Men's Basketball Hosts Long Beach State In ESPN Showdown Thursday Night

Men's Basketball Hosts Long Beach State In ESPN Showdown Thursday Night

Jan. 15, 2001

Note: A PDF version of this release is available on the basketball main page. The PDF version is entitled "Weekly Release".

The Schedule
Game No. 14
Thursday, January 18, 2001 at 9:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Long Beach State 49ers
at UCSB's Thunderdome
Note: UCSB-LBSU game televised on ESPN.

Game No. 15
Saturday, January 20, 2001 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at University of Idaho Vandals
at Idaho's Kibbie Dome

Game No. 16
Thursday, January 25, 2001 at 5:30 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. UC Irvine Anteaters
at UCSB's Thunderdome

The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara enters its Thursday game against Long Beach State with an overall record of 5-8 and a Big West mark of 2-1. The Gauchos had their season-long three game winning streak snapped on Saturday when they were beaten at UC Irvine, 80-56. UCSB had won three in a row prior to the loss to the Anteaters. The three game streak included back-to-back wins over Boise State and Cal State Fullerton to open league action.

Nov. 19 - at Pepperdine 64, UCSB 53
Nov. 21 - USF 77, UCSB 74 (OT)
Nov. 25 - at BYU 67, UCSB 53
Nov. 29 - at UCLA 83, UCSB 77
Dec. 2 - UCSB 57, Westmont College 50 (OT)
Dec. 6 - UCSB 80, San Diego State 77 (3 OT)
Dec. 9 - USC 75, UCSB 73
Dec. 22 - at St. Mary's 71, UCSB 63
Dec. 27 - at UC Riverside 63, UCSB 59
Dec. 30 - UCSB 85, Loyola Marymount 69
Jan. 4 - *UCSB 81, Boise State 75
Jan. 11 - *UCSB 74, at Cal State Fullerton 71
Jan. 13 - *at UC Irvine 80, UCSB 56
Jan. 18 - *Long Beach State - 9:00 p.m.
Jan. 20 - *at Idaho - 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 25 - *UC Irvine - 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 27 - *Cal State Fullerton - 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 1 - *at Long Beach State - 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 3 - *at Pacific - 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 8 - *Idaho - 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 10 - *Cal Poly - 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 15 - *Utah State - 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 17 - UC Riverside - 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 22 - *at Cal Poly - 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 24 - *Pacific - 3:00 p.m.
Mar. 1 - *at Utah State
Mar. 3 - *at Boise State
Mar. 8-10 - Big West Tournament

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 fourth season as the play-by-play announcer and Don Ford returns for his fifth year as the primary color announcer. Much to the chagrin of the listening public, UCSB Director of Athletic Media Relations Bill Mahoney will handle the color for selected road broadcasts.

The Gauchos On
In addition to KEYT radio, all UCSB basketball broadcasts can be accessed on the internet at either or at UCSB's official athletic website,

UCSB On The Internet
The Official Athletic Site of UC Santa Barbara is UCSB is part of the FANSonly network.

The UCSB Coaches Show
The Gaucho Coaches Show, hosted by Randy Lee, can be heard every Tuesday night during the basketball season at 6:30 p.m. on KEYT Newsradio, 1250 AM.

Three Game Winning Streak Snapped At UC Irvine
UC Santa Barbara had its season-long three-game winning streak snapped in an 80-56 loss at UC Irvine on Saturday. After trailing 39-34 at half, the Gauchos went the first 7:36 of the second half without hitting a field goal and scoring only five points to fall behind by 14 points. They never got closer than ten after that, ultimately losing by 24. The 24-point margin was the largest in Bob Williams' tenure as head coach and it was the largest margin since UCSB dropped an 82-56 decision at Pacific during the 1997-98 season.

