of the Cable Car Classic, losing to Santa Clara, 61-59. The Gauchos led 35-27, but could not maintain. Mark Hull scored a team-high 20 points, including six three-point baskets, and Branduinn Fullove added 12 points and eight rebounds in defeat. The loss snapped UCSB's season-long four game winning streak and it came on the heels of the second biggest victory in the Bob Williams' era. On Friday night, the Gauchos shot 55.1% from the field and bombed the University of Detroit Mercy, 61-59.
What About Bob?
Bob Williams is in his fourth season as head coach at UCSB. The Gauchos are off to their best start under Williams at 8-3. Last year he guided the Gauchos to a 13-15 overall record and a solid 9-7 mark in Big West play. In his first three-plus seasons, Williams has led the team to a 50-45 record. The 50 victories are the most by any UCSB coach over that period of time. In addition, the 42 wins in the first three campaigns were 12 more than the team had in the three seasons prior to his arrival. Each year under Williams, the Gauchos have progressively gotten better and better, playing their best basketball late in the season. In fact, in three years-plus campaigns under his guidance, UCSB has logged a 33-17 record in Big West games, a winning percentage of .660, and among the top three in league over that span. In his first season, Williams guided UCSB to the Big West's Western Division championship, a 15-13 overall record and a 12-4 mark in league. He was named Big West Coach of the Year in 1999. Two years ago, they went 14-14 overall, and 10-6 in league. In his career at four-year schools, which includes stops at UC Davis and Menlo College, he now has a 239-143 (.627) record.
Casey Cook Out Indefinitely
Sophomore forward Casey Cook remains sidelined indefinitely with ligament damage in his right thumb. Cook originally suffered the ligament damage during the preseason. He sat out the team's two exhibition games, but played in the first six games of the season. Prior to UCSB's December 8 win over Pepperdine, Cook re-injured the thumb and did not play in the victory. Doctor's have determined that the thumb has not sufficiently improved and that Cook should not take part in practice or games for an indefinite period of time. If, as expected, he misses the two games this weekend, Cook will have missed seven successive games.
The Gauchos At Home
UC Santa Barbara enters this weekend's Big West games with a perfect home record of 4-0. The Gauchos have not played at home since December 8 when they bombed Pepperdine, 68-51. UCSB has won its four home games this season by a combined 47 points, an average of 11.7 points per game. In addition to the victory over Pepperdine, UCSB has beaten BYU, St. Mary's and Westmont College. Westmont was the only home foe to keep the margin under double-digits at 51-42.
UCSB and Idaho have played 12 times over the years with the Gauchos holding an 8-4 advantage. Last season the teams split a pair of games, both coming down to the final seconds. In the first game, at Moscow, the Vandals posted a 68-67 victory. In the second game, at Santa Barbara, the Gauchos won 69-67. UCSB and Utah State have played 47 times with the Aggies holding a comfortable 27-20 edge. Last season, Utah State won both games comfortably, winning in Santa Barbara, 71-48, and in Logan, 83-50. The Aggies have a three-game winning streak in the series. The last time UCSB defeated Utah State was in the first round of the Big West Tournament in 1999, 75-74.
As a team, here is where UCSB ranks statistically among Big West Conference teams:
Category Rank Stat Scoring Defense 1st 58.1 ppg Scoring Offense 9th 66.1 ppg Scoring Margin 2nd +8.0 FG% Defense 1st 35.4% FG% 5th 44.9% Free Throw% 1st 75.1% 3-PT FG% 3rd 38.8% 3-PT FG% Defense 1st 29.6% 3-PT FG Made 6th 6.00 pg Rebounding Margin 3rd +4.0 Blocked Shots 2nd 3.45bpg Assists 2nd 15.27apg Steals 8th 5.45spg Turnover Margin 8th -2.09 tpg
Statistically Speaking II
Here are where UCSB players rank in various statistical categories in the Big West Conference:
Player Category Rank Mark Hull Scoring 3rd Branduinn Fullove Scoring 10th Mark Hull FG% 10th B.J. Ward FT% 2nd Branduinn Fullove FT% 5th Mark Hull FT% 4th Mark Hull 3-PT FG% 3rd Branduinn Fullove 3-PT FG% 8th Mark Hull 3-PT FG PG 1st Branduinn Fullove 3-PT FG PG 9th Adama Ndiaye Rebounding 3rd B.J. Ward Assists 9th Jacoby Atako Assists 5th B.J. Ward TO/Ast. Ratio 2nd Jacoby Atako TO/Ast. Ratio 6th Adama Ndiaye Blocks 2nd
A December To Remember
The headline is a bit misleading, it has actually been a November and December to remember, both would not have fit. Anyway, the Gauchos won eight games before entering January. In Bob Williams' first three seasons they won a total of eight games in November and December.
