Jan. 23, 2004
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
Game No. 17
Thursday, January 29, 2004 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. UC Riverside Highlanders
at UCSB's Thunderdome (6,000)
Radio: KTLK 1340 AM
UC Santa Barbara enters Saturday's game at Pacific with an overall record of 10-5 and a Big West record of 4-2. The Gauchos won a 59-47 home decision over Cal State Northridge on Thursday night. The win over the Matadors gives UCSB three straight wins and four wins in the last five games. The three-game Big West winning streak is the longest league streak of the season for the Gauchos. UCSB did win four straight non-conference games in December and dating back 12 games, the Gauchos have won nine of their past 12 games, including the program's first win ever over UCLA.
UCSB Builds Big Lead, Holds On Against Cal State Northridge
UCSB piled-up a big lead in its 59-47 win over Cal State Northridge on Thursday, and then held on for the win. Trailing 8-7 early in the contest, the Gauchos went on a 29-4 run over 11 minutes to take a commanding 24-point lead, 36-12. Santa Barbara cruised into halftime with a 38-17 edge, but the Matadors were not finished. CSUN got defensive in the second half, forcing the Gauchos into ten turnovers. In fact, in the first 14:30 of the second half, UCSB was outscored 26-11 and saw its lead shrink to six, 49-43. A three-pointer and a pair of free throws by sophomore guard Joe See, a lay-up and a free throw by senior forward Bryan Whitehead, and a free throw by sophomore forward Cameron Goettsche, gave the Gauchos a 9-0 run and a 15-point lead, 58-43. UCSB coasted from there. Senior guard Branduinn Fullove led the way for Santa Barbara with 13 points. See finished with 11 points and a career-high six assists and Whitehead tied his season-high with ten points. UCSB shot 56.8% for the game, but attempted just 13 shots in the second half. The Gauchos held the Matadors to 39.5% shooting and also won the battle of the boards by a decisive 29-19 margin.
Possible Starters - Notes G - Jacoby Atako - His field goal percentage of 48.3% is nearly 13.0% better than his career mark. G - Nick Jones - Has yet to miss a free throw this season, hitting all seven attempts. G - Branduinn Fullove - Has 1,271 career points and needs 29 to become seventh Gaucho over 1,300. F - Cameron Goettsche - Has scored in double-figures in four of the last five games. F - Bryan Whitehead - Tied his season-high with ten points vs. CSUN, making all four of his shots.
Possible Reserves - Notes G - Cecil Brown - Has scored in double-figures six times and Gauchos have won all six. G - Josh Davis - Has scored just seven points in five Big West appearances. G - Joe See - Had a career-high six assists to go with 11 points in win over CSUN. G - Chrismen Oliver - Played five minutes vs. CSUN, his high in a Big West game this year. F - Bray Skultety - Season-high nine boards to go with seven points in 13 minutes at Cal Poly. F - Casey Cook - Will miss the game at Pacific with a partially torn right quadriceps muscle. F - Glenn Turner - Missed the first two free throw attempts of his career on Thursday vs. CSUN. F - Derek Wheeler - Has yet to play in a game this season. F - David Kennedy - Has played in each of the last three games, his longest streak of the year.
Cook Sidelined For Pacific Game
Junior forward Casey Cook will not play in UCSB's game at Pacific on Saturday. Cook, who also missed the wins at Cal Poly and against Cal State Northridge, suffered a partially torn right quadriceps muscle (thigh) in warm-ups prior to the Gauchos' January 8 game against Utah State. He played against the Aggies and then again on January 10 against Idaho, but has been out since. It was originally thought that he would be available for the game against the Tigers, but he was still experiencing pain and the decision was made to hold him out for at least one more. His status will be reevaluated on Monday. Cook, incidentally, is from nearby Sacramento.
The Gauchos & Tigers
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.
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 Aren't Free
Overall, UCSB has had a subpar season from the free throw line, shooting just 65.2%. In Thursday night's win over Cal State Northridge, the Gauchos made just 14-of-26 shots from the line, 53.8%. UCSB had actually been turning things around prior to that. In their first five Big West games, the Gauchos perked-up a bit, shooting a respectable 74.2%. In three of the six league games, the Gauchos have made 75.0% or better from the charity line and in four of the six they have made 73.3% or better. In the nine non-league games, UCSB hit just 97-of-157 free throw attempts, 61.8%.
In the last five games, four 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 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. In Saturday's win at Cal Poly, the bench scored 36 of 78 total points and against Cal State Northridge, the bench tallied 24 points. Additionally, the absence of forward Casey Cook forced Goettsche into the starting lineup in each of the last two games and he scored 20 in the two. In all, over the last five games, the UCSB bench has combined to score 162 of the team's 347 points, 46.7% of the total.
