Men's Basketball Travels To Long Beach State & UC Irvine For Final Trip Of Regular Season

Men's Basketball Travels To Long Beach State & UC Irvine For Final Trip Of Regular Season

Feb. 20, 2002

The Schedule
Game No. 24
Thursday, February 21, 2002 at 7:30 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Long Beach State 49ers
at LBSU's Pyramid

Game No. 25
Saturday, February 23, 2002 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at UC Irvine Anteaters
at UCI's Bren Center

The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara enters its final road trip of the regular season with an overall record of 15-8 and a Big West mark of 9-5. The Gauchos defeated Central Coast rival Cal Poly on Saturday night by a score of 69-66. The win gives UCSB a three-game winning streak as it hits the road for the final time during the regular season. The victory also moved the Gauchos past the Mustangs and into third place all alone in the Big West. UCSB and Cal Poly were tied for third entering Saturday's contest.

UCSB Goes Seven-Up For First Time This Late Since 1992
When the Gauchos put the finishing touches on their third straight win Saturday, they improved to 15-8 overall on the season. The 15-8 record marks the first time UCSB has been seven games over the .500 mark since the 1992-93 season when whey opened the year with an 8-1 mark. This is the first time the Gauchos have been seven over the break-even mark this late in a season since the 1991-92 campaign when they finished the year at 20-9. UCSB had been six games over .500 several times this season, but they had never hit the seven-up point.

Three-Game Streak Is Second Longest Of Season
UCSB has put together a three-game winning streak with home victories over Pacific, Cal State Northridge and Cal Poly. The Gauchos had a four-game streak in late-December, their longest streak of the year. The three-game streak comes on the heels of back-to-back losses at Utah State and Idaho, the only two-game losing streak that UCSB has suffered through this season.

Fullove & Jones Lead Comeback Win Over Cal Poly
Sophomore guards Branduinn Fullove and Nick Jones led UCSB to its third straight win on Saturday, a come-from-behind 69-66 thriller over Cal Poly at the Thunderdome. Fullove made 11-for-14 shots overall, including 5-of-7 from three-point range, and scored a career-high 29 points, while Jones added 15 points on 5-of-12 shooting overall and 3-of-4 from three-point territory. In addition, Jones took a critical charge on the defensive end with six seconds left and the Gauchos up by one to seal the win. Trailing 61-52 with just over five minutes remaining in the game, UCSB closed the game on a 17-5 run to post the win. Junior forward Mark Hull, who went just 1-for-11 from the field in the game, was fouled going in for a lay-up with 13 seconds left in the game and the Gauchos down by one. Hull, who finished with eight points, hit both free throws to give UCSB a one-point lead. After Jones took the charge on the other end, he missed the front end of a one-and-one. Cal Poly rebounded and called timeout. The Mustangs threw a length-of-the-court pass that Gaucho guard Jacoby Atako chased down in the corner. He was fouled with one second left and hit both free throws to give UCSB its final three-point advantage.

What About Bob?
Bob Williams is in his fourth season as head coach at UCSB. The Gauchos enter this week's games with a 15-8 overall record. Last year Williams guided the Gauchos to a 13-15 overall record and a solid 9-7 mark in Big West play. In his first three-plus seasons, Williams has led the team to a 57-50 record. The 57 victories are the most by any UCSB coach over that period of time. In addition, the 42 wins in the first three campaigns were 12 more than the team had in the three seasons prior to his arrival. In three years-plus under Williams' guidance, UCSB has logged a 40-22 record in Big West games, a winning percentage of .645, and among the top three in league over that span. In his first season, Williams guided UCSB to the Big West's Western Division championship, a 15-13 overall record and a 12-4 mark in league. After an 0-8 start that first year, the Gauchos went 15-5. He was named Big West Coach of the Year in 1999. Since that 0-8 start in 1998-99, Williams' Gauchos have gone 57-42. Two years ago, they went 14-14 overall, and 10-6 in league. In his career at four-year schools, which includes stops at UC Davis and Menlo College, he now has a 244-150 (.619) record.

Possible Starters - Notes
G - Jacoby Atako - Has had at least two assists in eight straight games and 15 of the last 16.
G - Nick Jones - Has averaged 12.5 points and 4.7 rebounds since becoming a starter eight games ago.
G - Branduinn Fullove - Scored a career-high 29 points in win over Cal Poly.
F - Mark Hull - Has been without a three-point basket in three of the last four games.
F - Adama Ndiaye - Has been in single-digits in four straight, but had season-high four blocks vs. Cal Poly.