Possible Starters - Notes
G - Jacoby Atako - Has had at least three assists in nine of 11 games. Had season-high with eight at UC Riverside.
G - Branduinn Fullove - Had a season-high eight rebounds against Santa Clara. Has made 8-of-15 threes in last four games.
G - Mark Hull - With six three-pointers in the loss to Santa Clara, he now has exactly 100 for his career, fifth all-time.
F - Adama Ndiaye - Tied his season-low with five points against Santa Clara. Has had nine or more rebounds six times.
F - Bryan Whitehead - Has pulled down at least four rebounds in each of the last four games.
Probable Reserves - Notes
F - Mike Vukovich - Has made 15-of-24 shots over the last seven games, 62.5%.
G - Nick Jones - Has averaged 10.0 points and shot 54.5% over the last five games.
G - B.J. Ward - In his last eight games, he has 34 assists and just ten turnovers, a 3.4-to-1.0 ratio.
F - Casey Cook - Thumb injury on shooting hand will sideline him indefinitely.
F - Bray Skultety - Has pulled down 21 rebounds in 53 minutes over the last five games.
G - Chrismen Oliver - Played a season-high seven minutes, with four points and two assists vs. Detroit.
G - Chris Newell - Played one minute at USF, his first career action.
F - J.J. Todd - Back in uniform, but still questionable with a bad back.
UCSB Nationally Ranked In FG% Defense
Through 11 games this season, UCSB is limiting its opposition to a meager 35.4% shooting from the field, a figure that ranked fourth in the nation as of Monday. In its last game, the Gauchos had one of its best defensive halves of the year, limiting Santa Clara to 29.6% shooting in the first half, and one of its worst as the Broncos bounced back to make 12-of-24 in the second half, 50.0%. The break-even second half by Santa Clara was only the second allowed by UCSB this season. In their opening game at the Cable Car Classic, the Gauchos allowed Detroit to shoot 32.8%. In the previous game, Cal State Fullerton shot 41.8%, the highest mark by an opponent this season. The previous high mark was the 41.5% that USC shot in a game on November 26. In a December 8 win over Pepperdine, the Gauchos held the Waves to 27.9% shooting from the field. UCSB has held three opponents below the 30.0% mark. In addition to Pepperdine, UCSB limited Westmont to 24.5% and the University of San Francisco to 26.4%. Only three opponents have made 40.0% or better from the field with St. Mary's joining Cal State Fullerton and USC. UCSB has allowed opponents to shoot better than 50.0% in just two halves of basketball this season. In addition to Santa Clara's 50.0% second half, BYU made 14-of-26 shots from the field in the first half of a 68-58 Gaucho win on November 28. The Cougars followed that up with a dismal 23.1% mark in the second half to finish at 38.5% for the game. In 22 halves this season, UCSB has limited the opposition to below 30.0% eight times, below 40.0% 14 times, below 45.0% 17 times and below 50.0% 20 times. When Cal State Fullerton had a better shooting percentage in the second half than it did in the first half, it snapped a streak of five consecutive games in which the Gauchos had held their opposition to a lower percentage in the second half than in the first, and now each of the last three opponents have turned that trick.
Pointless Opposition: Gauchos Ranked 13th In Scoring Defense
It doesn't take a Nobel Laureate to figure out that there is a correlation between field goal percentage defense and scoring defense. Granted, if we needed a Nobel Laureate we could choose one of the six or seven at UCSB, but we don't. Either way, in addition to being ranked fourth nationally in field goal percentage defense, UCSB ranks 13th in the nation in scoring defense at 58.1 points per game. The Gauchos have limited seven of 11 opponents to fewer than 60 points and two opponents, Westmont and USF, to fewer than 50. Only two Gaucho opponents have scored more than 70 points. Loyola Marymount's 77 is the most scored by a UCSB opponent this season.
