January 24, 2001

Men's Basketball Returns Home For Thursday Fox Sports Net Game Against UC Irvine, Then Cal State Fullerton On Saturday

Jan. 24, 2001

The Schedule
Game No. 16
Thursday, January 25, 2001 at 5:30 p.m.

UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. UC Irvine Anteaters
at UCSB's Thunderdome
Note: UCSB-UCI game will be televised live on Fox Sports Net 2.

Game No. 17
Saturday, January 27, 2001 at 7:00 p.m.

UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Cal State Fullerton Titans
at UCSB's Thunderdome

The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara enters its Saturday game against Idaho with an overall record of 5-9 and a Big West mark of 2-2. With their heartbreaking 76-75 loss to Long Beach State on Thursday night, the Gauchos have now lost two games in a row. UCSB had won three in a row prior to the back-to-back losses to Long Beach and UC Irvine. The three game streak included back-to-back wins over Boise State and Cal State Fullerton to open league action.

Schedule/Results
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 76, UCSB 75
Jan. 20 - *at Idaho 68, UCSB 67
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 Broadcast.com
In addition to KEYT radio, all UCSB basketball broadcasts can be accessed on the internet at either Broadcast.com or at UCSB's official athletic website, www.UCSBgauchos.com.

UCSB On The Internet
The Official Athletic Site of UC Santa Barbara is www.UCSBgauchos.com. 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.

Gauchos Lose To Idaho In Yet Another Heartbreaker
UC Santa Barbara lost its third straight game on Saturday, a heartbreaking, see-saw battle at the University of Idaho, 68-67. The Gauchos led much of the game and they were ahead by as many as six points, but the Vandals fought back to take the lead late in the game. Still, when B.J. Ward scored on a reverse layin with 11 seconds left, UCSB had a 67-66 lead. Idaho responded though with Jerald Jenkins hitting a short jumper from the side of the key with four seconds to go, giving the Vandals the one-point victory.

Ndiaye Will Redshirt Season
Adama Ndiaye, who was expected to be one of the top frontcourt players in the Big West this season, will redshirt, head coach Bob Williams announced this week. On November 16, Ndiaye fractured the ring finger on his left hand. On November 17, he had a pin placed in the finger.

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 34-37 overall record as head coach of the Gauchos. Including this year, his Big West record is 24-13 (.649). In his career, which includes stops at UC Davis and Menlo College, he now has a 223-137 record.

Probable Starters - Notes
G - Jacoby Atako - Has made just 2-of-18 shots (11.1%) in his last three games.
G - Branduinn Fullove - Has the best assist to turnover ratio on team at 1.5-to-1.0.
G - Nick Jones - Has scored in double-figures in six of the last seven games.
F - Mark Hull - Scored 18 at Idaho, his highest output since he had 21 vs. SDSU on Dec. 6.
F - Mike Vukovich - In his last ten games, he has made 61-of-97 from the floor, 62.9%.

Possible Reserves - Notes
G - B.J. Ward - Scored nine at Idaho, his highest output since he had 15 vs. Westmont.
G - LaRon Bryant - Status is still up in the air for this week's games.
F - Juliano Jordani - Has gone without a rebound in last two games, 27 minutes.
F - Casey Cook - Had seven points and seven rebounds in first meeting with Anteaters.
F - J.J. Todd - Has played in eight of the team's 15 games.
G - LaDonte King - Saw his only action of the season in win over LMU.

Margin Of Error
UCSB has had its fill of close games. Don't get us wrong, they'll take close games over blowout losses any day of the week, but still, this is getting a bit ridiculous. The Gauchos enter Thursday's game with back-to-back one-point defeats. On Thursday, they dropped a 76-75 thriller to visiting Long Beach State and two nights later, they lost a tear-jerking 68-67 game at Idaho. The most recent pair of narrow games are not the only ones that UCSB has experienced this season. The Gauchos have played two one-point games, one two-point game, three three-point games, one four-point game and two six-point games. Additionally, they have played three overtime games, one of which went three overtimes and none of which wound up with margins smaller than three.

