Gauchos Host Utah State in Key Big West Showdown Thursday Night at the Thunderdome
Jan. 7, 2004
Game No. 12
Thursday, January 8, 2004 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Utah State Aggies
at UCSB's Thunderdome (6,000)
Radio: KTLK 1340 AM
Game No. 13
Saturday, January 10, 2004 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. University of Idaho Vandals
at UCSB's Thunderdome (6,000)
Radio: KTLK 1340 AM
UC Santa Barbara enters the week with an overall record of 7-4 and a Big West mark of 1-1. After a heartbreaking 63-62 loss in Saturday's Big West opener at Long Beach State, the Gauchos bounced back with an impressive 84-77 win at UC Irvine on Monday night. The win was UCSB's fourth in a row over the Anteaters. Since opening the year with a 1-2 record, Santa Barbara has gone 6-2.
This is an important week for UCSB. Next up for the Gauchos is defending Big West Tournament Champion Utah State (9-1 overall, 1-0 in Big West). USU enters Thursday's contest with a six-game winning streak, including a 73-57 Big West-opening win over Idaho on Saturday. In the last two seasons the Gauchos and Aggies have alternated league titles. Two years ago, Utah State won the regular season title and UCSB won the tournament title and last year it was the other way around. Since 2000, Utah State has the most wins, 54, by any school in the Big West and holds the eighth best winning percentage in the country, .780. Idaho (3-7 overall, 0-1 in Big West) returns three players from a squad that finished the 2002-03 season tied for fifth in the Big West.
Gauchos Finally Find Their Way Home
Last year, UCSB went 30 days between home games. They played USC on December 3 and didn't play at the Thunderdome again until opening league play on January 2 against UC Riverside. This year, the Gauchos stayed with the tradition of evacuating Santa Barbara for most of December. UCSB last played at home on December 13, defeating the University of San Diego 90-70. When the referee throws the ball up for the tip on Thursday against Utah State, it will have been 25 days since the Gauchos played a game at the Thunderdome. Fortunately, the team practices in the building so finding it will not be a problem.
Balanced Attack Helps UCSB Get Back On Track
On Saturday night, a loss at Long Beach State, UCSB gave-up a 21-point lead in the final 15 minutes, losing 63-62 on a three-pointer at the buzzer. On Monday night the Gauchos bounced back as Branduinn Fullove scored 17 points and Cecil Brown came off the bench to add 15, to lead UCSB past UC Irvine 84-77 at Irvine. In all, four Gauchos scored in double-figures and seven players tallied seven or more points. Joe See and Cameron Goettsche each added 11 points in the win and See's three-point basket with 2:08 to play in the first half gave UCSB a lead that it never relinquished. The Gauchos built the advantage to as many as 12 points late in the second half and then made most of their free throws down the stretch to secure the win. The UCSB bench scored a season-high 46 points in the victory.
Davis Doubtful For The Weekend
UCSB was able to get one game out of its full 12 man roster. On Saturday night, at Long Beach State, the Gauchos had their entire 12-man roster available for the first time this season. On Monday night at UC Irvine, UCSB was back down to 11 as sophomore guard Josh Davis, a starter in the first nine games of the season, remained at the team's hotel suffering from flu-like symptoms. While Davis is slowly getting better, he is doubtful for this weekend's games against Utah State and Idaho.
UCSB Radio Moves To Clear Channel Santa Barbara
All 2003-04 UC Santa Barbara men's basketball games will be broadcast by Clear Channel Santa Barbara. The majority of Gaucho games will be aired on KTLK 1340 AM, but when a conflict with Los Angeles Lakers' games occurs, the UCSB games will be carried on KTMS 990 AM. The agreement between UCSB and Clear Channel Santa Barbara comes after KEYT NewsRadio, the Gauchos' former home, converted to Spanish-language in early November. The schedule to the left indicates which UCSB games will be carried on KTMS 990 AM.