Probable Reserves - Notes
F - Mike Vukovich - Did not play in win over Cal Poly and played just nine minutes in previous two.
F - Bryan Whitehead - Has scored just a total of three points in last six games.
G - B.J. Ward - In his last 17 games, he has played 23 or more minutes twice, both against Cal Poly.
F - Casey Cook - Thumb injury on shooting hand will sideline him indefinitely.
F - Bray Skultety - Has made 15 of his last 17 shots over an 12 game span, 88.2%.
G - Chrismen Oliver - Played a season-high seven minutes, with four points and two assists vs. Detroit.
G - Chris Newell - Played one minute at USF, his first career action.
F - J.J. Todd - Played a season-high three minutes in win over Long Beach State.

Casey Cook Remains Sidelined Indefinitely
Sophomore forward Casey Cook remains sidelined indefinitely with ligament damage in his right thumb. Cook originally suffered the ligament damage during the preseason. He sat out the team's two exhibition games, but played in the first six games of the season. Prior to UCSB's December 8 win over Pepperdine, Cook re-injured the thumb and did not play in the victory. Doctor's have determined that the thumb has not sufficiently improved and that Cook should not take part in practice or games for an indefinite period of time. If, as expected, he misses this week's games, Cook will have missed 19 successive contests. Obviously, the prospects of him returning this year and extremely slim.

Getting Defensive
UCSB entered Saturday's game against Cal Poly as the NCAA leader in field goal percentage defense. After hitting just 31.8% of their shots in the first half, the Mustangs made 52.4% in the second half to finish at 41.9% for the game. Gaucho opponents are now making 36.9% of their shots. We will know late Tuesday where that ranks nationally, but it probably still ranks among the top three. In the three games prior to Saturday, two wins and a loss, Gaucho opponents combined to make just 48-of-149 shots, 32.2%. On February 7, UCSB limited Idaho to 22.2% shooting from the field, the lowest mark by an opponent this season. Overall UCSB is easily leading the Big West in field goal percentage defense. UCSB has held two of its last six opponents to below the 30.0% plateau. In addition to Idaho, the Gauchos held Long Beach State to 27.1% shooting on January 26. UCSB has limited 14 of 23 opponents to less than 40.0% shooting and six opponents (Idaho, Long Beach State, Cal State Northridge, Pepperdine, USF and Westmont) have shot below the 30.0% mark. UCSB has allowed opponents to shoot better than 50.0% just one time this season. UC Irvine made a season-high 53.7% and scored a season-high 82 points in a January 24 game against the Gauchos. UCSB has allowed opponents to make 50.0% or better in just six halves this season. In 46 halves this year, UCSB has held the opposition to below 20.0% two times, below 30.0% 13 times, below 40.0% 28 times, below 45.0% 34 times and below 50.0% 40 times.

Points Reflect Percentage
You don't need a rocket scientist to figure out that if you hold a team to a low shooting percentage then you will probably hold them to a low scoring average as well. UCSB's opponents are scoring an average of 59.3 points per game, a figure that, as of last week, ranked sixth in the nation. On Saturday, Cal Poly hit for 66 points. UCSB has held its opponents fewer than 60 points on 13 occasions this season and the Mustangs 66-point performance snapped a streak of three straight such games. In the last six games, UCSB's opponents are averaging just 56.0 points per game, and that includes a 72-point game by Utah State and Cal Poly's 66. Only five of 23 opponents have scored more than 70 points this season and only one, UC Irvine, eclipsed the 80 point barrier. Three teams, San Francisco, Westmont and Idaho, scored fewer than 50 points. Finally, the 40 points scored by Idaho were the fewest scored by a UCSB opponent since Pacific scored 38 points during the 1998-99 season. The 12 points that the Vandals scored in the first half of the game on February 2 equaled the fewest points ever scored by a Gaucho opponent in a half. The fewest point ever averaged by UCSB opponents was in 1950-51 when they averaged just 51.5 points per game. The current 59.3 per game mark would rank second all-time.

Men Of Steal
The Gaucho defensive effort has come in many forms this season. Not only are they limiting their opponents to 36.9% shooting and 59.3 points per game, but they have produced five more steals in eight straight games. UCSB, which is 12-3 when they come up with five or more steals in a game, is led by Nick Jones who has 23 steals on the year. Mark Hull and Jacoby Atako have come up with 22 steals apiece. With his 23 steals, in fact, Jones has already surpassed his 2000-01 total of 17.

