UCSB Takes Two-Game Streak Into Thursday Home Game Against Cal State Northridge
Jan. 21, 2004
Game No. 15
Thursday, January 22, 2004 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Cal State Northridge Matadors
at UCSB's Thunderdome (6,000)
Radio: KTMS 990 AM
Game No. 16
Saturday, January 24, 2004 at 3:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at University of the Pacific Tigers
at UOP's Spanos Center (6,150)
Radio: KTLK 1340 AM
TV: Fox Sports Net 2
UC Santa Barbara enters the week with an overall record of 9-5 and a Big West record of 3-2. The Gauchos won their only game last week, defeating Cal Poly on the road, 78-59. The victory gives UCSB its first two-game winning streak in league play and its first streak since a season-long four-game winning streak was snapped in a December 20 loss to Kansas.
This Week: An Odd Home-Road Split
UCSB will have kind of an oddball week. The Gauchos will split the week with a home game and a road game against travel partners Cal State Northridge and Pacific. Originally, Santa Barbara was supposed to be on the road for both of the games this week, but UCSB agreed to flip-flop home games with Cal State Northridge so that the Matadors can celebrate homecoming on February 21, the original date of UCSB's home game in the series. Instead, the Gauchos will travel to the San Fernando Valley on that date. The game against Pacific, originally scheduled for 7:00 p.m., was moved to 3:00 p.m. to accommodate Fox Sports Net 2.
UCSB Goes Wire-To-Wire In Win Over Cal Poly
UCSB entered its rivalry game against Cal Poly having yet to put together a full game in Big West play. The Gauchos had wins at UC Irvine and at home against Idaho, but in the game against the Anteaters UCSB struggled down the stretch and had to hold on for the win. In the game against the Vandals, the Gauchos struggled in the first half before pulling away in the second. On Saturday against the Mustangs, despite the absence of leading scorer and rebounder Casey Cook, UCSB went the distance. The Gauchos scored the first three points of the game and although Cal Poly tied the score at 3-3, 6-6 and 9-9, the Mustangs never took the lead. The Gauchos took a ten-point lead into halftime, scored the first nine points of the second half and never looked back. Cal Poly could never cut the UCSB advantage under 12 points and the Gauchos led by as many as 21. Santa Barbara used a balanced attack to overcome an outstanding effort by the Mustangs' Shane Schilling, who finished with a game-high 26 points. UCSB was led by sophomores Cameron Goettsche and Joe See, who each had 15 points. Senior Nick Jones had a season-high 13 and sophomore guard Cecil Brown added 11, all in the first half. Senior forward Bray Skultety added seven points and nine rebounds in just 13 minutes. As a team, the Gauchos outshot the Mustangs 50.0% to 37.0%, they made 69.2% from from three-point range, including all five attempted in the second half, and UCSB dominated the boards, 47-25. The win at Cal Poly's Mott Gymnasium snapped the Gauchos' two-game losing streak in the series. UCSB has now won 11 of the last 13 games played against its rival from the north.
Cook Remains Sidelined For Thursday's Game
Junior forward Casey Cook, who missed Saturday's game at Cal Poly with a partially torn right quadricep muscle, will not play in Thursday's game against Cal State Northridge. He is, however, expected to be cleared to play in Saturday afternoon's game at Pacific. Cook is currently leading the Gauchos in both scoring (10.8 points per game) and rebounding (5.5 per game).
In a series that dates back to 1960, UCSB holds a 20-4 advantage over Cal State Northridge. The Gauchos have never lost to the Matadors in Big West play, going 4-0 over the last two seasons. In 2003-04, UCSB swept the two game series, winning in Northridge by a score of 67-58 and in Santa Barbara by a score of 77-59. The last time Cal State Northridge defeated the Gauchos was in December of 1996 and that was a non-conference game. The UCSB-Pacific series dates back to 1947 with the Gauchos holding a slight 44-43 edge. Last year, UCSB defeated the Tigers three times, winning in Stockton (62-52), in Santa Barbara (67-52) and at the Big West Tournament in Anaheim (53-44). In Bob Williams' first five seasons at UCSB, the Gauchos have posted a 10-2 mark against Pacific.