The Opponents
UCSB gets a rematch with UC Irvine. While the Gauchos lead the all-time series by a 32-19 margin, the Anteaters have won the last two, including an 80-56 win at Irvine on January 13. UCSB won at Cal State Fullerton on January 11, 74-71. The win was the Gauchos' lone road victory of the season. Lifetime, UCSB leads the series 25-22.

They Aren't Free, They Are Costly
The term "free throws" is a misnomer. They are free because nobody is defending, but in the last two games, despite the absence of a defender, they were very costly for the Gauchos. In Thursday's one-point defeat to Long Beach, UCSB made only 14-of-25 shots from the line and their best free throw shooter, Branduinn Fullove, missed the biggest of the night, as the Gauchos lost by one, 76-75. While he missed the final of three free throws with no time on the clock, Fullove was not the main culprit. On the night he made 8-of-12, 66.7% and he did make the first two with everything on the line. Guards Jacoby Atako and B.J. Ward and forward Casey Cook, combined to go 3-for-9 from the dreaded stripe. Included among the misses were the front end of three one-and-ones. On Saturday at Idaho, the Gauchos improved to 69.2%, but they missed a few down the stretch and ultimately they had another one-point loss. During the current three-game losing streak, UCSB has gone 45-of-75 from the line, 60.0%. Prior to that, the Gauchos had won three games in succession and in that span, they made 65-of-85, 76.5%. On the season, Santa Barbara is now shooting 69.4% from the free throw line overall and only 67.4% in Big West games.

On The Other Hand...
After having a run of three out of four games in which they shot less than 40.0% from the field, the Gauchos have now made at least 40.8% of their shots in each of the last six games. On Saturday, they made 46.9% from the field and in five league games, they are now shooting a decent 47.1% from the floor. UCSB had its two best performances in back-to-back wins against Loyola Marymount and Boise State when they shot 52.5% and 54.9% respectively. They are now shooting 41.5% overall. UCSB's opponents are making 42.7% of their field goals.

Youth Is Served
Not only is youth served, the Gauchos are serving it in huge helpings. Through 15 games, UCSB is utilizing its underclassmen (freshmen and sophomores) at a tremendously high rate. Freshmen have recorded 1,304 of the team's 3,125 total minutes, 41.7%. Sophomores have played 891 minutes, 28.5%. Combined, the UCSB underclassmen have played 2,195 minutes, 70.2% of this season's available minutes. The Gauchos' only two seniors have played a total of 581 minutes, 18.6%.

Class War
Here is a breakdown of UCSB primary statistics and percentages by class:
Seniors
LaRon Bryant and Juliano Jordani
178 points - 17.3%
102 rebounds - 20.4%
19 assists - 9.2%
14 steals - 14.1%

Junior
Mike Vukovich
168 points - 16.4%
89 rebounds - 17.8%
10 assists - 4.9%
14 steals - 14.1%
22 blocks - 62.9%

Sophomores
Mark Hull and B.J. Ward
308 points - 29.9%
101 rebounds - 20.2%
70 assists - 34.0%
35 steals - 35.4%

Freshmen
Branduinn Fullove, Jacoby Atako, Nick Jones, Casey Cook and J.J. Todd
373 points - 36.3%
202 rebounds - 40.4%
107 assists - 51.9%
35 steals - 35.4%

Wanted: Some Pop Off The Bench
The UC Santa Barbara starters have done a pretty good job this season, particularly in Big West games. The bench, on the other hand, has had trouble cranking it up offensively. In five league games, the Gauchos starters have scored 305 of the team's 353 points, an average of 61.0 per game. The bench production, which has been hampered by the absence of three-point specialist LaRon Bryant, has scored 48 points in five games, an average of 9.6 points per game. In the five league games, the players coming off the bench have made 13-of-33 shots from the floor, 39.3%. In addition, since Bryant went on the shelf five games ago, not one player coming off the bench has scored in double-figures. In the five Big West games, the most points scored by the Gaucho bench was the 15 they scored at Idaho on Saturday. In fact, in that game, B.J. Ward tallied nine points, the most by a substitute since Bryant scored ten in a December 30 game against Loyola Marymount.