As The Ball Turns...Over
In each of the first three games this season, UCSB produced more turnovers than assists. They had 20 turnovers and just ten assists against Westmont, 17 turnovers and 12 assists at USF, and then 18 turnovers and 13 assists at USC. In seven of the last eight games, however, they have turned the tables. Against BYU, they produced 15 assists and just 11 turnovers, they followed that performance up with an 18 assist, 17 turnover performance against St. Mary's. In a loss at Loyola Marymount they had their best game of the season, passing off for 17 assists and committing only 11 turnovers, a plus-6. In the win over Pepperdine, the Gauchos had season-highs of 21 turnovers and 18 assists, but at UC Riverside, they equaled their best margin of the season, a plus-6, and they did so by recording a season-low nine turnovers to go with 15 assists. Last weekend, the Gauchos had 14 turnovers and 17 assists against Detroit and then 16 assists and just ten turnovers against Santa Clara. UCSB enters this weekend's games with more assists (168) than turnovers (165) for the first time this season. Since the first three games of the year, the Gauchos have 23 more assists than turnovers.
Another reason for UCSB's 8-3 start this season has been their performance at the free throw line. As a team, the Gauchos are making 75.9% of their free throws, among the best marks in the Big West. Four UCSB players are making better than 80.0% of their charity attempts. B.J. Ward leads the team at 88.2%, Branduinn Fullove, who made 26 in a row at one point, has made 84.6%, and Mark Hull has drilled 85.4%. Casey Cook, who is out indefinitely with an injured thumb, has made 5-of-6, 83.3%. Finally, Jacoby Atako is making a solid 75.0% from the charity stripe.
Playing The Percentages
As long as UCSB is limiting its opposition to 35.4% shooting from the field overall, it should generally be in games. At the other end of the court, the Gauchos are shooting 44.9% as a team. In its last game, at Santa Clara, UCSB shot 34.5%, snapping a streak of four consecutive 50.0% or better games. In fact, in the four games prior to the loss at Santa Clara, the Gauchos made 97-of-184 shots from the field, 52.7%. On the season, UCSB has made 50.0% or better from the field five times, all in the last seven games. In addition, during their four-game streak of 50.0% or better, the Gauchos made 28-of-60 shots from three-point range, 46.7%. In the team's last game, they made just 9-of-28 from beyond the three-point arc. The 28 three-point attempts was easily a season-high, and the nine makes tied a season high. UCSB's previous high for attempts was the 20 they recorded in a loss at USC.
On The Rebound
Since it was outrebounded in the season-opener, UCSB has not been outrebounded. The Gauchos have outrebounded nine of their last ten opponents, tying the other. In the last ten games, they have outrebounded their opponents by a margin of 50, an average of 5.0 per game. UCSB has outrebounded USF, USC, St. Mary's, Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine, UC Riverside, Cal State Fullerton, Detroit Mercy and Santa Clara, and they fought to a rebounding draw with BYU. On the season, UCSB is outrebounding the opposition by 4.2 rebounds per game, 36.6 to 32.4. Senior forward Adama Ndiaye leads the team at 8.4 boards per outing. Mark Hull and Branduinn Fullove are in a flat-footed tie for second on the team in rebounding with 56 apiece, an average of 5.1 per game. Eight Gauchos are currently averaging 2.2 or more rebounds per game.
Double-Digit Wins Are Commonplace
If you are going to win, you might as well win with some breathing room. The Gauchos have won eight games this season, six of which were won by ten or more points. UCSB's only two single-digit victories came at home against Westmont (51-42) and on the road at Cal State Fullerton (64-62). The two-point win at Fullerton snapped a streak of five double-digit wins in a row. The three largest margins of victory came at the expense of Detroit (86-59), USF (69-49) and Pepperdine (68-51).