Possible Starters - Notes
G - Jacoby Atako - His 11 three-pointers on the year equal his output of last season.
G - Nick Jones - Scored a season-high 13 points in the win at Cal Poly.
G - Branduinn Fullove - Has attempted just five shots in 54 minutes over the last two games.
F - Cameron Goettsche - Has scored in double-figures in four straight games.
F - Bryan Whitehead - Has had at least three rebounds in all 14 games and five or more in nine.
Possible Reserves - Notes
G - Cecil Brown - Has scored in double-figures six times and Gauchos have won all six.
G - Josh Davis - Three points and three rebounds vs. Cal Poly were his highs in Big West games.
G - Joe See - Tied season-high with 15 points and had season high five rebounds vs. Cal Poly.
G - Chrismen Oliver - Has played a total of just four minutes in last three games.
F - Bray Skultety - Season-high nine boards to go with seven points in 13 minutes at Cal Poly.
F - Casey Cook - Status still up in the air with torn muscle in right quadricep.
F - Glenn Turner - Played two minutes and missed his only shot at Cal Poly.
F - Derek Wheeler - Has yet to play in a game this season.
F - David Kennedy - Played one minute and missed both of his shots at Cal Poly.
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 89-72 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 278-172 at four-year schools.
In 2002-03, UCSB had three players who averaged 12.4 points per game or more. This season, the Gauchos leading scorer, junior forward Casey Cook, is averaging just 10.8 points per game. If, by the end of the season the Gaucho leader still leads the way at 10.8 points per game, it would be the lowest scoring average to lead the team in more than 40 years. The lowest in the last 40 seasons was when Doug Muse paced the team at 11.2 points per game in 1993-94. There is a bright side to the story. While UCSB has just two players averaging in double-figures, the Gauchos have six averaging 8.0 points per game or more and two others who are averaging 5.3 per game or more. By contrast, last year's Gauchos had the three players over 12.4, but nobody else on the team averaged more than 5.2 per game.
Take Me To Your Leaders
Along with the scoring balance has come several scoring leaders. When Joe See scored 15 points in Saturday's win at Cal Poly, he tied Cameron Goettsche for team-high honors and he became the sixth different player to lead the team in scoring in at least one game this season. In 2002-03, the Gauchos had just four different players lead the way in scoring and one, Cecil Brown, turned the trick one time. This year, nine different UCSB players have scored in double-figures, eight have scored in double-figures two or more times and six players have scored 15 points or more. The highest single scoring total by a Gaucho this season was the 23 points scored by Branduinn Fullove on December 21 in a win over Alabama State.
On The Rebound
As is the case with UCSB's scoring load this season, the word on rebounding is also balance. The Gaucho leader in rebounding is Casey Cook at 5.5 rebounds per game. In all, Santa Barbara has three players averaging 5.4 or more rebounds per game. The balanced rebounding approach is paying off. After being outrebunded last season, the 2003-04 version of the Gauchos has bounced back in a big way. UCSB won the battle of the boards against Cal Poly on Saturday by a season-high 22 rebounds and the Gauchos are now outrebounding all opponents by a margin of 5.6 boards per game. In five Big West games, the margin is an even more impressive 9.4 rebounds per outing. Overall, UCSB has outrebounded 11 of 14 opponents, including the last three in a row. Four different players have either led or tied for the team-lead in rebounding this year. Casey Cook has led or tied for the lead six times, Cameron Goettsche has led or tied five times and both Bryan Whitehead and Bray Skultety have each tied or led four times. Finally, eight different players have collected at least five rebound in a game.