In a series that dates back to 1970, UCSB and Utah State have played 52 times over the years with the Aggies holding a 30-22 edge in the series. Last season the teams split a pair of games with USU winning 75-59 in Logan and the Gauchos winning 62-50 at the Thunderdome. The Gauchos and Idaho have played 16 times since first meeting in 1963. UCSB holds an 11-5 edge in the all-time series, winning at home (52-44) and on the road (62-53) last season.
UCSB At Home
With its win over San Diego on December 13, UCSB is now a perfect 3-0 at the home this year. Last year, UCSB posted a 10-2 record at the Thunderdome, losing an overtime game to Cal State Fullerton and a non-conference game to Detroit. In 2001-02, the Gauchos also posted a 10-2 home record. The 10-2 mark that Santa Barbara has recorded each of the past two seasons is the best home mark for the program since the 1989-90 team went 11-2. Dating back to the end of the 2000-01 season, the Gauchos have gone 25-4 at home over the last 29 games.
The Williams File
Bob Williams is in his sixth season as the head coach at UC Santa Barbara. Last year, he guided the Gauchos to an 18-14 overall record and a 14-4 mark in Big West Conference play. The Big West mark earned Santa Barbara its first-ever 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 led UCSB to its first Big West Conference Tournament Championship ever and first NCAA Tournament appearance in 12 years. In his five-plus seasons in Santa Barbara, Williams' teams have posted an 87-71 overall record and a 57-29 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 276-171 at four-year schools.
UCSB Equals Best Preseason Record Under Williams
Despite playing without two of its top returnees for most of the preseason, UCSB's 6-3 non-conference record equaled the best preseason record by the Gauchos under head coach Bob Williams. The 2001-02 UCSB team also posted a 6-3 preseason record. The last time a Gaucho team had a better record entering Big West play was in 1992-93 when they entered league action with a 6-1 mark.
Possible Starters - Notes
G - Jacoby Atako - Made 5-of-7 shots overall and 3-of-4 from three-point range in two weekend games.
G - Branduinn Fullove - With 1,229 career points, he now ranks tenth on school's all-time list.
G - Nick Jones - With 1,004 career points, he is the 20th player in school history to score 1,000.
F - Cameron Goettsche - Averaged 9.5 points and 6.0 rebounds in the last two games.
F - Casey Cook - All six of his double-figure scoring efforts this year have come away from home.
Probable Reserves - Notes
G - Josh Davis - Missed Monday and is doubtful for Thursday night's game because of the flu.
G - Cecil Brown - After scoring nine total points in his three previous games, he had 15 at UC Irvine.
G - Joe See - Has had two or more three-point baskets six times this season.
G - Chrismen Oliver - Played a season-low three minutes at UC Irvine.
F - Bryan Whitehead - Fouled out in just 12 minutes at UC Irvine.
F - Bray Skultety - Had a career-high nine points to go with six boards at UC Irvine.
F - Glenn Turner - Committed two fouls in two minutes on Monday night.
F - David Kennedy - Walk-on forward has played in two games this season.
F - Derek Wheeler - Has yet to play in a game.
Hanging In The Balance
Based on scoring average, UCSB has two players averaging in double-figures. Junior forward Casey Cook leads the team at 11.3 points per game. Senior guard Branduinn Fullove, who missed the first five games of the season and then struggled greatly in his first three game back, has averaged 16.7 per game in the last three to improve to 10.3 for the year. In addition, including Nick Jones, who has played in just three games since returning from a suspension, UCSB has eight players averaging 6.4 points or more. Nine different players have had at least one double-figure scoring game and six have scored 15 or more in a game. Fullove's 23-point effort in the a December 21 win over Alabama State was most points scored by a Santa Barbara player this season. Finally, through 11 games, five different players have led the team in scoring and only Cook (five times), Fullove (twice) and Brown (twice) have led the way more than once.