They won't set any new records for blocked shots, but this year's Gaucho team has already surpassed the 2002-03 team in blocked shots. Last season, in 32 games, UCSB swatted a total of 30 shots, fewer than one per game. This year, the Gauchos have already blocked 32 in 15 games, an average of 2.1 per game. Last year Bryan Whitehead led the team with 14 blocked shots and no other player had more than four. This season, through 15 games, nobody has more than six (Whitehead and Cameron Goettsche), but three players have five or more.
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 90-72 overall record and a 59-29 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 279-172 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 we reach the end of the season and that statistic or something close remains the team's leading scorer, 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 scoring in double-figures, the Gauchos have six averaging 8.2 points per game or more and two others who are averaging 5.1 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. Branduinn Fullove led the way on Thursday with 13 points. When Joe See scored 15 points in last 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 just once. This year, nine different UCSB players have scored in double-figures and eight have scored in double-figures two or more times. Six players have scored 15 or more points in a game. 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 5.3 or more rebounds per game. The balanced rebounding approach is paying off. After being outrebounded last season, the 2003-04 version of the Gauchos has bounced back in a big way. After outrebounding Cal State Northridge by ten on Thursday and Cal Poly by a season-high 22 rebounds last Saturday, the Gauchos are now outrebounding all opponents by a margin of 5.9 boards per game. In six Big West games, the margin is an even more impressive 9.5 rebounds per outing. Overall, UCSB has outrebounded 12 of 15 opponents, including the last four 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 and Bryan Whitehead have each led or tied five times and Bray Skultety has tied or led four times. Finally, eight different players have collected at least five rebounds in a game.
Gauchos Take A Three-Point Break
On the heels of its best three-point shooting performance of the season, UCSB had one of its worst in Thursday's win over Cal State Northridge. Against the Matadors, the Gauchos made just 3-of-13 shots from beyond the arc and all UCSB players without the name Joe See combined to go 0-for-8. See hit 3-of-5 in the win, but the rest of the team was held three-less by Northridge. In Saturday's win over Cal Poly, UCSB made a season-best 69.2% from three-point range. Despite the 3-for-13 performance on Thursday, the Gauchos have still made 50.0% or more in three of the last five games and five times this season. Their percentage on the season is a solid 40.2%. In league games, UCSB is shooting 44.4%. Prior to the 23.1% performance on Thursday, the Gauchos had actually been shooting slightly better from beyond the three-point line than from inside the three-point line. Since opening the season by making just 5-of-25 three-point attempts in the first two games, UCSB has hit 83-of-204 in the last 13, 41.0%.
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 three games, however, UCSB has picked-up the pace defensively, allowing Idaho, Cal Poly and Cal State Northridge to make just 52-of-143 shots from the field, 36.4%. In fact, when the Gauchos have limited a league opponent to below 50.0%, they have gone 4-0. Overall, in 15 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 7-1 with the lone loss coming at the hands of Kansas, which shot 40.9%. UCSB has held seven opponents below 40.0% and it has gone 7-0 in those games. Also, after allowing the first three Big West opponents to average 71.3 points per game, the last three league opponents have scored just 51.0 per game and two, Cal State Northridge and Idaho, were beaten by identical scores of 59-47.
Branduinn Fullove scored 13 points in UCSB's win over Cal State Northridge on Thursday night. In the previous two games, wins over Cal Poly and Idaho, Fullove had scored a combined total of just ten points. Against the Matadors, he hit 4-of-7 shots and the seven shots he attempted in 27 minutes were two more than he had attempted in the two previous games, a total of 54 minutes. While he was not shooting the ball with much regularity, Fullove was setting-up his teammates in the wins over Cal Poly and Idaho. In the two games, he had a total of ten assists, leading the way in both. He had a season-high six assists in last Saturday's game against Cal Poly, one shy of his career-high. Overall, Fullove is now second on the team in scoring at 10.4 points per game. In the four games prior to the last three, 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 31-of-56 from the floor, 55.4%. Although he is just 7-of-25 from three-point territory, he has gone 7-of-20 over the last seven games, 35.0%. In the last seven games, he has made 24-of-36 shots from two-point range, 66.7%. Fullove enters the game at Pacific with 1,271 career points, a figure that ranks him seventh on UCSB's all-time list. He needs 81 to pass Scott Fisher and move into sixth-place all-time. His ten assists in the last three games have boosted Fullove's career total to 239, ninth all-time.