Three-Ball In The Middle Pocket
In Saturday's win over Cal Poly, UCSB made a season-best 69.2% from three-point range. The Gauchos have now made 50.0% or more in three of the last four games and five times this season. They have improved their percentage on the season to a solid 41.3%. In league games, UCSB is actually shooting slightly better from beyond the three-point line than from inside the three-point line. In five Big West encounters, Santa Barbara has made 33-of-68 shots from beyond the three-point arc, an outstanding 48.5%. In those same five games, the Gauchos have hit 91-of-191 shots from inside the arc, 47.6%. Since opening the season by making just 5-of-25 three-point attempts in the first two games, UCSB has hit 80-of-181 in the last 12, 44.2%.
Defending Their Honor
UCSB allowed its first three Big West opponents to shoot 45.5% or better from the floor. Two of the first three opponents made 52.0% or better from the floor and the Gauchos dropped both of those games. In the last two games, however, UCSB has picked-up the pace defensively, allowing Idaho and Cal Poly to make just 35-of-100 shots from the field, 35.0%. In fact, when the Gauchos have limited a league opponent to below 50.0%, they have gone 3-0. Overall, in 14 games, Santa Barbara has allowed its opponents to shoot 45.0% or better seven times and in those seven games the Gauchos have gone 3-4. When UCSB holds opponents under 45.0%, they are 6-1 with the lone loss coming at the hands of Kansas, which shot 40.9%. UCSB has held six opponents below 40.0% and it has gone 6-0 in those games.
They Aren't Free
Overall, UCSB has had a sub-par season from the free throw line, shooting just 66.4%. In Big West games, however, the Gauchos have perked-up a bit, shooting a respectable 74.2%. In three of the five league games, the Gauchos have made 75.0% or better from the charity line and in four of the five they have made 73.3% or better. In the nine non-league games, UCSB hit just 97-of-157 free throw attempts, 61.8%.
Depth Charges or Benchmark
In the last four games, three wins and one defeat, UCSB's bench has started to emerge as a key factor. In the first of the four games, a win at UC Irvine, the Gaucho bench scored a season-high 46 points of the team's 84 points. In the game against the Anteaters, three players, Cecil Brown, Cameron Goettsche and Joe See, came off the pine to score in double-figures. In a loss to front-running Utah State, the bench scored 38 of UCSB's 67 points and two players, See and Goettsche, tallied double-figures. In a win over Idaho, the bench scored 21 points and then in Saturday's win at Cal Poly, the bench score 36 of 78 total points. Additionally, the absence of forward Casey Cook forced Goettsche into the starting lineup and he scored 15. In all, over the last four games, the UCSB bench has combined to score 141 of the team's 288 points, 49.0% of the total.
UCSB At Home
With its win over Idaho on January 10, UCSB is now 4-1 at home this year. The Gauchos' lone defeat came at the hands of Utah State on January 8. In addition to Idaho, UCSB has defeated Pepperdine, San Diego and Westmont. 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 26-5 at home over the last 31 games.
UCSB On The Road
UCSB is a solid 4-1 in true road games this season and 5-4 in games away from the Thunderdome. The Gauchos have won road games at Hawaii, UCLA, UC Irvine and Cal Poly this year with the lone true road loss coming at Long Beach State. Last year, the Gauchos recorded an 8-12 record away from the Thunderdome. Included in the 8-12 was a 2-5 record on neutral courts and a 6-6 record in true road games, thus, in the last two seasons, UCSB has gone 10-7 in true road games.
They won't set any new records for blocked shots, but this year's Gaucho team has already matched the 2002-03 team in blocked shots. Last season, in 32 games, UCSB swatted a total of 32 shots, fewer than one per game. This year, the Gauchos have already blocked 30 in 14 games. Last year Bryan Whitehead led the team with 14 blocked shots and no other player had more than four. This season, through 14 games, nobody has more than six (Whitehead and Cameron Goettsche), but three players have five or more.
