UCSB Looks To End First Half of Big West Schedule on a Positive Note, Hosts Cal State Fullerton on Saturday

UCSB Looks To End First Half of Big West Schedule on a Positive Note, Hosts Cal State Fullerton on Saturday

Jan. 30, 2004

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The Schedule
Game No. 18
Saturday, January 31, 2004 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Cal State Fullerton Titans
at UCSB's Thunderdome (6,000)
Radio: KTLK 1340 AM

Game No. 19
Thursday, February 5, 2004 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at University of Idaho Vandals
at Idaho's Cowan Spectrum (10,000)
Radio: KTLK 1340 AM

Gaucho Update
UC Santa Barbara enters Saturday's game against Cal State Fullerton with an overall record of 11-6 and a Big West record of 5-3. The Gauchos won a 66-52 home decision over UC Riverside on Thursday night. The win over the Highlanders was UCSB's fourth in the last five games and its third in a row at home.

Fullove & Gauchos Rebound In Win Over UC Riverside
Senior guard Branduinn Fullove and the Gauchos each rebounded in the team's win over UC Riverside on Thursday night. Fullove rebounded figuratively and UCSB rebounded literally. Fullove, who scored just one point in the Gauchos' loss at Pacific last Saturday, posted game-highs of 19 points and five assists. He also had three rebounds, two steals and no turnovers in his 24 minutes of action. As a team, UCSB had a season-high rebounding margin as it outrebounded the Highlanders, 45-19. Senior forwards Bray Skultety and Bryan Whitehead each had nine rebounds, while sophomore forward Cameron Goettsche had ten points and seven boards. UCSB jumped out to an 11-0 lead in the game, but UCR went on a 9-0 run of its own to cut the lead to 11-9. The Gauchos led by three points at half and after the Highlanders scored the first point of the second half to make it 29-27, UCSB went on a 17-5 run. The game never got closer than 12 points after that and, in fact, the Gauchos led by as many as 20 points late in the second half at 66-46.

Possible Starters - Notes
G - Jacoby Atako - He has made 13 three-pointers this year after hitting 11 last season.
G - Nick Jones - Went scoreless for the first time this season on Thursday.
G - Branduinn Fullove - Has 1,291 points and needs nine to become seventh Gaucho over 1,300.
F - Cameron Goettsche - Has scored in double-figures in five of the last seven games.
F - Bryan Whitehead - Recorded a season-high nine rebounds vs. UC Riverside.

Possible Reserves - Notes
G - Cecil Brown - Has scored in double-figures six times and Gauchos have won all six.
G - Josh Davis - Averaging just 2.0 points per game in Big West play.
G - Joe See - Has made 11-of-17 from the field over the last four games, 64.7%.
G - Chrismen Oliver - Has averaged 5.0 points per game in the last two.
F - Bray Skultety - Had nine rebounds in just 16 minutes against UC Riverside.
F - Casey Cook - Played 12 minutes and scored four points in his return from injury Thursday.
F - Glenn Turner - Has played 14 minutes in the last two games.
F - Derek Wheeler - Has yet to play in a game this season.
F - David Kennedy - Has played in three of the last four games.

Cook Returns After Missing Three Games
Junior forward Casey Cook returned to the lineup in Thursday night's win over UC Riverside. Cook, who suffered a partially torn right quadriceps muscle in warm-ups prior to a January 8 game against Utah State, missed the three games with the injury. Interestingly, Cook played in the Utah State game and then in the next game, a win over Idaho, before the injury was diagnosed. He returned to practice on Monday of this week and when things went well, his status was upgraded from doubtful to probable. He is expected to play against Cal State Fullerton.

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 91-73 overall record and a 60-30 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 280-173 at four-year schools.

The Gauchos And Titans
UCSB and Cal State Fullerton have played 52 times in a series that dates back to 1977. The Gauchos lead the all-time series with a record of 29-23. In 2002-03, the teams split a pair of games with each team winning on the other teams floor. The Titans posted a come-from-behind 57-55 overtime win over the Gauchos in Santa Barbara and UCSB turned the tables in Fullerton, winning a 63-60 decision.