The Hull Truth, Nothing But
Junior Mark Hull enters this weekend's games as UCSB's leading scorer at 17.6 points per game. He has led the Gauchos in scoring six times this season, including a 20-point effort in the loss at Santa Clara. Hull did, however, shoot poorly in last weekend's Cable Car Classic games, hitting just 10-of-28 in the two games, a mark of 35.7%. In UCSB's last Big West game, a December 22 win at Cal State Fullerton, Hull had a career-night. In the first half of that game, he had one three-point basket and nothing more. The second half was another story as Hull piled up 29 points and six more three-point baskets to finish with a career-high 32 points. The 29 points tied a school record for points in a half. The 32-point effort was the second 30 point game of Hull's career. Last year, in a win over Cal Poly, he had 31. This season, he is the only Gaucho to score in double-figures in all 11 games, the longest streak of his career. Hull has the three highest scoring efforts by Santa Barbara players this season. In addition to his 32 against Cal State Fullerton, he had 27 at Loyola Marymount and 23 against BYU. His 20 points in the last game give Hull 873 in his career. The Glendale native has had some big second halves in recent games. Early in the season, Hull was scoring the bulk of his points in first halves. In the first three games, he had scored 42 points, 29 of which were scored in first halves. Since then, Hull has scored more second half points in all but one game, the December 20 win at UC Riverside. At UCR, he had ten first half points and four second half points. The shift to a second half scoring emphasis occurred on December 28 in a win over BYU when Hull scored 18 of his 23 in the second half. Against St. Mary's, he scored a game-high 15, including 11 in the second half. Hull scored 17 of his season-high 27 at LMU in the second half. In a December 8 win over Pepperdine, he had 11 points, eight of which came in the second half. In the last seven games, including the UCR exception, he has scored 152 points, 97 of which were scored in second halves. Hull has become one of the top three-point marksmen in the Big West. Since going 1-for-6 from three-point territory in the first game of the year, Hull has made 30-of-67, 45.0%. He is the only Gaucho to make at least one three-point bucket in all 11 games and his 100 career three-pointers rank him fifth on UCSB's all-time list. He has had two or more three-pointers seven times this season and he has had five or more three times. As for the rebounding end of things, he led the team at UCR with eight He has come up with at least five in six games and he is averaging 5.1 per game overall. In the loss at USC, he also had a season-high eight boards. Last season, Hull never had more than seven in any game. His career-high of nine was set during his freshman season. He also leads the team in minutes played with 365. Hull has paced the team in minutes played in his freshman and sophomore years, the only Gaucho in history to do so.
Fullove's Full Plate
Sophomore guard Branduinn Fullove scored a career-low two points in win over Cal State Fullerton. Last weekend, he bounced back by averaging 16.5 points in games against Detroit Mercy and Santa Clara. Against Detroit Mercy, Fullove had one of his best games of the season, scoring 21 points and making 8-of-9 shots. In addition, Fullove had 14 rebounds in the two games at the Cable Car Classic, including a season-high eight against Santa Clara. As for his two-point game against Cal State Fullerton, while he took only two shots and finished with a career-low two points, Fullove did lead the team with five assists. In the Gauchos' Big West opener this season, he led UCSB to its win at UC Riverside, scoring a team-high 18 points while making 5-of-9 field goal attempts overall and 3-of-6 from three-point range. Fullove seems to have bounced back from a three-game shooting slump that saw him make just 7-of-33 shots from the field, 21.2%. Including performances in last weekend's games, he has gone 20-for-36 in the last five games, 55.6%. Fullove has also gone 10-of-20 (50.0%) from three-point territory over that span. In his first three games this year, Fullove made 16-of-31 shots overall, 51.6%, and 8-of-17 from three-point range, 47.1%. On the season, he is now back up 43.0%. He is also making 40.0% of his three-pointers. He has scored in double-figures nine times in 11 games and is now averaging 13.6 points per game. Through the first three games of the year, Fullove was scoring at an 18.3 points per game clip, in his last eight games he has averaged 11.7 per game. He has played at least 30 minutes in nine of 11 games. He is tied for second on the team in rebounding at 5.1 per game, and he has had at least five in six games. Fullove is shooting 84.6% from the free throw line and, at one point, had made 26 in a row. Finally, he is the only player on the team to record a point, rebound and assist in each of the 11 games this season.
Ndiaye Hopes To Rebound
Adama Ndiaye had a pretty good offensive streak come to an end in the loss to Santa Clara. The 6-foot-9 native of Dakar, Senegal, made just 1-of-5 shots from the field and equaled his season-low with just five points. On the year, Ndiaye is now averaging 9.5 points per game. In six outings prior to the Santa Clara game, he made 29-of-51 shots from the field, 56.9%. On the year, he is now shooting 47.7% from the field. While he was limited to five points at Santa Clara, Ndiaye did pull down nine rebounds and although he played just 21 minutes against Detroit Mercy, he had 11 points, nine rebounds and a pair of blocked shots. He ranks second in the Big West Conference at 8.4 rebounds per game and he has been in double-figures in rebounding four times. Ndiaye, who missed all of last season with a fractured left ring finger, has had UCSB's top four rebounding performances this season. He had 14 rebounds in the opener against Westmont, 13 at USC, 13 against Pepperdine and 11 against BYU. Ndiaye is also UCSB's leader in blocked shots with 20, an average of 1.8 per game. He has had at least one block in ten of 11 games and he has had two or more seven times. In his career, Ndiaye has now swatted 93 shots, third on UCSB's all-time list.