In his first game back after sitting out five with an ankle injury to open the season, senior guard Branduinn Fullove attempted five shots in 13 minutes of action. In the next six games, he never attempted fewer than six shots. In the last two, however, he has become more interested in setting-up his teammates than taking his own shots. In UCSB victories over Idaho and at Cal Poly, Fullove played a total of 54 minutes and attempted just five shots. He scored seven points against Idaho and three, on a three-point basket, at Cal Poly. His assist totals, on the other hand, have been his highest of the season. Against the Vandals he had four assists and then last Saturday against the Mustangs, he had a season-high six, just one shy of his career-high. Overall, Fullove is now second on the team in scoring at 10.1 points per game. In the four games prior to the last two, he scored 69 points, an average of 17.2 per game. He scored a season-high 23 points on December 21 against Alabama State, the highest total by any Gaucho this year. When he has shot the ball recently, he has been pretty accurate. Since going 3-for-18 in the first three games, Fullove has made 27-of-49 from the floor, 55.1%. Although he is just 7-of-23 from three-point territory, he has gone 7-of-18 over the last six games, 38.9%. In the last six games, he has made 20-of-31 shots from two-point range, 64.5%. Fullove enters the week with 1,258 career points, a figure that ranks seventh on UCSB's all-time list. He needs 94 to pass Scott Fisher and move into sixth-place all-time. His ten assists in the last two games have boosted Fullove's career total to 239, ninth all-time.
Casey At The Bat
A partial tear in a right quadricep muscle sidelined Casey Cook for Saturday's win at Cal Poly. He was the fifth UCSB regular to miss a game because of injury, illness or suspension this season and his status for this weekend is yet to be determined. By his mere absence from the lineup, Cook regained the team's scoring lead. He is averaging 10.8 points per game. He is also leading the team in overall rebounding at 5.5 per outing. The emergence of Cook has been one of the most pleasant surprises for the Gauchos this season. He has not only put up solid numbers, but he has become one of the team's top clutch players. He opened the season by posting the first double-double of his career in a win at Hawaii. In a narrow home win over Pepperdine, Cook drilled a three-pointer with less than a second to play to give his team the win. 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 their first-ever win over UCLA, 61-60 at Pauley Pavilion. Cook also sealed that win with a steal of an inbounds pass in the final seconds. In his last game, a home win over Idaho, Cook had 12 points and six rebounds. The 12 points marked the first time that he had scored in double-figures in a UCSB home game. Cook has been dynamite away from home, scoring 13 or more six times, averaging 13.0 points per game and hitting 40-of-80 shots from the field, 50.0%. In addition to recording the first double-double of his career in the opener at Hawaii, Cook's total of 12 rebounds against the Warriors was a career-high. He has tied his career-high of 16 points three times this season. Finally, Cook's 5-of-6 shooting effort against Idaho improved his shooting percentage for the season to 50.0%.
In The Nick Of Time
Senior guard Nick Jones came back in Saturday's win at Cal Poly. Sure, he has played six games since returning from an eight-game suspension, but on Saturday night the real Jones came back, scoring 13 points, passing off for three assists, pulling down two rebounds and producing one steal in just 21 minutes of action. It wasn't just the numbers, it was the way he came-up with the numbers. Jones scored eight of his 13 points in a pivotal 12-2 stretch at the beginning of the second half, helping the Gauchos stretch a ten point lead to an insurmountable 20 point edge. In the game at Cal Poly, Jones also made a season-best three three-point baskets and since his return, he has now made 9-of-16, 56.2%. Jones did score 12 points in his first game back, but that game, a win over Alabama State, just didn't hold the same significance as the game against the Mustangs. In his last two games, Jones has averaged 11.0 points and made 7-of-15 shots overall, 46.7%, and 4-of-6 from three-point territory, 66.7%. In UCSB's January 5 win at UC Irvine, Jones scored nine points and became the 20th player in school history to hit the 1,000 point mark. He now has 1,028 career points and needs five to move into 18th-place all-time and 23 to move into 17th-place. Jones' career total of 111 three-point baskets ranks seventh all-time.