What About Bob?
Bob Williams is in his third season as head coach at UCSB. Last year he guided the Gauchos to a 14-14 overall record and a solid 10-6 mark in Big West play. He is the first coach in UCSB history to open his career with back-to-back seasons of .500 or better. In addition, he led the Gauchos to a record of 22-10 in league play in his first two seasons, a winning percentage of .687, the best two-year league mark in school history. In his first season, Williams led UCSB to the Big West's Western Division championship, a 15-13 record overall and a 12-4 record in league. He was named Big West Coach of the Year in 1999. Williams has posted a 34-35 overall record as head coach of the Gauchos. Including this year, his Big West record is 24-11 (.686). In his career, which includes stops at UC Davis and Menlo College, he now has a 223-135 record.

Probable Starters - Notes
G - Jacoby Atako - Did not have an assist in 25 minutes at UC Irvine.
G - Branduinn Fullove - Leads the Gauchos in Big West play at 15.7 points per game.
G - Nick Jones - Has made at least one three-pointer in four of the last five games.
F - Mark Hull - 15 points at UC Irvine was his highest total in six games.
F - Mike Vukovich - His streak of double-figure scoring games was snapped at UC Irvine.

Possible Reserves - Notes
G - B.J. Ward - Leads the team with 19 steals and he has had at least one in 12 games.
G - LaRon Bryant - Sprained left knee has sidelined him indefinitely.
F - Juliano Jordani - Leads the team in rebounding at 5.7 per game.
F - Casey Cook - Scored seven points at UC Irvine after scoring five in previous five games.
F - J.J. Todd - Has played in eight of the team's 13 games.
G - LaDonte King - Saw his only action of the season in win over LMU.
F - Adama Ndiaye - Remains sidelined with fractured ring finger on left hand.

Ndiaye Remains Sidelined
Senior forward Adama Ndiaye remains sidelined for the Gauchos. The 6-foot-9 native of Senegal fractured the ring finger on his left hand three days before the season-opener at Pepperdine, had a pin placed in it a day later, and has been out since. When the injury originally occurred, it was believed that he would be out from four-to-six weeks, now it has been about eight weeks and a decision regarding a redshirt season for Ndiaye is expected soon. Ndiaye was expected to be one of the top frontcourt players in the Big West Conference this year. Last year, he averaged 9.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocked shots per game.

The Opponents
The Gauchos and Long Beach State have played 84 times with the 49ers holding a 45-41 advantage. Last season, LBSU won both games, defeating UCSB in Long Beach by a score of 86-68 and in Santa Barbara by a 72-69 count. The Gauchos lead their series with Idaho by a 7-3 margin. UCSB won the only meeting between the schools last year by a score of 72-55. The last time the Gauchos played in Moscow was in January of 1998 and they were soundly beaten, 89-68.

The Lids Were Down On Saturday
After three consecutive solid shooting efforts, UCSB had its problems from the field at UC Irvine Saturday, making only 20-of-49 shots, 40.8%. The subpar shooting effort came on the heels of a three game winning streak that saw the Gauchos make 81-of-155 shots from the field, an outstanding 52.3%. In consecutive wins over Cal State Fullerton, Loyola Marymount and Boise State, UCSB shot 48.8%, 52.5% and 54.9% respectively. Prior to the game against Loyola Marymount, the Gauchos were shooting 37.6% from the floor as a team. Now, including the 40.8% against UCI, they are shooting 40.9%, a modest figure, but not as modest as 37.6%. Taking it a step further, before the Gauchos shot 40.0% in the second half at Fullerton, they had shot better than 50.0% in each of the previous four halves of basketball. They made a season-best 11-of-18 (61.1%) in the first half against Cal State Fullerton and that came on the he after they had rattled off halves of 57.1% and 52.2% against Boise State and a second half of 60.0% against Loyola Marymount. Before shooting 54.9% against Boise State, Santa Barbara's previous best mark this season was the 49.1% they shot on the road at UCLA. Previously their highest mark in a home game was the 43.1% they shot in an overtime loss against USF.

On The Other Hand...
The lids may have been down for the Gauchos on Saturday, but they were not down for the Anteaters. UCI shot 52.8% against UCSB, becoming the first team this year to make more than half of its shots against the Gauchos. Prior to the game at Irvine, the highest percentage by an opponent this season was the 47.5% shot by Boise State on January 4. UCSB is allowing its opponents to shoot 42.5% on the season. Ironically, the highest percentage shot against the Gauchos last season was also by UC Irvine at 57.9%.