UCSB At Home
With its win over UC Riverside on Thursday, UCSB is now 6-1 at home this year. The Gauchos' lone defeat came at the hands of Utah State on January 8. In addition to UC Riverside, UCSB has defeated Cal State Northridge, Idaho, 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 28-5 at home over the last 33 games.

On Balance
In 2002-03, UCSB had three players who averaged 12.4 points per game or more. This season, the Gauchos' leading scorers, senior guard Branduinn Fullove and junior forward Casey Cook, are averaging just 10.3 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 averaging in double-figures, the Gauchos have six averaging 7.5 points per game or more and two others who are averaging 4.9 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 19 points. When Nick Jones scored 14 points in last Saturday's loss at Pacific, he became the seventh different player to lead the Gauchos in scoring 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 and all nine 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
UCSB continues to be an outstanding rebounding team this season. After being outrebounded at Pacific last Saturday (31-27), the Gauchos returned to the positive side of the rebounding ledger on Thursday night against UC Riverside. UCSB did more than return to the positive side of the ledger, it demolished the Highlanders on the boards, 45-19. The 26-rebound margin was a season-high for the Gauchos, four better than the 22-rebound gap they produced on January 17 against Cal Poly. In all this season, Santa Barbara has outrebounded 13 of 17 opponents, six by ten or more boards. Overall UCSB's rebounding margin is +6.5 per game. In eight league contests, the Gaucho margin is an even more impressive +9.9 per game. Finally, despite being outrebounded by Pacific, UCSB has outrebounded its last four opponents by an average margin of 13.5 rebounds per game.

Defending Their Honor
Rebounding was not the only area in which the Gauchos needed to turn things around following last Saturday's loss at Pacific. In that game, UCSB allowed the Tigers to shoot a glistening 58.1% from the field, the highest mark my a Gaucho opponent this season. On Thursday, UCSB limited UC Riverside to 20-of-51 from the field, 39.2%. The 40.0% mark is a baromenter for the Gauchos. Santa Barbara has now held eight opponents below the 40.0% plateau on the season and in those games the team is a perfect 8-0. The Gauchos have held each of the last three home opponents and five of seven home opponents overall below the 40.0% barrier.

Block Party
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 33 in 17 games, an average of 1.9 per game. Last year Bryan Whitehead led the team with 14 blocked shots and no other player had more than four. This season, through 17 games, nobody has more than six (Whitehead and Cameron Goettsche), but three players have five or more.

Please Approach The Bench
In the last seven games, five wins and two defeats, UCSB's bench has emerged as a key factor. On Thursday night, the Gaucho bench scored 23 of the team's 66 points. In the last seven games, the bench has combined to notch 211 of the team's 469 total points, 45.0%. The highest single scoring effort by the Santa Barbara bench this season was on January 5 when it scored 46 of the team's 84 points in a win at UC Irvine.

Turning Over A New Leaf
Although not worthy of a national holiday, UCSB committed "just" 15 turnovers in Thursday's win over UC Riverside. Granted, 15 turnovers is still 15 more than any coach worth his or her salt is happy with, but it was the fewest that the Gauchos have had in the last four games. In three games prior to the win over the Highlanders, UCSB averaged 18.0 turnovers per game. In fact, in last Saturday's loss at Pacific, Santa Barbara had 19 turnovers, leading to 31 Tiger points. Perhaps even more importantly than the 15 overall turnovers was the fact that the Gauchos had just six in the second half, a significant improvement considering they had piled up a total of 41 in the four previous halves. On the year, UCSB is still averaging 15.4 turnovers per outing.

Fulloving It
Senior guard Branduinn Fullove bounced back from his worst game of the season with one of his best in the win over UC Riverside. Fullove scored 19 points, tying his second highest total of the year, passed off for a game-high five assists, grabbed three rebounds and had a pair of steals. In addition, for the first time this season, he did not have a turnover. With his 19-point performance, Fullove has pulled into a tie with Casey Cook for the team-lead in scoring average at 10.3 points per game. Last Saturday, Fullove scored just one point, the lowest total of his Gaucho career in a game in which he played more than one minute. Not only did he have 19 points, but he also tied his season-highs with 12 field goal attempts and six free throw attempts. And, after missing all five of his three-point attempts in two games prior to Thursday, Fullove hit both of his attempts from beyond the arc against the Highlanders. While he is averaging 10.3 points per game overall, he has averaged 12.4 per game in the last nine. Also, while Fullove is shooting 44.4% overall and 30.0% from three-point range, in the last nine he is shooting 51.4% overall and 36.0% from three-point territory. He scored a season-high 23 points on December 21 against Alabama State, the highest total by any Gaucho this year. Fullove enters the game against Cal State Fullerton with 1,291 career points, a figure that ranks him seventh on UCSB's all-time list. He needs 61 to pass Scott Fisher and move into sixth-place all-time. His 17 assists in the last five games have boosted Fullove's career total to 256, ninth all-time. With his two three-point baskets, Fullove now has 148 and needs three to move into fifth-place all-time.