On The Rebound
UCSB continues to consistently outrebounded its opponents. On Saturday, the Gauchos won the battle of the boards by a 31-28 over Cal Poly. Santa Barbara is outrebounding its opponents this season by an average of 4.9 per game. The Gauchos have outrebounded 17 opponents this season and they have been outrebounded just four times. On two occasions this season, once each against Long Beach State and Idaho, UCSB outrebounded its opponent by a season-high 20 boards. UCSB has posted double-figure rebound margins in five games this season. The worst rebounding deficit for Santa Barbara was six, at Idaho on February 2. The Gauchos now have five players averaging at least four rebounds per game. Adama Ndiaye (7.9 rpg), Mark Hull (5.5 rpg), Bray Skultety (4.4 rpg), Branduinn Fullove (4.2 rpg) and Jones (4.0 rpg) are each over the 4.0 mark.

The Gauchos On The Road
UCSB enters Thursday's game at Long Beach State with a true road record of 5-6 and a mark of 6-6 overall in games away from the Thunderdome. The Gauchos will also enter the game at Long Beach with a two-game road losing streak. UCSB was swept in its last road trip, at Utah State and Idaho. In Big West road games this season, UCSB is a solid 4-3. The four wins have come at Cal Poly, Cal State Northridge, Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside. The Gauchos other road loss in league was at Pacific.

UCSB And The Opponents
UCSB and Long Beach State have met 87 times in a series that dates back to 1952. While, according to our records, the 49ers hold a 44-43 edge, the Gauchos have won the last two games, including an 82-50 win in Santa Barbara on January 26. The 32-point margin was the biggest in the history of the series. UCSB also won the last game played between the schools in Long Beach, defeating the 49ers 78-71 at the Pyramid in 2001. The UCSB-UC Irvine series dates back to 1968 and the Gauchos have won 32 of the 53 games. The Anteaters, however, have won the last four. Last season UCI swept the Gauchos and they won the first match-up this season, an 81-70 decision on January 24 in Santa Barbara.

Win Big, Lose Small
Of UCSB's eight losses this season, just two have come by double-digit margins. The Gauchos dropped 11-point games to USC and UC Irvine, every other loss has been under ten points. Several of the 13 wins, on the other hand, have come by hefty margins. The Gauchos have recorded nine wins of ten or more points, five of 15 or more points, four of 20 or more points and one of 30 or more points. UCSB produced a season-best 32-point victory over Long Beach State on January 26. The 32 points are more than the combined total margin of the Gauchos' last six losses. The last six losses have come by a total of 31 points. Last season, UCSB had just three wins by ten or more points.

Balancing Act
With Nick Jones' recent surge in scoring, he has averaged 12.5 points per game in the last eight, UCSB now has four players averaging more than 10.0 points per game in Big West play for the first time this year. Mark Hull leads the way in league at 14.5 points per game, followed by Branduinn Fullove at 13.5 points per game, Adama Ndiaye at 11.9 points per game and Jones at 10.2 points per game. Overall, Jones has improved his scoring average to a season-high 9.2 points per game. Hull, Fullove and Ndiaye are all averaging in double-figures overall with Hull leading the way at 15.3 points per contest.

