January 4, 2005

Injury-Riddled Gauchos - Without Cook for Six Weeks - Make Last Big West Trip to Utah State, Idaho

Jan. 4, 2005

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The Schedule
Game No. 11
Thursday, January 6, 2005 at 6:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Utah State Aggies
at Utah State's Dee Glen Smith Spectrum
Radio: KTLK 1340 AM

Game No. 12
Saturday, January 8, 2005 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at the University of Idaho Vandals
at Idaho's Cowan Spectrum
Radio: KTLK 1340 AM

Game No. 13
Thursday, January 13, 2005 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos Cal Poly Mustangs
at UCSB's Thunderdome
Radio: KTLK 1340 AM

The Week To Come
UC Santa Barbara is facing one of its most difficult weeks of the Big West Conference season. The Gauchos will take their final road trip ever to Utah State and the University of Idaho. Following the 2004-05 season, both Utah State and Idaho will depart the Big West for the Western Athletic Conference. UCSB plays at Utah State on Thursday and then at Idaho on Saturday. The games against the Aggies and Vandals will complete a difficult five-game in 12-day stretch for the Gauchos to open the 2004-05 Big West schedule.

Cook Joins Brown On Lengthy Injury List
Senior forward Casey Cook has about as high a pain threshold as anyone on the UCSB roster, so when he went down to the floor, grimacing in pain and holding his right foot midway through the first half of the Gaucho game at Cal State Northridge on Sunday, it was obviously a bad sign. Cook fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot and will be sidelined a minimum of six weeks. The injury to Cook, UCSB's top scorer (10.8 points per game) and second-leading rebounder (5.5 rebounds per game), is yet another brutal blow to the already crippled Gaucho roster. Just five days earlier, it was learned that junior guard Cecil Brown would be lost for the season with a stress fracture in his left ankle. Brown, who averaged 7.7 points per game and ranked second on the team in three-point baskets with 24 during the 2003-04 season, played in the first preseason game this year, but then partially tore the medial collateral ligament in his right knee. After being sidelined for eight weeks with the knee injury, he was expected to return on December 22 at San Diego. A day before the game against USD, however, he injured his left ankle. For the rest of the injury report, please advance to page two of this release.

The Gaucho Record
UCSB enters the trip to Utah State and Idaho with an overall record of 4-6 and a Big West mark of 2-1. Sunday's 70-50 loss at Cal State Northridge ended the team's brief two game winning streak. The Gauchos have now won three of their last five games after going through a four-game losing streak. Last week, UCSB opened Big West play with consecutive wins over Long Beach State (54-57) and UC Irvine (62-45). The win over the Anteaters ended their five-game winning streak.

Gauchos Get Sloppy, Lose At Cal State Northridge
UCSB equaled its season-high in turnovers with 20, and lost senior forward Casey Cook to a foot injury midway through the first half, and it all added-up to a 70-50 road loss at Cal State Northridge on Sunday. The Gauchos and Matadors were tied 7-7, but CSUN went on a 17-3 run to take a comfortable 24-10 lead. The Gauchos lost Cook and never got closer than 11 the rest of the way. Freshman guard Alex Harris led UCSB with 13 points. Sophomore forward Glenn Turner had career-highs of eight points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots.

The Injury Report
UCSB is now down to eight healthy players as senior forward Casey Cook injured a tendon in his right foot in the loss at Cal State Northridge and is expected to miss six to eight weeks. Junior guard Cecil Brown has recovered from a partially torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee, but while the knee is willing, his left ankle is not. Prepared to make his 2004-05 debut at San Diego on December 22, Brown injured his ankle in practice the day before the game and he was back on the injured list. A bone scan revealed that he has a stress fracture in the left ankle and he is expected to be sidelined the remainder of the season. Redshirt freshman forward Chris Devine had surgery on his right knee prior to the opening of practice in October and while the healing process has gone well, it has not been as fast as hoped, thus he will be not return until the 2005-06 season. Reserve sophomore forward David Kennedy missed the first seven games of the season with a stress fracture in his right leg, but he returned in the conference opener against Long Beach State, playing two minutes. Some soreness in that leg kept him out of practice the day after the Long Beach State game and although he was suited up, he did not play in the win over UC Irvine. On Sunday at Cal State Northridge he did not suit up and if the pain persists, he will remain on the sidelines for an indefinite period of time. Junior forward Cameron Goettsche has played in the last eight games. Goettsche missed four weeks, including all practices, two exhibition games and the first two regular season games, with a severely strained groin. Overall, including exhibition games, Gaucho regulars, or projected regulars, have missed 41 games due to injury this season.