Before sophomore guard Cecil Brown tweaked his ankle in the second half of Saturday's win at Cal Poly, he played 16 minutes, scored 11 points and had four rebounds. It marked the sixth time this season that Brown had scored in double-figures and UCSB has gone 6-0 in those games. Very interesting indeed. Brown twisted his right ankle in practice prior to the Gauchos' December 17 win at UCLA. He re-twisted it against the Bruins, struggled the rest of that game, played 17 minutes against Kansas and then sat out a December 21 game against Alabama State. His status for this weekend will be determined later in the week. Since going from the starting lineup to the bench after the return of Nick Jones, Brown has become a key player for a group of reserves that have become more and more valuable. In addition to his 11 points in the win over Cal Poly, he scored 15 in a road win at UC Irvine. In fact, Brown has scored in double-figures three times on the road and each time UCSB won in a difficult road venue. In addition to Cal Poly and UC Irvine, he scored 13 points in the season-opener at Hawaii. Brown also recorded his career-high of 16 points in consecutive home games against Pepperdine, Westmont and San Diego. He is still averaging 11.4 points per game at home and in his five Thunderdome appearances, he has made 21-of-44 field goal attempts, 47.7%. Brown is now averaging 8.9 points per game, third on the team, and his 14 three-point field goals ranks him second. He hit a pair of three-pointers at Cal Poly and he has made two or more four times. Finally, since missing his first nine three-pointers this season, Brown has gone 14-of-29, 48.3%.
Pointing The Way
Senior point guard Jacoby Atako had just one assist in 20 minutes at Cal Poly on Saturday, but his contributions were far greater than that. Atako also had five points, including a key three-pointer in the early stages of the second half that gave UCSB a 16-point lead. He also tied his season-high with four rebounds and he did a very good job defensively on Mustang point guard Kameron Gray. Atako is now averaging 6.2 points per game and a team-leading 2.8 assists. He also paces the team in steals with 16. With his three-point basket on Saturday, Atako now has 11 three-pointers on the year, the same total he amassed last year in 32 games. He scored a career-high 23 points against Southeast Missouri State on November 30 and he has been in double-figures three times this year, but all of those totals came in the first six games of the season. The four rebounds that Atako took at Cal Poly were the fifth time this season he had produced that many in a game. Finally, with career totals of 349 assists and 108 steals, he ranks seventh and eighth all-time at UCSB in those categories.
A Tranquil See
Sophomore guard Joe See, a transfer from Oregon State, had arguably the best game of his UCSB career in Saturday's win at Cal Poly. See, tying his season-high with 28 minutes played, scored 15 points for the third time this season, had a season-high five rebounds and added two assists and a pair of steals. Just as impressive was the fact that in the bedlam at Mott Gymnasium, See played numerous minutes at the point and did not turn the ball over. While he has come off the bench in all 14 games this year, he has become one of the most valuable and dependable players on the team. He is averaging 8.0 points per game, and that includes a scoreless performance two games ago against Idaho. See has scored ten or more points five times this season, including three times in the last four games. With two more three-point baskets against the Mustangs, he now has a team high 26 on the year. See has had two or more three-pointers seven times in 14 games, three or more five times and a season-high five once, in a January 8 loss to Utah State. Since opening the year by going 2-for-11 from three-point range in his first two games, See has gone 24-for-48, 50.0%. In fact, since going 3-of-13 overall in the first two games, he has made 37-of-72, 51.4%. Finally, See now ranks second on the team in assists with 28, an average of 2.0 per game. In the last nine games, he has dished out 25 assists, 2.8 per game and he has had four or more four times, including a season-high five against Alabama State.