Youth Is Served
Not only is youth served, the Gauchos are serving it in huge helpings. Through 13 games, UCSB is utilizing its underclassmen (freshmen and sophomores) at a tremendously high rate. Freshmen have recorded 1,093 of the team's 2,725 total minutes, 40.1%. Sophomores have played 781 minutes, 28.7%. Combined, the UCSB underclassmen have played 1,874 minutes, 68.8% of this season's available minutes. The Gauchos' only two seniors, forward Juliano Jordani and injured guard LaRon Bryant, have played a total of 554 minutes, 20.3%.

Class War
Here is a breakdown of UCSB primary statistics and percentages by class:

LaRon Bryant and Juliano Jordani
170 points - 19.2%
102 rebounds - 23.6%
16 assists - 9.2%
14 steals - 15.4%

Mike Vukovich
136 points - 15.4%
72 rebounds - 16.7%
9 assists - 5.2%
13 steals - 14.3%
19 blocks - 63.3%

Mark Hull and B.J. Ward
265 points - 29.9%
87 rebounds - 20.1%
63 assists - 36.2%
31 steals - 34.1%

Branduinn Fullove, Jacoby Atako, Nick Jones, Casey Cook and J.J. Todd
314 points - 35.5%
165 rebounds - 38.2%
86 assists - 49.4%
32 steals - 35.2%

Home Sweet Home, Road Lousy Road
UCSB seems to have righted the ship at home. After losing their home-opener to USF in overtime, they have won four of their last five, losing only a thrilling contest to nationally ranked USC, 75-73. The road story, however, reads a bit differently. The Gauchos are 1-6 away from home after splitting their games at Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine last weekend. When they defeated the Titans in Fullerton a week ago, it was their first road win of the season. Last year, UCSB was 5-8 on the road.

A Little Of This, A Little Of That: Fullove's Full Plate
Every game, it seems, freshman Branduinn Fullove is getting better and better. He enters this week's games as UCSB's second-leading scorer at 10.7 points per game, but over the last four games, three of which were wins, he has shown that he is quickly becoming one of the team's best all-around players. In addition to his 10.7 points per game, Fullove is averaging 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. In last week's win over Cal State Fullerton, he scored a career-high 22 points to go along with three rebounds and three assists. Against UC Irvine, he had nine points, six rebounds and three assists. Two weeks ago, against Boise State, he scored 16 points and passed off for a career-high seven assists. In the last four games, he has averaged 15.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game while making 17-of-32 (53.1%) from the field, 6-of-11 (54.5%) from three-point range and 20-of-23 (87.0%) from the free throw line. In fact, on the year, Fullove leads the team in free throw percentage at 87.0% and in the last five games he is 24-of-27, an outstanding 88.9%. He also has the best assist-to-turnover ratio on the team at 1.8-to-1.0. Fullove has scored in double-figures five times in his ten games and in the last six games, he has averaged 5.3 rebounds per game. Although he missed three full games (UCLA, BYU and USF) he has played 298 minutes, the third highest total on the team. His average of 29.8 minutes per game ranks him second to Hull.

The Hull Truth, Nothing But
Sophomore Mark Hull is leading the Gauchos in scoring at 14.4 points per game. On Saturday, he was only Gaucho to score in double-figures as he went for 15 points, 14 of which came in the first half. Hull has now scored in double-figures in three straight games and seven of the last eight. On the year, he has tallied 13 or more in ten of 13 games. Hull made 5-of-10 shots in the loss at UC Irvine and he seemed to snap out of a shooting slump that had seen him shoot below 50.0% in the previous eight games. In fact, in the six games prior to UCI, he had made only 23-of-67 shots from the field overall, 34.3%. In the last six games, including the game at UCI, Hull made only 5-of-27 shots from beyond the three-point arc, 18.5%. Ironically, the six-game three-point skid came immediately following one of his best runs ever from that distance. In consecutive games against UCLA, Westmont, San Diego State and USC, Hull drained 11-of-20 three-point attempts, 55.0%. In fact, that 55.0% was despite an 0-for-3 performance against Westmont. In the games against UCLA, San Diego State and USC, he was a combined 11-for-17 from three-point territory, 64.7%. Hull made 5-of-6 three-pointers in an 83-77 loss at UCLA, scoring a career-high 23 points. He has scored 20 or more points in three game, going for 21 at BYU and 21 against San Diego State in addition to his 23 at UCLA. Although his shooting from the field has suffered lately, his free throw shooting has improved. On the year, Hull is making 77.8% of his free throws, but over the last five games he has dropped in 20-of-24, 83.3%. Lastly, but not leastly, Hull is easily the Gauchos' workhorse, having played 453 minutes, 135 more than the next closest player (B.J. Ward has played 328). He has played at least 29 minutes in every game this year, 30 or more 12 times (including the last six in a row) and 35 or more seven times. Hull played a career-high 46 minutes in the triple-overtime win over San Diego State.