What's Cooking?
After missing three full games, junior forward Casey Cook played 12 minutes on Thursday night, scoring four points and grabbing two rebounds. On January 8, in warm-ups before a game against Utah State, Cook partially tore a right quadriceps muscle. He played in the game against the Aggies and then again two nights later against Idaho, but the injury was diagnosed the following Monday and he was sidelined for games against Cal Poly, Cal State Northridge and Pacific. Cook's scoring average has dropped to 10.3 points per game, but he remains in a tie with Branduinn Fullove for the team-lead in scoring average. When he did sit-out three games due to injury, Cook became the fifth UCSB regular to miss a game because of injury, illness or suspension. In addition to his 10.3 points per game, Cook is also averaging 5.2 reobunds per outing, third on the team. 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. 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, in his last two appearances, Cook has made 7-of-9 shots, 77.8%.

Keeping Up With Jones
Senior guard Nick Jones traded places with Branduinn Fullove on Thursday. A week ago, in the loss to Pacific, Jones led the Gauchos with 14 points and Fullove had just one. On Thursday against UC Riverside, Fullove led the way with 19 and Jones, for the first time this season, was scoreless. In fact, he attempted just two shots, had one rebound and a turnover in 15 minutes of action. In two of his three previous games, he had scored in double-figures. On the season, Jones is now averaging 8.0 points per game, but he has yet to show any consistency. Since returning from an eight-game suspension on December 21, he has scored in double-figures three times but he has yet to do so in back-to-back games. Jones has also had his troubles shooting the ball in the last three games, going 7-of-20 overall (35.0%) and 0-for-6 from three-point territory. Jones' 0-for-6 run from behind the arc comes on the heels of his best three-point shooting game of the season. On January 17 at Cal Poly, he made 3-of-4 three-point attempts. 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 1,049 career points, 18th all-time. He needs just two more points to move into 17th all-time. Jones' career total of 111 three-point baskets ranks him seventh on the all-time list.

Help Cecil! Help!
Sophomore guard Cecil Brown had five points and two rebounds in 20 minutes of action on Thursday. Brown has now played 20 or more minutes in three straight games, his first such streak since the return of Branduinn Fullove (injury) and Nick Jones (suspension). Brown remains third on the team in scoring at 8.1 points per game. Two weeks ago, in a 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. Since going from the starting lineup to the bench after the return of 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. Finally, while the Gauchos have had some troubles holding on to the basketball, Brown has just 16 turnovers in 371 minutes this season, one every 23.2 minutes of action. He has had no turnovers in the last two games, a span of 45 minutes.

Pointing The Way
Senior point guard Jacoby Atako had just one assist in each of the last four games, but he still leads the team with a total of 42 and an average of 2.5 per game. Atako played 17 minutes on Thursday and in addition to his one assist, he did score eight points for the second game in a row, and he had a pair of steals. Also, for the second game in a row, he made a three-point basket giving him 13 on the year, two more than he had all of last season. Atako is now shooting 49.3% overall and 43.3% form three-point range, a signifcant improvement over his career numbers of 35.9% and 27.6% respectively. He also paces the team in steals with 21. Atako scored a career-high 23 points against Southeast Missouri State on November 30 and he has been in double-figures three times this year, all during the first six games of the season. Finally, with career totals of 352 assists he ranks seventh all-time and with his two steals on Thursday, Atako now has 113 in his career, a figure that ties him with Paul Johnson for sixth all-time. He nees four more to move into third all-time.