Possible Starters - Notes
G - Chrismen Oliver - Played a season-low 17 minutes at CSUN.
G - Joe See - Missed all six three-point attempts at CSUN, is now 2-of-14 in last three.
G - Josh Davis - Scored a season-low two points at CSUN on Sunday.
F - Derek Rasp -Pulled-down career-high four rebounds at CSUN.
F - Cameron Goettsche - Four rebounds at CSUN snapped streak of 10+ games at three.

Possible Reserves - Notes
G - Alex Harris - Scored 13 points, his second-highest total of the season at CSUN.
G - Michael Chambers - Has averaged 7.3 points per game in the last three.
F - Glenn Turner - Career highs in points (8), rebounds (8) and blocks (3) at CSUN.

The Sideline - Notes
G - Cecil Brown - Stress fracture in lower left leg has likely sidelined him for the season.
F - Casey Cook - Injured tendon on bottom of right foot has him out six to eight weeks.
F - Chris Devine - Knee injury has not healed enough. Will miss remainder of year.
F - David Kennedy - Persistent soreness in right leg has him sidelined indefinitely.
F - Chris Moore - Is currently academically ineligible.
F - Todd Follmer - The seven-footer will redshirt his freshman campaign.

Williams Hits Century Mark At UCSB
The Gauchos' 62-45 win over UC Irvine on December 30 was the 100th victory of Bob Williams' UCSB coaching career. Williams, in his seventh season with the Gauchos, joins four former UCSB coaches in the 100 win club. Jerry Pimm (222), Willie Wilton (205), Ralph Barkey (169) and Art Gallon (122) have also won more than 100 games as coach of the Gauchos.

The Bob Williams File
Bob Williams is in his seventh season as the head coach at UC Santa Barbara. On December 30, when the Gauchos defeated UC Irvine, he became the fifth UCSB coach to record 100 wins. Last year, he guided the Gauchos to a 16-12 overall record and a 10-8 mark in Big West Conference play. He has also guided UCSB to three straight winning seasons, the first time the program has accomplished the feat since 1987-88 through 1989-90. In 2002-03, Williams' 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 postseason trip to the National Invitation Tournament. In addition, 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 Championship ever and first NCAA Tournament appearance in 12 years. Including this season, Williams' UCSB teams have posted a 100-85 (.541) overall record and a 68-37 (.648) 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 289-185 (.610) at four-year schools.

The Opponents
The Gauchos and Utah State have played 57 times in a series that dates back to 1970. The Aggies hold a decisive 35-22 edge and they won both games last season. USU topped UCSB in Logan by a score of 63-54 and in Santa Barbara by a 74-67 count. The Gauchos last win in the series came in Santa Barbara during the 2002-03 season. The last time UCSB won in Logan was in 1999. Santa Barbara and Idaho have played 16 times, meeting for the first time in 1963. Last year, the team's split their two games, each team winning on its home floor. UCSB won 59-47 in Santa Barbara and the Vandals won 57-45 in Moscow. The last time UCSB won in Moscow was in 2003 when it won 62-53.

The Gauchos On The Road
UCSB is 1-5 in road games this season. The overtime victory at San Diego State in the opener marked the second straight season in which the Gauchos have won their first road game of the season. UCSB, however, has now lost five straight road games, dropping decisions at Wisconsin, San Francisco, Pepperdine and the University of San Diego. Last season, the Gauchos went 6-10 in road games overall, and just 3-6 in Big West Conference road games.

Three-Point Barrage Ends
In the three games prior to UCSB's Big West opening win over Long Beach State, the Gauchos were killed by their opponents from three-point range. In the games against San Diego, Montana and San Diego State, the opposition combined to go 26-of-46 from beyond the three-point stripe, a sparkling 56.4%. Through three Big West games, the opponents three-point shooting has slowed down somewhat. In the last game, a loss to Cal State Northridge, the UCSB defense allowed the Matadors to make 9-of-23, 39.1%, but in three Big West games overall, the opposition has made just 13-of-58 from beyond the arc, 22.4%, a major improvement over the 56.4% of the final three non-conference games. The nine three-pointers made by Cal State Northridge were the second-highest total by a Gaucho opponent this season. San Diego State made 12 three-point baskets on December 4.

No Offense Intended
Since starting the season by scoring 80 points in an overtime win at San Diego State, UCSB has gone into an offensive slump. In the past nine games, the Gauchos have not scored more than the 63 points that they recorded on December 22 at the University of San Diego. The 62 points that UCSB scored against UC Irvine on December 30 marked just the fourth game of 60 or more points this season. The 50 points scored in the last game at Cal State Northridge was a season-low. Through ten games, Santa Barbara has averaged 59.2 points per game, but in the last nine outings, the Gauchos have averaged just 56.9 points per game.

