Tonight's Game: UC Santa Barbara at Idaho

Jan. 9, 2003

Tonight UCSB men's basketball takes on the Vandals of Idaho in an important game. After losing a heartbreaker to Fullerton last week, the Gauchos (4-8) look to rebound and continue their drive through Big West play. The game will be played at Idaho's Cowan Spectrum and will be broadcast on KEYT 1250.

UCSB Probable Starting Lineup:
Santa Barbara eagerly looks forward to the return of their leading scorer Branduinn Fullove. Tonight he should be back in the starting lineup after missing two games due to an injured groin. Fullove is netting 16.1 points per game, leading UCSB. He boasts a .489 shooting percentage from outside the three-point line and has connected on 73% of his free throws. Joining Fullove in the backcourt will be Jacoby Atako and Nick Jones. Atako will run the point for the Gauchos where he has accumulated a team-high 40 assists. He is shooting 75% from the free-throw line and has only turned the ball over 26 times. Atako leads the team in steals as well with 13 on the season. Jones has been a solid all-around threat for Santa Barbara. He is third on the team in scoring at 14.1 points per game and still leads the team in rebounding. Additionally, Jones is a spark on the floor, always playing with extreme amounts of energy. At the forward spots for UCSB will likely be Mark Hull and Casey Cook. Hull is second on the team in scoring at just above 14 points per game, despite being the focal point of opponent's defense in many outings. Hull is coming off a great game against Fullerton in which he scored 21 points and sunk five three-point baskets. Cook will likely get the start at the other block as his minutes increase as the season moves forward. Cook is averaging 4.8 points per game and is second on the team in steals with eight. If Cook is out of the starting line-up look for Bryan Whitehead to be in his place. Whitehead is third on the team with 41 rebounds and is scoring three points per game.

Idaho Probable Starting Lineup:
The Vandals will take on the Gauchos with Justin Logan and Sam Jackson at the guard positions. Logan, a 6'0" senior guard, is averaging 6.5 points per game and leads the team with 34 assists. He is shooing 33% from the field and has accumulated 13 steals. Jackson is averaging three points a night and has only started one game. The Vandals also feature Dwayne Williams at the guard spot and he may start against the Gauchos. He is averaging 9.2 points per game and has connected on 22 of 67 three-pointers. At the forward position Idaho will start Tyrone Hayes, Jon Tinnon, and Rashaad Powell. Hayes is the leading scorer for the Vandals averaging 13.9 points per game. He has nailed half of his three-pointers and 75% of his free throws. He is also leading the team in rebounding with seven boards per game and has blocked a total of 21 shots on the year. Tinnon is scoring 9.4 points per night and leads the team with a 52% field goal percentage. He is also grabbing 5.2 rebounds per game for the Vandals. Rounding out the starting five will be Powell, who is averaging 4.5 points per game and 4.3 rebounds.

Scouting the Vandals:
Santa Barbara leads the series with the Vandals 8-5, and Idaho coach Leonard Perry knows that tonight's game will be no easy task. Much like UCSB, the Vandals have had a bit of trouble maintaining concentration throughout some of their games, and playing hard for the full 40 minutes. If the Gauchos can get to Idaho quick, this may become a factor. Other then that, the main thing Santa Barbara needs to worry about is Tyrone Hayes. Hayes has notched three double-doubles on the season and has scored in double figures a total of nine times. As a team, the Vandals rank No.1 in the Big West in three-point defense and rebounding, so UCSB will have to work extra hard to get open looks from outside and everyone will have to crash the boards hard if they want to stay in the game. Where Idaho is vulnerable is at the free-throw line, they rank ninth in the Big West. Likely the Gauchos will be more generous with the fouls if it means that the Vandals won't take advantage of their free opportunities. Lastly, Idaho has a -2.18 turnover margin, also ninth in the Big West, so look for UCSB to keep the pressure on them in hopes of creating turnovers throughout the game.

Scouting the Gauchos:
The Gauchos should benefit greatly from the return of Branduinn Fullove. With Fullove back, Nick Jones and Mark Hull will be freed up to take more shots and contribute to the offense. Also, they won't have the burden of being the only experienced scorers on the floor. Fullove will contribute at least four more three-point attempts for the Gauchos which will make their offense much more potent from outside. As for the play down low, Casey Cook and Bryan Whitehead had great games against UC Riverside but then fell back a bit against Fullerton. Hopefully they will be able to remember what enabled them to play well against the highlanders and repeat it. Both need to crash the boards and put in the open shots they get.

Key Match-up:
The Vandals' most consistent player this season has been Tyrone Hayes, the 6'4" guard/forward from Georgia. He has done a significant amount of scoring and seems to be the main playmaker for Idaho. Likely Coach Williams will attack him with a couple of players including Nick Jones to start the game. When Jones is out, freshman guard Cecil Brown may see time guarding Hayes, and freshman Josh Davis might as well. The battle that will ensue between these players will be a key match-up throughout the game.

What to look for:
Look for the Gauchos to rebound after a frustrating loss to Fullerton. There is a good chance Santa Barbara took a long look in the mirror after that game and will now rebound with renewed intensity. Plan on the Gauchos trying to outrun the Vandals and count on seeing many three-point shots. Also, if Fullove is able to play, look for him to increase the Gaucho offense significantly by scoring and creating for his teammates.