Sophomore guard Joe See, a transfer from Oregon State, had five points and four rebounds in the win over UC Riverside. He made both of his field goal attempts, including his only three-point attempt of the game. On the other side of the coin, See had a season-high five turnovers in the win. On the year, See ranks sixth on the team in scoring at 7.5 points per game. While he was scoreless a week ago at Pacific, he has scored in double-figures six times, including a season-high 15 on three occasions. See easily leads the team in three-point baskets with 30, excactly double the next closest Gaucho (Cecil Brown with 15). He is making 45.5% of his three-point attempts, but since opening the year by going 2-for-11, he has made 28-of-55, 50.9%. See has been even more deadly from inside the three-point arc, making 15-of-27 two-pointers on the year, 55.6%. Although he had just one assist against UCR, See is third on the team at 2.0 assists per game. Since having a total of three assists in the first four games, he has had 32 in the last 14, 2.5 per game. Finally, See is the only player among UCSB's top nine scorers who has yet to start a game.

Cam I Am
Sophomore Cameron Goettsche had ten points, seven rebounds, one assist and a season-high three steals in Thursday's win over UC Riverside. Goettsche is now averaging 8.1 points and a team-high 5.4 rebounds per game. He is second on the team in scoring in Big West games, 9.1 per game. He has scored ten or more points six times in 17 games this season, including five times in the last seven games. He scored a career-high 17 on December 13 against San Diego and he had a Big West high of 15 on January 17 at Cal Poly. Goettsche is shooting 48.5% overall, but since starting the year by going 10-for-31 through the first four games, he has hit 39-of-70, 55.7%. His seven rebounds on Thursday was the highest total recorded by Goettsche since he had eight in the Big West opener at Long Beach State on January 3. His one double-figure rebounding performance came on December 10 against Long Beach State. Goettsche played 28 minutes against UC Riverside and he has now played 20 or more in four straight, the first such streak of his career.

The Life Of Bryan
Senior forward Bryan Whitehead had a season-low one rebound a week ago at Pacific. It marked the first time this season in which Whitehead had fewer than three rebounds in a game. He responded on Thursday by taking a season-high nine rebounds in 21 minutes. Whitehead is now averaging 5.3 rebounds per game, second on the team. Included among his nine rebounds was a season-high four offensive rebounds. Whitehead is one of two UCSB regulars, Bray Skultety is the other, to have more rebounds (90) than points (74). He has had five or more rebounds 11 times in 17 games and he has scored a season-high of ten points twice, against Westmont and Cal State Northridge.

Chairman Of The Boards
Senior forward Bray Skultety is rebounding quite nicely from a torn ACL that sidelined him all of last season. Skultety tied his season-high with nine rebounds in Thursday's win over UC Riverside. The nine rebounds was one short of his career-high and it was the second time he had taken nine rebounds in the last four games. He is now averaging a season-high 4.1 rebounds per game. In the last nine games, Skultety is averaging 5.8 rebounds per game. In the last nine, he has had 52 rebounds in a total of 134 minutes, an average of 15.5 per 40 minutes played. Skultety is averaging 3.8 points per game and shooting 56.5% overall. Since missing his first three shots the year, he has made 26-of-43, 60.5%.

Just Joshing
Sophomore guard Josh Davis scored two points, had three rebounds and two assists in Thursday's win over UC Riverside. The rebound and assist totals tied his highs in Big West games this season. Davis is now averaging 4.9 points per game overall, but in league play he is averaging just 2.0 per game.

Oliver's Twist
After scoring a total of one point in the first five Big West games, junior guard Chrismen Oliver has scored 13 in the last three, 4.3 per game. In fact, in the last two games, Oliver has scored ten points (5.0 per game) and he has played 23 total minutes, the exact total he had played in the seven previous games combined. Since starting the season by making just 4-of-15 shots from the field, Oliver has hit 9-of-19, 47.4%.

On The Horizon
Following the game against Cal State Fullerton, UCSB will hit the road for the lengthiest road trip of the league season. The Gauchos will play at Idaho at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 4. Santa Barbara will the travel to Logan, Utah, to take on Big West frontrunner Utah State in a 3:00 p.m. (PST) game on Saturday, February 6. The game between the Gauchos and Aggies will be broadcast on Fox Sports Net 2.