Giant Steps: Vukovich Continues His Emergence
Mike Vukovich entered the 2000-01 season expecting to play a similar role to the one he played last year. He would play a reserve role, backing-up at both the four and the five spots. Then, Adama Ndiaye fractured a finger on his left hand and the 6-foot-9 Vukovich won a starting position by default. After five games, it looked like it was going to be a long season for Vukovich. In those first five, he scored a total of 27 points (5.4 per game), grabbed 20 rebounds (4.0 per game), made 11-of-29 shots from the field (37.9%) and 5-of-10 shots from the free throw line (50.0%). Then, a light went on, and things turned around. In the last eight games, Vukovich has scored 109 points (13.6 per game), grabbed 52 rebounds (6.5 per game), made 46-of-75 shots from the field (61.3%), and 17-of-24 shots from the free throw line (70.8%). In fact, after five games this year, Vukovich had yet to score in double-figures and he had done so only twice in the first 54 games of his career. Beginning with a December 6 game against San Diego State, he rattled off seven successive double-figure performances with games of ten, 18, 12, 14, 16, 20 and ten points. On Saturday at UCI, he narrowly missed an eighth straight double-digit game with nine points. The 20 points that Vukovich notched against Boise State on January 4 was his career-high, bettering his previous best of 18 that he scored against USC on December 9. On the year, Vukovich is now averaging 10.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.5 blocked shots and 1.0 steals per outing. He came up with a career-high three steals at UCI and he now has 13 on the year. Vukovich entered the season with five career steals in 453 minutes of action. He has scored 136 points in 296 minutes over 13 games this season as compared to 94 points in 26 games and 250 minutes last season. Perhaps the key for the Gauchos is keeping Vukovich in games. He has fouled out of five of UCSB's games this season and he has committed four fouls in five other games.

A Fresh Start
UCSB's starting lineup against Loyola Marymount on December 30 included a trio of freshmen. It was the first time on record that a Gaucho basketball team had started three freshmen. They have now gone with the three freshman lineup in four straight games. With freshmen Branduinn Fullove, Jacoby Atako and Nick Jones in the starting lineup, the Gauchos have posted a 3-1 record.

Keeping Up The Jones
Freshman guard Nick Jones sat patiently last season, waiting his turn as a redshirt. For the first several games this season, he again sat patiently, playing a few minutes here and there. In the first eight contests, Jones never played more than 20 minutes and averaged just 14.1 per game. In the last five games, he has averaged 30.2 minutes and played at least 27 in each. On Saturday at UC Irvine, Jones played a career-high 35 minutes. In addition, in the first eight games he scored 32 points in 113 minutes, averaging exactly 4.0 points per game. In the last five games, he has played 151 minutes and scored 68 points, averaging 13.6 per game. Jones scored a career-high 19 points in his first start against Loyola Marymount and he followed that up by scoring 15 in league wins over Cal State Fullerton and Boise State. On Saturday, he had nine. He had a career-high seven rebounds at Fullerton. In his four starting assignments, Jones has averaged 14.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.0 steals per game. In those three games he made 21-of-37 shots from the field (56.8%) and 12-of-14 from the free throw line (85.7%). Also, after making 1-of-3 shots from three-point territory at UC Irvine, he has made at least one in four of the last five games, drilling 6-of-13 (46.2%) over that span.