Defense Tries To Pick-Up The Slack
While UCSB has sputtered offensively this season, the play on the defensive side of the court has generally been pretty good. With the exception of a couple of games, the Gauchos have kept the opponents scoring and shooting totals pretty low. Santa Barbara has not allowed more than 73 points in any game this season. San Diego State tallied 73, on 60.0% shooting overall and 60.0% from three-point range, in a December 4 game. Since that contest, a span of five contests, Gaucho opponents are averaging 55.8 points per game and shooting just 37.5% overall.

Turnover Hiatus Ends At Northridge
In its first two Big West Conference games, UCSB had a total of just 18 turnovers. Through the first seven games of the regular season, all non-conference outings, the Gauchos never had fewer than 11 turnovers in any single game. In Sunday's loss at Cal State Northridge, Santa Barbara reverted back to its earlier play by committing 20 turnovers. The 20 turnovers that the Gauchos had against the Matadors equaled their highest output of the season. The Gauchos also had 20 turnovers in a November 27 loss at San Francisco. Still, UCSB has improved slightly over last season in the turnover category. In 2003-04 UCSB averaged 14.7 turnovers per game, and thus far in 2004-05, the Gauchos are averaging 14.6 turnovers per game.

Stolen Moments
The Gauchos have 81 steals through ten games this season, an average of 8.1 per game. In the last five contests, UCSB has had a combined total of 48 steals, tying its season-high in the win over Montana with 13, producing ten in the loss at San Diego and then coming-up with nine against Long Beach State and eight each against UC Irvine and Cal State Northridge. Last season, Santa Barbara averaged 6.8 steals per game, and had a total of 191, the ninth highest total in school history. At their current rate, the Gauchos would have 219 steals in 27 games this year, a figure that would rank second on the all-time single-season list. Leading the way through ten games this season has been junior guard Josh Davis, who has 20, an average of 2.0 per game.

Block Party
As a team, UCSB has 30 blocked shots in its first ten games, an average of 3.0 blocks per game. While the 3.0 blocks per game is a modest figure and certainly no reason to declare even a state holiday, it is an increase over last year's average of 2.0 per game. Eight of the 11 players who have suited-up for the Gauchos this season have produced at least one blocked shot. Despite missing two games, junior forward Cameron Goettsche leads the way with ten blocks. Sophomore forward Glenn Turner, who has at least two blocked shots in four of the last five games, also has ten blocks for the year.

Just In Casey
Senior forward Casey Cook, the teams leading scorer at 10.8 points per game and its second-leading rebounder at 5.5 boards per game, was scoreless in nine minutes before suffering his foot injury at Cal State Northridge. Through nine games he had been UCSB's most consistent scorer, going for ten or more points five times, including a career-high 21 in a November 23 loss at Wisconsin. Prior to his brief scoreless stint against the Matadors, Cook had not scored fewer than eight points in a game this season. In a December 18 win over Montana, he not only scored 14 points, but he had a career-high 12 rebounds for the second double-double of his career. Indeed, Cook, who averaged 32.1 minutes per game in the first nine games, will be missed.

Just Joshing
After scoring in double-figures in each of the team's first four games, junior guard Josh Davis has scored in single-digits in six straight. He had his worst offensive game of the season at Cal State Northridge, scoring a season-low two points on 1-of-6 shooting overall and 0-for-1 from three-point range. Prior to the two-point effort against the Matadors, Davis' lowest output of the season had been seven points. Although he is still averaging exactly 10.0 points per game, he has scored a total of 42 points in the last six games, 7.0 per contest. In the last six games he has made just 14-of-41 shots, 34.1%. On November 27, in a loss at San Francisco, Davis scored a career-high 20 points. He also had an 18-point game effort in the season opener at San Diego State, making a career-high 4-of-5 from three-point range in the process. Following his performance in the OT win over the Aztecs, Davis was named Big West Player of the Week. An outstanding defensive player, he also leads the team in steals with 20. When he did not have a steal in the game at Cal State Northridge, it snapped a streak of six straight games in which he had produced at least one and four straight in which he had two or more. Davis has had a career-high four steals twice this season, once each at San Diego State and at San Diego.

Oliver's Twist
Senior point guard Chrismen Oliver played a season-low 17 minutes in the loss at Cal State Northridge, scoring four points and passing off for just one assist. At 9.4 points per game, Oliver ranks third on the team. He has scored in double-figures five times this season, along with Casey Cook, the most on the team. Oliver scored a career-high 17 points in the season opener at San Diego State. Although he is the only regular with a positive assist to turnover ratio, he has had more turnovers than assists in each of the last three games, a span over which he has six assists and 12 turnovers. Oliver leads the team with 12 three-pointers, but he was held without a three-point basket at Cal State Northridge, marking just the second time this season that has occurred.