Monday's win at UC Irvine was a particularly nice one for a number of reasons. The need to bounce back from a tough loss on Saturday night was one reason, another reason was the level of contribution that the Gauchos received from their bench. More than half of UCSB's 84 points came from reserves in the 84-77 win. Overall, the six players who came off the bench for UCSB combined to score 46 points. Cecil Brown tallied 15 points, Cameron Goettsche and Joe See each added 11 apiece and Bray Skultety scored a career-high nine. The 46-point bench outburst was a season-high for the Gauchos.
In the last four games, UCSB turnover totals have been on a rollercoaster ride. On December 20, the Gauchos committed a season-high 26 turnovers in a loss to Kansas. The next night, in a win over Alabama State, they had a season-low eight turnovers. In Saturday's Big West-opener at Long Beach State, UCSB had 21 turnovers, its second highest total of the year. Monday night, in the win at UC Irvine, the Gauchos protected the ball well, committing just nine turnovers. In four losses this season, Santa Barbara has averaged 19.7 turnovers. On the other side of the coin, in seven wins they have averaged just 12.7 turnovers.
Rebound By Committee
A UCSB player has recorded double-figures in rebounds only twice this season. In the season-opener at Hawaii, Casey Cook had a career-high 12 rebounds and in a December 13 win over San Diego, Cameron Goettsche had 11. Despite not having any single player with big rebound numbers, the Gauchos have are solidly outrebounding the opposition this season. UCSB has been outrebounded just three times and on two of those occasions the margin was just two. Overall, Santa Barbara's rebound margin is a solid 4.3 rebounds per game, and while no player is averaging more than Cook's 5.7 per game, three players are averaging 5.3 per game or more and nine players are averaging at least 2.0 rebounds per game or more.
Fullove Edges Into Scoring Top-Ten
Senior guard Branduinn Fullove, the 2002-03 Big West Player of the Year, injured his left ankle in UCSB's second exhibition game. Originally, it was feared that he would be lost for the season, but he wasn't. Fullove missed the Gauchos' first five games of the year, returning for a December 13 victory over San Diego. In his first three games, however, Fullove struggled mightily. He just didn't seem to have his legs or his timing. In his first three games, against San Diego, UCLA and Kansas, he averaged 18.7 minutes per game, scored a total of 12 points (4.0 per game), made just 3-of-18 field goal attempts (16.7%), and missed all five of his three-point attempts. In his last three games, however, Fullove has started to return to form. In the last three contests, he has scored in double-figures, including a season-high 23 on December 21 against Alabama State. The 23 points equaled Fullove's second-highest total ever. In the last three, he has averaged 16.7 points per game, hitting 18-of-32 shots from the field overall, 56.2%. Although he has been much better in the last three games, Fullove has yet to regain his three-point shooting touch. On the year he is 4-of-18 from three-point range. In the last three games he has been a bit better, going 4-of-13, 30.8%. On Monday night, in the road win over UC Irvine, Fullove scored 17 points in a season-high 31 minutes and in doing so, he hit the 1,229 point mark, moving him past Gary Gray and in to tenth-place on UCSB's all-time scoring list. Fullove now needs just 19 points to move into seventh-place on the list.
Jones Joins The 1,000 Point Club
Senior guard Nick Jones hit a personal milestone in Monday's win over UC Irvine. Jones scored nine points and now has a career total of 1,004. He is the 20th player in UCSB history to hit the 1,000 point mark. After sitting out the first eight games of the season with a suspension, Jones is rounding back into shape. He is averaging 9.0 points in 23 minutes per game. He did play a season-high 25 minutes at UC Irvine, scoring exactly nine points. Jones scored his season-high of 12 points on December 21 against Alabama State, his first game back. He had highs of four rebounds and four assists in the Big West opener at Long Beach State. Finally, while Jones is shooting 47.8% overall from the field, he has made 5-of-9 shots from beyond the three-point arc, 55.6%. His five three-point baskets gives him 107 for his career, a figure that ranks him seventh all-time.