Truly The Nick Of Time
Last year guard Nick Jones was instrumental in leading UCSB to several comeback wins, but none compared to the win at Cal State Fullerton on December 22. With 1.2 seconds remaining, the Gauchos had the ball baseline backcourt. Branduinn Fullove threw a three-quarter court pass to Mark Hull who tipped it to Jones who calmly nailed a three-pointer as the buzzer sounded to give UCSB a 64-62 win. The three-pointer gave Jones a season-high 12 points in the game. He followed-up that performance with 11 points in a win over Detroit and nine in a loss to Santa Clara. On the year, he is now averaging 7.9 points per game. In the last five games, Jones has averaged exactly 10.0 points per game while making 18-of-33 shots, 54.5%. While he missed both of his three-point attempts in the last game, he is making 40.9% for the season, including 54.5% in the last five games. His three highest scoring games have come in the last five games. In addition to his 12-point game against Fullerton and his 11 point game against Detroit, Jones had 11 in a December 8 win over Pepperdine. On the season, he is now shooting 48.5%, but since going 1-for-7 in the opener, he has made 31-of-59, 52.5%. Jones is averaging 3.6 rebounds per game and he has had at least two in each of the last eight, including a season-high seven in a win over St. Mary's. He is also second on the team with 11 steals in 11 games, but he has gone the last three games without a steal.
An Assist From Atako
Although his shooting has suffered in the last four games (4-for-20 from the floor, 20.0%), sophomore point guard Jacoby Atako is emerging as a floor general. Atako leads the Gauchos in assists with 42 in 11 games, 3.8 per game. In a win at UC Riverside on December 20, he had a season-high eight assists. In the last six games, Atako has had a 2.1-to-1.0 assist to turnover ratio with 23 assists and 11 turnovers. He is also proving to be more of a workhorse this season than last. Atako has played at least 22 minutes in all 11 games and he is averaging 27.0 per game, an increase of nearly four minutes over his 23.3 average last season. Atako is averaging 4.4 points per game and has scored a season-high 11 in wins over USF and St. Mary's. He also has at least one three-point basket in each of the last two games.
Ward Of The Court
Junior B.J. Ward is teaming with Jacoby Atako to form a solid duo for the Gauchos at the point. Ward is second on the team in assists at 3.5 per game. He has had at least two in each of the last eight games and he has done so while doing a great job of taking care of the ball. The Oxnard native scored a season-high 11 points in last week's win over Detroit Mercy. Ward is second in the Big West in assist to turnover ratio at 2.29-to-1.0. In the last eight games, he has averaged 4.3 assists per game and he has produced an even better ratio with 34 assists and just 11 turnovers, a ratio of 3.10-to-1.0 at 3.31. Just as importantly, Ward has become one of the Gauchos' best defensive players, joining Atako in the backcourt for long stretches of time, something that rarely occurred last season. At 88.2%, he also leads the team in free throw percentage. Ward entered the season with a career free throw percentage of 57.5%, but he ended last season by making 13-of-14 (92.9%) in his final six games. In his last 17 games dating back to last season, Ward has made 43-of-48 from the free throw line, 89.6%.
Two Heads Are Better Than One
Sophomore forward Bryan Whitehead and junior forward Bray Skultety are becoming a solid rebounding duo for the Gauchos. WhiteHEAD and SKULtety are giving UCSB a two-headed (sorry) rebounding monster. A transfer from Washington State, Whitehead is averaging 2.8 per game overall and Skultety, a walk-on who did not play high school basketball, is averaging 3.8 per game. In the last five games, however, the duo has been even more productive. In the last five, Whitehead has averaged 4.0 per game while Skultety has averaged 4.2. Both players are piling up their rebounds in limited playing time, particularly Skultety, who, in the last five, has had 21 rebounds in just 53 minutes. On the year, he is averaging 16.3 rebounds per 40.0 minutes of action, the best mark on the team.
On The Horizon
Following the home game against Utah State, the Gauchos will hit the road for three straight games. UCSB travels to Cal State Northridge for a 5:00 p.m. game on Thursday, January 10. That game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Net 2. On Saturday, January 12, UCSB travels to Pacific for a 7:00 p.m. game, and then on Saturday, January 19, the Gauchos play a 7:00 p.m. game at Cal Poly. UCSB will play seven of its final 11 Big West games at the Thunderdome.