Cam I Am
Sophomore Cameron Goettsche returned to the starting lineup in Saturday's win at Cal Poly. It was his first start in a while and he made the most of it. Replacing injured Casey Cook in the starting five, Goettsche played a career-high 30 minutes, scoring 15 points and grabbed six rebounds. He was also a major reason that UCSB limited Cal Poly's Varnie Dennis to just ten points, nine below his scoring average for the year. Goettsche is now scoring 8.4 points per game overall and 10.8 per game in Big West play, second on the team. He has scored in double-figures five times this year, including the last four consecutive games. The 15 points that Goettsche scored in the win over the Mustangs was just two short of his career-high of 17, set on December 13 against San Diego. Also in the last four games, Goettsche has made 17-of-27 shots from the field, 63.0%. On the year, he is now making 48.2% of his field goal attempts and since opening the campaign by making just 10-of-31 shots in the first four games, 32.3%, he had made 31-of-54, 57.4%. Goettsche is also tied for second on the team at 5.4 rebounds per game. He had a career-high 11 rebounds on December 10 against Westmont and he has had five or more in seven games. Finally, since missing six consecutive free throws in games against Kansas and Alabama State on December 20 and 21, Goettsche has become an outstanding free throw shooter. Since the run of six in a row, he has made 21-of-23, 91.3%, to improve to a solid 74.4% on the year.
The Life Of Bryan
Senior forward Bryan Whitehead could easily be featured in the comic Pluggers. He is UCSB's hard hat-type of forward. He rebounds, defends, dives for loose balls and, when needed, scores a few points. Whitehead played 24 minutes in the win at Cal Poly and he was instrumental in shutting down Big West leading scorer Varnie Dennis. He held a foul-plagued Dennis without a point until five minutes into the second half and to just ten in the game. Whitehead finished with six points and seven rebounds. On the year, he is one of two Gaucho regulars who has more rebounds than points. The other, Bray Skultety, has 54 rebounds and 53 points. The margin for Whitehead is a far more significant 75-55. His 5.4 rebounds per game is tied for second on the team. He has had at least three rebounds in all 14 games, the only UCSB player who can make that claim, and he has had five or more nine times. Finally, Whitehead had three assists and two blocked shots in the win over Cal Poly, both season-highs.
Senior forward Bray Skultety is rebounding from a torn left ACL, an injury that sidelined him all of last season. When I say he is rebounding, I really mean it. Skultety is averaging 3.9 rebounds per game in just 12.0 minutes of action. In fact, in the five Big West games, Skultety leads the Gauchos in rebounding at 6.0 per game in an average of 15.6 minutes per game. His overall average of 13.0 rebounds per 40 minutes played is tops on the team and his Big West average of 15.4 rebounds per 40 minutes of played is easily the best on the team. On Saturday, Skultety played just 13 minutes before fouling out in the win at Cal Poly. He too was a major factor in the the defense of Varnie Dennis. Before he fouled out, Skultety made 3-of-4 shots from the field, scoring seven points, and he had a game-high and season-high nine rebounds. In the last six games, Skultety has collected 36 rebounds in just 90 minutes. In the five Big West games, not only has he collected 30 rebounds, 16 of them have come on the offensive end. Skultety has also become an offensive threat of sorts. He is averaging 3.8 points per game overall, but in league play he is averaging 6.0 per game and in the last four games he is scoring at a rate of 7.0 per game. Skultety is shooting 58.3% overall and since missing his first three shots this year, he has made 21-of-33, 63.6%.
Sophomore guard Josh Davis played 15 minutes in the win at Cal Poly, the most time he has logged since returning after missing a game with the flu. While he scored just three points, all from the free throw line, Davis had two assists and three rebounds, his highwater marks in Big West play. After starting the first nine games of the season, Davis, like Cecil Brown, returned to his role as a valuable reserve upon the return of Branduinn Fullove and Nick Jones. He is now averaging 5.3 points per game and he scored a season-high 13, including a perfect 3-for-3 from three-point range, in the December 17 win at UCLA. Davis has scored in double-figures twice this season. He has also made 7-of-15 three-pointers on the year and since missing his first five, he has gone 7-of-10, 70.0%. He has not, however, even attempted a three-pointer since a December 21 game against Alabama State.