Just In Casey
Junior forward Casey Cook was one of the main reasons that UCSB was able to stay afloat during the absence of Branduinn Fullove and Nick Jones. He has been Mr. Clutch for the Gauchos this season. In the season-opener at Hawaii, he had career-highs of 16 points and 12 rebounds to lead UCSB to a six-point win. On December 3 against Pepperdine, Cook hit his first three-pointer of the season with less than a second remaining in the game to give the Gauchos a 65-62 win over the Waves. On December 17, he scored UCSB's final four points, the last two on a pair of free throws with 18 seconds remaining, to give the Gauchos a narrow 61-60 win at UCLA. In addition, as the seconds counted down in the win over the Bruins, Cook stole an inbounds pass and lobbed the ball into the backcourt as the horn sounded. He finished with game-high totals of 15 points and six rebounds. Cook continues to lead the Gauchos in scoring at 11.3 points per game and rebounds at 5.7 per outing. Interestingly, if there is one UCSB player who may just as soon stay on the road, it is Cook. In three home games this season, he has yet to score more than eight points. In the three at home, he has averaged 6.7 points per game while making 9-of-21 shots from the floor, 42.9%. By contrast, Cook has scored in double-figures six times in games away from home. In fact, he has scored 13 or more points in each of the six games. In four neutral site games and four true road games, Cook has averaged 13.0 points per game and he has made 40-of-80 shots from the field, an even 50.0%. Cook has tied his career-high of 16 points three times this season and in recording the first double-double of his career in the season-opener at Hawaii, he set a career-high with 12 rebounds, the highest total by any Gaucho this season. Cook has had five or more rebounds eight times this year.
Help Cecil! Help!
Sophomore guard Cecil Brown was rolling right along. He was averaging 12.0 points per game and he had a sweet-16 homestand, scoring exactly 16 points in three consecutive home wins. In practice the day before UCSB's win at UCLA, however, things took a downward turn. Brown sprained his left ankle and although he was in the starting lineup against the Bruins, he struggled to move well, re-sprained the ankle in the first half and was limited to 15 minutes of action. In the game against Kansas, he tried to give it a go, playing 17 minutes, but again he struggled, playing just 17 minutes. In the two games, totaling 32 minutes, Brown made just 2-of-8 shots overall, 25.0%, and he missed all three of his three-point attempts. In UCSB's next game, a win over Alabama State, he did not play at all. Brown scored five points in the first league game at Long Beach State, but he really bounced back in the win at UC Irvine. Against the Anteaters, Brown came off the bench to score 15 points, making 3-of-6 shots from the floor, 2-of-4 from three-point range and 7-of-8 from the free throw line. In fact, in the last two games, Brown has gone 3-of-6 from three-point territory and he now ranks second on the team with 11 total three-point baskets. Finally, while Casey Cook has had his best games away from home, Brown has had his best at the Thunderdome. In each of the three home games this season, he tied his career-high with 16 points, making 17-of-33 shots from the field (51.5%) and 6-of-13 from three-point range (46.2%).
Atako Making His Point
In the past two seasons, Jacoby Atako's ability to handle the ball has been a major reason for UCSB's success. As Atako improved throughout the year, so to did the Gauchos. This season, through 11 games, the senior point guard has collected 31 assists and 28 turnovers, a far cry from his totals of the past two seasons. If you look closer, however, Atako is improving that ratio as the season progresses. In the last three games, he has recorded 11 assists and just two turnovers, a better than five-to-one assist to turnover ratio. Atako leads UCSB in both assists and steals (11). In fact, with 341 career assists and 103 career steals, he now ranks seventh and eighth on the school's all-time lists. Atako scored a career-high 23 points on November 30 against Southeast Missouri and he is averaging 6.7 points per game overall, a figure that would be his career-best if it were to hold. In the last two games, Atako has averaged 7.0 points, making 5-of-7 shots overall and 3-of-4 from three-point territory. On the year he has made ten three-pointers, just one fewer than he made all of last season. Finally, Atako is shooting 48.9% overall, a huge jump from his 35.9% career mark entering the year. In fact, he has never shot better than 38.7% in any single season.