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 six straight games. With freshmen Branduinn Fullove, Jacoby Atako and Nick Jones in the starting lineup, the Gauchos have posted a 3-3 record.

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: 3-3

The Hull Truth, Nothing But
Sophomore Mark Hull is leading the Gauchos in scoring at 14.7 points per game. On Saturday, he scored 18 points, 14 of which were scored in the first half. In fact, in the last three games, Hull has scored a total of 49 points, an average of 16.3 per game, with a total of 44 of those points coming in the first half. That is the reversal of a trend that was going on at the beginning of the season which saw the 6-foot-7 native of Glendale score a large percentage of his points in the second halves of games. Either way, Hull has now scored in double-figures in five straight games and nine of the last ten. On the year, he has tallied 13 or more in 12 of 15 games. Hull has made 16-of-30 (53.3%) shots in the last three games and seems to snap out of a shooting slump that had seen him shoot below 50.0% in each of the eight games prior to the last three. In fact, in the six games prior to his current there game streak, he made only 23-of-67 shots from the field overall, 34.3%. In the last two games, Hull also seems to have regained his touch from three-point range by making 5-of-6 from that distance, an outstanding 83.3%. In six games prior to the Long Beach contest, Hull made only 5-of-27 shots from beyond the three-point arc, 18.5%. Ironically, his 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 games, going for 21 at BYU and 21 against San Diego State in addition to his 23 at UCLA. On the year, Hull is making 77.8% of his free throws, but over the last seven games he has dropped in 27-of-33, 81.8%. Lastly, Hull is easily the Gauchos' workhorse, having played 521 minutes, 151 more than the next closest player (B.J. Ward has played 370). He has played at least 29 minutes in every game this year, 30 or more 14 times (including the last eight in a row) and 35 or more eight times. Hull played a career-high 46 minutes in the triple-overtime win over San Diego State on December 6.

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, tah-dah, things turned around. Last Thursday against Long Beach State, Vukovich had another outstanding game, tying his career-high with 20 points and pulling down 11 rebounds. He followed that up with by scoring 12 points and grabbing six rebounds before fouling out at Idaho on Saturday. In the last ten games, Vukovich has scored 141 points (14.1 per game), grabbed 69 rebounds (6.9 per game), made 61-of-97 shots from the field (62.9%), and 19-of-28 shots from the free throw line (67.9%). 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. With his 20 vs. LBSU and his 12 at Idaho, he has now been in double-figures in nine of the last ten games. He also had 20 in a win over Boise State on January 4. With his recent run, Vukovich now has 168 points in 348 minutes over 15 games this year, an average of 11.2 per game. Entering the season, he had career totals of 158 points in 453 minutes over 49 games. Vukovich has also taken over the team-lead in rebounding at 5.9 per game, he is among the league-leaders in blocked shots with 22 in 15 games (1.5 per game) and his 14 steals on the year are nine more than he had in his career entering the season.

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 the game against UC Irvine tied for third on the team in overall scoring at 10.8 points per game, but over the last five games, all Big West games, he has averaged 13.8 points per game. He has also shown that he is quickly becoming one of the team's best all-around players. In addition to his 10.8 points per game, Fullove is averaging 5.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. In a January 11 win over Cal State Fullerton, he scored a career-high 22 points. Just over two weeks ago, against Boise State, he scored 16 points and passed off for a career-high seven assists. In the last six games, he has averaged 13.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. On the year, Fullove leads the team in free throw percentage at 82.8%. He also has the best assist-to-turnover ratio on the team at 1.8-to-1.0. Fullove has scored in double-figures six times in his 12 games and in the last eight games, he has averaged 5.5 rebounds per game. Although he missed three full games (UCLA, BYU and USF) with a sprained ankle, he has played 366 minutes, the third highest total on the team. His average of 30.5 minutes per game ranks him second to Hull.