Raising A Hullabaloo
Junior Mark Hull remains UCSB's leading scorer with a scoring average of 15.3 points per game. On February 7 against Pacific, he became just the second Gaucho in history to hit the 1,000 point mark during his junior season. With eight points in Saturday's game against Cal Poly, Hull now has a career total of 1,030 points, 27 more than B.J. Bunton, who now ranks 18th on the all-time list. Hull's next two targets are Paul Johnson and Doug Muse who scored 1,032 and 1,050 respectively. Of the other 17 who have scored 1,000 or more, only Carrick DeHart (1986-90) was able to reach 1,000 as a junior. Hull's offensive rollercoaster continued on Saturday, taking a downturn after back-to-back solid games. In the win over Cal Poly, he made just 1-of-11 shots from the field and scored eight points. Hull did make 6-of-8 free throws, including two in the closing seconds that gave UCSB the lead. The 1-for-11 performance, however, came after he had gone 10-of-17 in the previous two games, both home wins. On February 9, against Cal State Northridge, Hull tied his season-lows with just seven field goal attempts and one three-point attempt, but he was 5-of-7. Against Cal Poly, he also attempted just one three-pointer. After opening the year by making at least one three-point basket in 19 straight games, Hull has gone two straight and three out of four without making one. Still, he has made at least one three in 20 of 23 games. Of his 110 baskets on the season, just over half, 50.9%, are three-pointers. Hull has also attempted more three-pointers (140) than two-pointers (136) this season. His 56 three-point baskets this season rank sixth on UCSB's single-season list and his 125 career three-point buckets rank him fifth all-time. Hull has had two distinct seasons this year, the one he has had at home and the one he has had away from home. In ten home games this season he has made 43-of-120 shots from the field overall, 35.8%, and he has hit 16-of-42 from three-point range, 38.1%. In those 11 games, he has scored 140 points, an average of 12.7 per game. In road games, on the other hand, Hull has made 67-of-156 shots from the field overall, 43.0%, 40-of-98 from three-point range, 40.8%, and he has scored a total of 211 points in 12 games, an average of 17.6 points per game. Seven of Hull's ten highest scoring efforts have come away from home. He opened the season by scoring in double-figures in 11 straight games, the longest stretch of his career. He has now tallied ten or more points in 18 of 23 games. On December 29, Hull scored a career-high 32 points in a win at Cal State Fullerton. In the game against the Titans, he drained a career-high seven three-pointers and tied a school record with 29 points in the second half. Hull also went 6-of-15 from three-point territory on December 29 at Santa Clara. The 15 three-point attempts in a game tied a school record also held by former Gauchos Brian Johnson and Carrick DeHart. Hull has been over the 20 point plateau five times this season, going for 27 on December 5 at Loyola Marymount, 23 on November 28 against BYU, 22 at Cal Poly on January 19 and 20 on December 29 at Santa Clara. Finally, on the rebounding front, Hull had a career-high 14 against Pacific on February 7. He is second on the team at 5.5 per game and he has had five or more in six of the last seven games and in 14 games overall.

Fulloving It
Sophomore guard Branduinn Fullove had the best offensive game of his career in Saturday's win over Cal Poly. Fullove made 11-of-14 shots from the field, including 5-of-7 from three-point range, and scored a career-high 29 points, improving his scoring average to 13.9 points per game, second on the team. The 29 points were six more than his previous career-high of 23, set last season against Idaho. The game against Cal Poly marked the fifth time this season that Fullove had scored 20 or more points, but it was the first time since he tallied 21 on January 5 in a loss to Utah State. The 29 points also equaled the total points scored by Fullove in the three games prior to Saturday. He has, however, now scored in double-figures in three straight games for the first time since he did so in early January. In the three-game run of double-figure performances, Fullove has made 20-of-37 shots from the field, 54.1%. On the season, he is now shooting 45.5% overall and 41.7% from three-point territory. In Big West games, Fullove is shooting 48.4% overall and 44.1% from three-point territory. Since opening the season by making 27-of-73 shots, 36.9%, in the first seven games of the season, he has hit 69-of-138, 50.0%, over his last 15. Over that same span, Fullove has 31-of-68 three-point attempts, 45.6%. Uncharacteristically, in his last eight games, he missed a January 19 game at Cal Poly with a severe contusion in his right thigh, Fullove has committed 27 turnovers, an average of 3.4 per game, as opposed to his average of 1.6 per game in the first 14 games of the season. He has had exactly four turnovers in each of the last three games and he had a career-high of six on January 31 at Utah State. On a positive note, Fullove has moved into second on the team in assists at 3.1 per game and he has had four or more in five of the last eight games. In the last eight, he has averaged 4.0 assists per game. Fullove has had a season-high six assists twice, against Long Beach State and against Idaho, and each time UCSB has won. In fact, he has had five assists or more five times this season and the Gauchos are 4-1 in those games. Also, he has improved his free throw percentage to 87.5%. Twice this season he has had streaks of 26 consecutive successful free throw attempts. He enters the week having made six in a row. Fullove has scored in double-figures 16 times in 22 outings. He has scored 20 or more points in five games this season and, for the first time in his career, he scored 20 or more in two consecutive games, doing so in games against Idaho and Utah State in early January. His total of 43 threes are 14 more than he made all of last year. Fullove has now made 71-of-177 three-pointers as a Gaucho, 39.5%, a mark that would place him seventh on the school's career list. In addition to his scoring exploits, the Simi Valley High School graduate is the only Gaucho player this year to record at least one point, one rebound and one assist in every game he has played.