On The Menu At Point? Atako.
Freshman Jacoby Atako has started the last five games for the Gauchos, and he has gotten mixed results in those three outings. In his first start, at UC Riverside, he scored three points, made just 1-of-6 shots from the field, had one assist, three turnovers and a career-high three steals. In his second start, against Loyola Marymount, he tallied four points, making 1-of-2 shots from the field, had four assists , only two turnovers and a pair of steals. In the Big West opening win over Boise State, he had four turnovers and only one assist, but he did score a career-high nine points (3-of-5 shooting from the field) and he did play a career-best 30 minutes. A week ago, at Cal State Fullerton, he had five assists and four turnovers to go with a career-high six rebounds and six points before fouling out. On Saturday against UC Irvine's star Jerry Green, Atako had his troubles, scoring two points and not producing an assist in 25 minutes. On the year, the Santa Monica native is averaging 4.5 points and 2.8 assists per game. He has the second-best assist to turnover ratio on the team (1.42-to-1.0).

What's Cooking?
Freshman forward Casey Cook had seven points and seven rebounds at UC Irvine. The seven points was two more than his combined total of five in the five games prior to that one. Since missing his first shot at Cal State Fullerton to run his streak of consecutive misses to ten, Cook has made 4-of-6, 66.7%. Despite ranking ninth on the team in minutes per game (16.3), he ranks fourth in rebounding at 4.2 per outing.

Gauchos Shine In Big West
After a 3-7 start in non-Big West games, the Gauchos have once again opened up strong in league play at 2-1. This is not the first time UCSB has done this under Bob Williams. In his two-plus seasons as Gaucho head coach, Williams has guided the team to a 24-11 record in league play. Two years ago, in 1998-99, UCSB was 12-4 in league and won the Western Division. Last year, they were 10-6 and they finished second in the division. The 24-11 league record is good for a .686 winning percentage, the third-best in the Big West over that span.

Starting Lineup Rundown
Here is UCSB's record with the various starting lineups this season:
1. Ward, Bryant, Hull, Jordani and Vukovich: 2-5
2. Ward, Bryant, Fullove, Hull and Jordani: 0-1
3. Atako, Fullove, Hull, Jordani and Vukovich: 0-1
4. Atako, Jones, Fullove, Hull and Vukovich: 3-1

Men Of Steal
UCSB has produced 91 steals on the season, an average of 7.0 per game. The Gauchos have six players who have come up with at least ten steals. Sophomore B.J. Ward leads the way with 19 steals while Mark Hull and Mike Vukovich have 13 apiece. Jacoby Atako, Nick Jones and LaRon Bryant each have 11. At their current pace of 7.0 steals per game, UCSB would finish with approximately 196 steals for the season (assuming 28 games), a figure that would rank ninth all-time.

Quick Takes
Entering their game at UC Irvine, the Gauchos, for the first time this season, were on the plus side of the ledger in terms of rebounds at +0.2 rebounds per game. After being outrebounded by a season-high 17 against the Anteaters, UCSB is now in rebounding debt again at -1.0 rebound per game...The Gauchos have committed more fouls than their opponents only four times in 13 games this season...After shooting an outstanding 75.0% from the free throw in over a seven game span prior to the UCI game, the Gauchos slumped from the line against the Anteaters, making only 13-of-24, 54.2%. A week ago at Cal State Fullerton, they made 82.4% and during the seven game stretch, they never made lower than 66.7%...UCSB has four players averaging in double-figures in Big West games, two of which are freshmen and one who is a sophomore...In 13 games this season, UCSB has had ten personal foul disqualifications. Mike Vukovich leads the way with five, followed by B.J. Ward with three. Jacoby Atako and Juliano Jordani have each fouled out one time. Last season, in 28 games, the Gauchos totaled ten disqualifications and the most any single player had was three...In the five major statistical categories (points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocked shots) the a freshman has either led or tied for the lead 26 out of 65 times (five categories in 13 games is 65 opportunities)....A freshman (Branduinn Fullove or Jacoby Atako) has either led or tied for the team lead in assists in eight straight games and in 11 of the last 12 contests.