Casey At The Bat
A partial tear in a right quadriceps muscle sidelined Casey Cook for Saturday's win at Cal Poly, Thursday's win over Cal State Northridge and Saturday's game at Pacific. He was the fifth UCSB regular to miss a game because of injury, illness or suspension this season. Cook is averaging a team-leading 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 had seven points, a season-high four rebounds and two assists in Thursday's win over Cal State Northridge. Jones came back in last Saturday's win at Cal Poly. Sure, he had played six games prior to the game against the Mustangs, but in that game, 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. He missed all of his three-point attempts against CSUN, but since his return, he has made 9-of-19, 47.4%. In his last three games, Jones has averaged 10.0 points and made 9-of-21 shots overall, 43.0%, and 4-of-9 from three-point territory, 44.4%. 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 1,035 career points, 18th all-time. Jones career total of 111 three-point baskets ranks him seventh on the all-time list.
Sophomore guard Cecil Brown played 22 minutes on Thursday, going scoreless. He did have three assists, his high in a Big West game this season and his second-highest total all year. In last Saturday's win at Cal Poly, Brown 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. He again tweaked his ankle in the second half of last Saturday's game against the Mustangs, but he was healthy enough to play significant minutes against CSUN. 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 has 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 on January 5. 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. His single-game high for last season came in UCSB's win at Pacific on February 13 when he scored 16.
Pointing The Way
Senior point guard Jacoby Atako had just one assist in 18 minutes against Cal State Northridge on Thursday, but his contributions were far greater than that. Atako also had four points, three rebounds and a key steal late in the second half. Atako is now averaging 6.1 points per game and a team-leading 2.7 assists. He also paces the team in steals with 17. By making both of his field goal attempts on Thursday, Atako is now shooting 48.3% from the field, 13.0% better than he did last season. With his 11 three-pointers on the year, Atako has 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 games came in the first six games of the season. The four rebounds that Atako took at Cal Poly a week ago were the fifth time this season he had produced that many in a game. Finally, with career totals of 350 assists and 109 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 11 points, making 3-of-5 shots from three-point territory, and a career-high six assists in Thursday's win over Cal State Northridge. His performance against the Matadors came on the heels of arguably the best game of his UCSB career in last 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 addied 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 15 games this year, he has become one of the most valuable and dependable players on the team. He is averaging 8.2 points per game, and that includes a scoreless performance three games ago against Idaho. See has scored ten or more points six times this season, including four times in the last five games. With his three three-pointers against CSUN, he now has a team-high 29 on the year, more than twice as many as the next closest Gaucho. See has had two or more three-pointers eight times in 15 games, three or more six 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 27-for-53, 50.9%. In fact, since going 3-of-13 overall in the first two games, he has made 40-of-77, 51.9%. Finally, See now ranks second on the team in assists with 34, an average of 2.2 per game. In the last ten games, he has dished out 31 assists, 3.1 per game and he has had four or more five times.
Cam I Am
Sophomore Cameron Goettsche had his streak of double-figure scoring efforts snapped at four games in a row when he tallied five points on 2-of-5 shooting in 26 minutes against Cal State Northridge. Goettsche started his second consecutive game in place of the injured Casey Cook. In last Saturday's win at Cal Poly, Goettsche played a career-high 30 minutes, scoring 15 points and grabbing six rebounds. He is now scoring 8.2 points per game overall and 9.8 per game in Big West play, second on the team. He has scored in double-figures five times this year, including four of the last five games. The 15 points that Goettsche scored in the win over Cal Poly was just two short of his career-high of 17, set on December 13 against San Diego. Also in the last five games, Goettsche has made 19-of-32 shots from the field, 59.4%. On the year, he is now making 47.8% 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 33-of-59, 55.9%. Goettsche is also tied for second on the team at 5.3 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 22-of-26, 84.6%.
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 20 minutes in Thursday's win over Cal State Northridge and he tied his season-high with ten points, making all four of his field goal attempts. He also had five rebounds and a season-high two steals In the win at Cal Poly he was instrumental in shutting-down Big West leading scorer Varnie Dennis, limiting him to ten points. In fact, he held a foul-plagued Dennis without a point until five minutes into the second half and to just ten in the game. On the year, Whitehead is the only Gaucho regular who has more rebounds than points, 80-65. His 5.3 rebounds per game is tied for second on the team. He has had at least three rebounds in all 15 games, the only UCSB player who can make that claim, and he has had five or more ten times.
Senior forward Bray Skultety had four points and two rebounds in Thursday's win over Cal State Northridge and now, for the first time in his career, he has more points (57) than rebounds (56). Speaking of rebounds, 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 3.7 rebounds per game in just 12.5 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 15.0 rebounds per 40 minutes of play is easily the best on the team. Last Saturday at Cal Poly, Skultety played just 13 minutes before fouling out in the win, but before he fouled out, Skultety made 3-of-4 shots from the field for seven points, and had a game-high and season-high nine rebounds. In the last seven games, Skultety has collected 39 rebounds in just 109 minutes. In the six Big West games, not only has he collected 32 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 5.7 per game. Skultety is shooting 60.5% overall and since missing his first three shots this year, he has made 23-of-35, 65.7%.