See Saw
Junior guard Joe See has gone through quite a, please pardon the expression, see-saw in the early going this season. He opened the year by going 2-for-20 overall and 0-for-16 from three-point range in the first three games. Then, over a four game span, he was 13-of-27 overall, 48.1%, and 8-for-18, 44.4%, from three-point territory. In the last three games, the see-saw has been on the down-tilt, as See has gone 4-for-20 overall, 20.0%, and 2-for-14, 14.2%, from beyond the three-point arc. See scored a season-high 17 in the final non-conference game on December 22 at San Diego. He did lead UCSB with three assists in the loss at Cal State Northridge, and he now has 22, an average of 2.2 per game. Also, since opening the year at 1-for-5 from the free throw line, he has hit 11 of his last 12, 91.7%.

Chambers Music
Junior guard Michael Chambers played a combined total of six minutes in the two games prior to UCSB's Big West-opening win over Long Beach State. In the last three games, Chambers played a total of 45 minutes, an average of 15.0 per game. With the numerous injuries suffered by UCSB, that 15.0 minutes per game average is not likely to decrease. While he is averaging 4.6 points per game, overall, Chambers has tallied 22 in the last three games, 7.3 per game. Also, despite struggling at 1-for-6 overall and 0-for-4 from three-point range in the last game, he has made a respectable 6-of-15 overall, 40.0%, and 4-for-11, 36.4%, from three-point range, in the last three games. Chambers scored a season-high ten points on December 30 against UC Irvine.

Cam I Am
Junior forward Cameron Goettsche had a run of three consecutive double-figure rebound games entering the contest at Cal State Northridge. The streak ended when he had four against the Matadors. Still, Goettsche is leading the Gauchos at 7.9 rebounds per game in his eight games. He had a career-high 14, the most by a UCSB player since the 2001-02 season, in the win over UC Irvine. And, despite grabbing just four in the last game, he has averaged 10.0 per game in the last five games. He has also had eight or more rebounds in five of his eight games. Goettsche, however, still has not gotten fully in the flow offensively. He was 2-for-5 from the field against Northridge, including his first three-point basket, but he had just six points. On the season he is averaging 6.0 per game, and he has scored a season-high of ten just twice. In the last three games Goettsche has averaged just 4.0 points and shot 31.2%. In the game against Northridge, he did have a career-high four steals, and he did block two shots for the third game in a row. Finally, Goettsche had a double-double of ten points and ten rebounds on December 22 at the University of San Diego.

Turner's Role Increases
Sophomore Glenn Turner will called-on more now than at any other point in his career. With all of the injuries, UCSB is down to two, count `em, two true front court players in Turner and Goettsche. Turner, limited for much of the season with a sore ankle and foul trouble, had the best game of his career in the loss at Cal State Northridge. He set new career-highs in minutes (31), points (eight), rebounds (eight) and blocked shots (three), and he tied his career-high in steals (one). The 31 minutes played by Turner were not only a career-high, but the total was nine minutes more than his previous career-high of 22, set in the opener at San Diego State. In fact, the 31 minutes was more than he had played in the previous two games combined. The eight points were one more than he had scored in the three previous games combined and with eight points and just one foul, Turner now has, for the first time this season, more points (32, 3.2 per game) than fouls (31, 3.1 per game). His three blocked shots also pulls him into a tie with Cameron Goettsche for the team lead at ten. Turner has seven blocks in the last three games and nine in the last five.

Harris Steps Up
Like the rest of the healthy Gauchos, freshman guard Alex Harris is going to have to increase his role. In the loss at Cal State Northridge, Harris was one of the few bright spots. He scored 13 points against the Matadors, making 3-of-4 shots overall, his only three-point attempt, and 6-of-7 from the free throw line. It marked the second time this season that Harris had scored in double-figures, but the first time since the season opener at San Diego State when he tallied 15 points. Harris, in fact, scored all 13 of his points in the second half. He has now scored 21 points, 10.5 per game, in the last two games, after scoring a total of just nine in the four games prior to the UC Irvine game on December 30. Overall, he is now averaging 6.7 points per game. In addition, Harris made 6-of-7 from the free throw line and he is now 23-of-28, 82.1%, on the year. He has attempted more free throws than every UCSB player with the exception of the injured Casey Cook.

Grasping His Opportunity
With UCSB's active roster down to eight players, walk-on freshman Derek Rasp will continue, to be a key contributor. He is averaging 3.3 points and 1.5 rebounds per game. He scored six points at Cal State Northridge, one away from his season-high, and he amassed a season-high four rebounds. Rasp has made a three-point basket in six games this season and he is 6-of-16, 37.5% overall. He is averaging 10.2 minutes per game and that figure will undoubtedly continue to go up. Finally, despite his 6-foot-4 height, Rasp has been called-on to play some minutes at the power forward spot. He has also played at both wing positions.

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