Cam I Am
Sophomore forward Cameron Goettsche scored 11 points off the bench in UCSB's win at UC Irvine on Monday night. It was the second time this season that Goettsche had scored in double-figures. He went for a career-high 17 on December 13 against San Diego. In his last two games, Goettsche has averaged 9.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. In the Big West-opener at Long Beach State, despite not recording a field goal attempt, he scored eight points, and had a team-high eight rebounds. Goettsche is second on the team in rebounding at 5.5 per game. He had a career-high 11 rebounds on December 10 against Westmont and he has had four or more seven times in 11 games. Finally, since missing all five of his free throw attempts in a loss to Kansas, Goettsche has gone 13-of-15 from the charity stripe, 86.7%.
Look And See
After scoring just ten total points in the preceding three games, sophomore guard Joe See came off the bench to score 11 key points in Monday's win at UC Irvine. See made 3-of-5 shots overall, including 3-of-4 from three-point range, and he added a team-high four assists with no turnovers. See leads the Gauchos in three-pointers with 19 on the year. He has scored in double-figures three times, notching a season-high 15 on December 13 against San Diego. See has made at least one three-point basket in each of the last three games and nine times this year. He has made two or more six times and he has hit three three-pointers four times. In addition, See is playing more at the point recently. He had a career-high five assists on December 21 against Alabama State and in the last three games, he has had ten assists and just two turnovers. In fact, after recording a total of three assists in the first four games, See has had four or more four times in the last seven games.
Sophomore guard Josh Davis sat out Monday's game at UC Irvine. Actually, Davis probably did not sit the game out, more likely he lying down. Suffering from flu-like symptoms, he remained at the team's hotel and he was picked-up after the game. Davis started the first nine games of the season. In his last appearance, Saturday night at Long Beach State, he was starting to feel ill and came off the bench, playing a season-low 17 minutes and going scoreless. In the three games prior to the Long Beach State game, including games against Kansas and UCLA, Davis averaged 9.0 points and 3.0 rebounds per game while making 11-of-19 shots overall, 57.9%, and 3-of-5 from three-point range, 60.0%. He is averaging 6.4 points per game and scored a season-high 13 at UCLA.
Skultety Returns To Form
Two years ago, forward Bray Skultety was UCSB's best rebounder. Although he played little early in the year, he emerged by the end of the season as one of the Gauchos' top reserves. Last year, he suffered a knee injury that shelved him for the season. After redshirting last year, he started off slowly this year, but in a mirror of his junior season, he is again starting to emerge. While he is averaging 3.1 points and 3.2 rebounds per game, Skultety has averaged 5.3 points and 5.7 rebounds in the last three games. In each of the last three contests he has had five or more rebounds and at UC Irvine on Monday night, playing against seven-footer Adam Parada, Skultety tied his season-high with six rebounds and he scored a career-high nine points. Also, never lacking for aggression, he has committed 18 fouls in the last four games, a span of 52 minutes.
The Life Of Bryan
Senior forward Bryan Whitehead would rather be grabbing the basketball than shooting it. In 198 minutes, Whitehead has attempted just 38 shots, an average of one shot every 5.2 minutes of play. On the other had, while he has attempted just 38 field goals, he has collected 58 rebounds. Whitehead is averaging 3.9 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. He has had at least three rebounds in every game and five or more seven times. Whitehead had a season-high eight rebounds in a December 3 win over Pepperdine. In Monday's game at UC Irvine, he fouled out for the first time this year, playing a season-low 12 minutes.