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 six games, he has averaged 30.2 minutes and played at least 27 in each. Last Thursday against Long Beach State, he was questionable until game-time because of a left ankle sprain that he suffered the shootaround earlier in the day. Not only did he play, but he played an outstanding 30 minutes, finishing with 15 points and tying his career-high with seven rebounds. On Saturday at Idaho, Jones, still bothered by the gimpy ankle, played 34 minutes and tallied 14 points and had six rebounds. In addition, in the first eight games he scored 32 points in 113 minutes, averaging exactly 4.0 points per game. In the last seven games, he has played 215 minutes and scored 97 points, averaging 13.9 per game, scoring in double-figures six times. 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. In his six starting assignments, Jones has averaged 14.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. In those six games he made 34-of-64 shots from the field (53.1%) and 14-of-17 from the free throw line (82.4%).

Ward Of The Court
Sophomore point guard B.J. Ward has come off the bench in each of the last eight games and he seems to have had some trouble adjusting to the new role. On Saturday at Idaho, however, he bounced back with his best performance in quite some time. Ward made his only field goal attempt, a layup with 11 seconds remaining to give UCSB a 67-66 lead. He was also aggressive enough to go to the free throw line eight times in only 21 minutes, and he made seven to those to finish with nine points, his highest output since he tallied a career-high 15 on December 2 against Westmont. In addition, Ward had five rebounds, the most he has had since he had six at St. Mary's on December 22, and he had a pair of steals. On the year, Ward is now averaging 5.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and team-highs of 3.3 assists and 1.4 steals per game. Finally, in his last six games, Ward has had 16 assists and only eight turnovers, a 2-to-1 ratio.

Atako Battles Shooting Woes
Freshman Jacoby Atako, the starting point guard for the last eight games, has had a rollercoaster ride this season. He is averaging 4.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.0 rebounds per game. Offensively, he has struggled in a big way over the last few games. In fact, in the last three games, Atako has scored a total of seven points (2.3 per game) and made only 2-of-18 shots from the field (11.1%) and 3-of-7 from the free throw line (42.9%). Finally, since making a three-pointer in the first half of his first starting assignment at St. Mary's, Atako has missed his last nine.

Men Of Steal
UCSB has produced 99 steals on the season, an average of 6.6 per game. The Gauchos have six players who have come up with at least ten steals. Sophomore B.J. Ward leads the way with 21 steals while Mark Hull has 15 and Mike Vukovich has 14. Jacoby Atako, Nick Jones and LaRon Bryant each have 11. At their current pace of 6.6 steals per game, UCSB would finish with approximately 188 steals for the season, a figure that would rank among the top-ten all-time.

Quick Takes
* Last season, in 28 games, the Gauchos had four players score in double-figures a total of six times. After having Mike Vukovich, Mark Hull, Nick Jones and Branduinn Fullove each score in double-figures on Thursday against Long Beach, UCSB has already accomplished the feat five times this season. In fact, the same foursome has done the deed in three of the last five games.

* The Gauchos have committed more fouls than their opponents only four times in 15 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 in the last three games, making a total of only 45-of-75, 60.0%. On January 11 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 13.6 points per game or more in Big West games, two of whom are freshmen and one who is a sophomore.

* In 15 games this season, UCSB has had 11 personal foul disqualifications. Mike Vukovich leads the way with six, 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.

* A freshman (Branduinn Fullove or Jacoby Atako) has either led or tied for the team lead in assists in ten straight games and in 13 of the last 14 contests.

* The last time the Gauchos met UC Irvine, they produced their worst rebounding effort of the season. In that game, UCSB was outrebounded 41-24, a rebound deficit of 17. On the season, the Gauchos are now being outrebounded by an average margin of 0.6 per game overall. In Big West games, they are actually outrebounding their opponents by 0.8 rebounds per game.

* UCSB has three players averaging 30.0 minutes or more per game in Big West play. Mark Hull leads the way at 33.6 per game, Branduinn Fullove is at 33.2 per game and Nick Jones is at 31.4 per contest. Jacoby Atako is close at 27.2 per game.