Ndiaye Hopes To Become Offensive Again
After scoring in double-figures in five straight games, the longest stretch of his career, Adama Ndiaye has failed to do so in each of the last four. On Saturday he tallied seven points in 33 minutes against Cal Poly. While he is averaging 10.9 points per game on the season, he has averaged just 6.2 per game in the last four. In Big West games, Ndiaye is now third on the team at 11.9 points per game. Ndiaye has posted four double-doubles this season. On January 19, in a win at Cal Poly, he had the best game of his career pouring in a personal-best 31 points and pulling down 13 rebounds. Ndiaye leads the Gauchos in rebounding at 7.9 per game and has had ten or more seven times. He also paces the team in field goal percentage at 52.5% and in his last seven games, he has made 44-of-76 shots, 58.0%. In 14 Big West games, Ndiaye is shooting 57.4% from the field. Ndiaye is shooting 75.3% from the free throw line and at one point recently, he had made 21 in a row. Entering this week's games, he has made 45 of his last 52 charity attempts, an outstanding 86.5%. Finally, while he scored just seven points on Saturday, he did have eight rebounds and a season-high four blocked shots. He has blocked at least one shot in 21 of 23 games. Ndiaye has blocked a career-high five shots twice, both times during his junior season. In his career, he has now swatted 111 shots. He is one of just three Gauchos with more than 100 in his career. Ndiaye also needs just 15 rebounds the rest of the season to hit the 500 rebound mark.

Keeping Up With The Jones
After coming off the bench in the first 15 games of the season, sophomore guard Nick Jones has been in the starting lineup in each of the last eight. On the year, he is averaging 9.2 points per game, his highest mark of the year. In his eight starts, Jones is averaging 12.5 points per game. In three of his eight starts, Jones has either led the team or tied for the team-lead in scoring. On Saturday he made 5-of-12 shots overall and 3-of-4 from three-point range, finishing with 15 points. A week earlier, in a win over Cal State Northridge, he logged his first double-double of the season with ten points and a career-high 12 rebounds. Jones has now scored in double-figures in five of the last seven games, all at home. In fact, in the last five home games, Jones has scored 79 points, an average of 15.8 per game, and he has averaged 6.8 rebounds over that same period. He is averaging 10.2 points per game in league. He scored a career-high 23 points on January 24 against UC Irvine and, whereas Mark Hull has better numbers on the road than at home, Jones is averaging 11.2 points per game at home and 7.3 points per game on the road. He is also shooting 43.2% at home and 41.7% on the road. Jones has also made 14 of his 20 three-pointers at home. He has played 24 or more minutes in all eight of his starts and he has played 30 or more in five of those games. He played a season-high 35 minutes on Saturday against Cal Poly. Jones' 83 points in the last seven games are 49 more points than he had scored in the previous seven games. Finally, with a pair of steals against Cal Poly, he now has 23 on the year, including ten in the last six. Last year, he had total of 17 steals.

Quick Shots

Jacoby Atako went without a field goal in Saturday's win over Cal Poly and it was the first time in nine games that he had done so. And while he went without a three-pointer against the Mustangs, Atako has still hit at least one three in seven of the last nine games. Over the last nine, he has made 12 three-point baskets, just four fewer than he made in the first 42 games of his career.

When Bray Skultety played in his first game this season it was his first organized basketball game since junior high. Now, the walk-on from Orange Glen High School is one of the most important reserves on the Gaucho roster. On Saturday, Skultety had five points and six rebounds. He is now averaging 4.4 rebounds per game and he has had five or more in eight games this season, never once playing more than 16 minutes. Additionally, Skultety is making 76.0% of his shots (19-of-25) overall and 88.2% (15-of-17) over the last 13 games. He also made all three of his free throws against Cal Poly, improving to 61.1% on the year.

Mike Vukovich did not play against Cal Poly, marking the first time this season that he had not played due a coach's decision.

B.J. Ward's four assists against Cal Poly were the most he had recorded since he had six on January 26 against Long Beach State.

UCSB has had more turnovers than its opponent 16 times in 23 games. On the flip side, the Gauchos have had more assists than their opponent 17 times and they have had the same total one other time.

When Cal Poly made 8-of-16 from three-point range on Saturday, it marked just the second time this season that an opponent had hit 50.0% or better in a game from three-point range.

On The Horizon
Following this week's road games, UCSB will return home for the final weekend of the regular season. On Thursday, February 28, they host Cal State Fullerton at 7:00 p.m. and then on Saturday, March 2, they host UC Riverside, also at 7:00 p.m.