Feb. 24, 2004
Game No. 24
Thursday, February 26, 2004 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Cal State Fullerton Titans
at CSUF's Titan Gym (3,100)
Radio: KTMS 990 AM
Game No. 25
Saturday, February 28, 2004 at 7:10 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at UC Riverside Highlanders
at UCR's Student Recreation Center (3,168)
Radio: KTLK 1340 AM
UC Santa Barbara enters the week with an overall record of 13-10 and a Big West mark of 7-7. The Gauchos have lost two games in a row and four of their last five. Last weekend, UCSB dropped a 61-58 game at home to first-place Pacific and then lost 80-71 at Cal State Northridge on Saturday afternoon.
UCSB Plays Final Two Road Games
When UCSB travels to Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside for games this weekend, it will be playing its final two true road games of the season. The Gauchos, who started the season by winning their first two true road games, at Hawaii and UCLA, have now dropped four in succession. UCSB is now 4-5 in road games and 5-8 in all games away from the Thunderdome.
Skultety Reinjures Left Knee
Senior forward Bray Skultety reinjured his left knee in the second half of UCSB's February 14 game against Cal Poly. Skultety, who sat out the 2002-03 season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the left knee, has suffered the same injury and will be lost to the team for the remainder of the 2003-04 season. The 6-foot-6 Skultety was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA to take part in this season. He also missed the 1999-2000 season with an eye injury. When he was injured, Skultety had played in 21 games this season with averages of 3.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. He accumulated his stats despite playing just 12.1 minutes per outing.
Matadors Catch Fire In Second Half, Hand UCSB 80-71 Loss
Cal State Northridge used a blistering second half on Saturday to post an 80-71 victory over UCSB in Big West play. The Gauchos limited the Matadors to 30.8% shooting in the first half but still trailed at the break 31-30. Northridge, however, caught fire in the second half, making 15-of-21 shots from the field overall and a near perfect 8-of-9 from three-point range. At one point, the Matadors made seven consecutive three-point attempts. The Gauchos shot the ball well too, hitting 49.0% overall and 59.1% in the second half, but it was not enough. UCSB was led by senior guard Nick Jones who tied his season-high with 14 points. Branduinn Fullove added 12 points and Joe See chipped-in ten.
Possible Starters - Notes
G - Joe See - Has made just five total field goals in the last three games.
G - Josh Davis - Has started each of the last three games.
G - Branduinn Fullove - Averaged 15.0 points per game in his last three outings.
F - Cameron Goettsche - Playing with injured right thumb, has had nine points in last two games.
F - Casey Cook - Tied his career-high with three steals in loss to Cal State Northridge.
Possible Reserves - Notes
G - Cecil Brown - Has scored in double-figures eight times and Gauchos have won all eight.
G - Nick Jones - Tied his season-high with 14 points at Cal State Northridge.
G - Jacoby Atako - Has averaged 10.0 points in the last two games, making 4-of-7 three-pointers.
G - Chrismen Oliver - Made his ninth three-pointer of the year at Cal State Northridge.
F - Bray Skultety - Reinjured his left knee in win over Cal Poly. Out for the season.
F - Bryan Whitehead - Has had three or more rebounds in 20 of 23 games.
F - Glenn Turner - Scored career-high four points against Cal State Northridge.
F - Derek Wheeler - Has yet to play in a game this season.
F - David Kennedy - Has played in eight total games this season.
UCSB holds a 30-23 edge in its series with Cal State Fullerton. In the first meeting between the schools this season, the Gauchos defeated the Titans in Santa Barbara on January 31, 77-44. Since Bob Williams became coach at UCSB, the Gauchos have recorded a 10-1 record against Fullerton with the Titans only win coming on the road in overtime last year. The Gauchos are 12-1 lifetime against UC Riverside, including 5-0 since the Highlanders entered the Big West in 2001-02. UCSB defeated UCR at the Thunderdome on January 29, 66-52. The only time Riverside beat the Gauchos was on December 27, 2000, when it posted a 63-59 win in a non-conference game. UCSB has won the last six games in the series.
UCSB On The Road
UCSB is 4-5 in true road games this season and 5-8 in games away from the Thunderdome. The Gauchos have won road games at Hawaii, UCLA, UC Irvine and Cal Poly this year with the four true road losses coming at Long Beach State, Pacific, Idaho, Utah State and Cal State Northridge. The Gauchos are 1-3 in neutral court games, losing to St. Mary's, Southeast Missouri State and Kansas, while defeating Alabama State. Last year, the Santa Barbara recorded an 8-12 record away from the Thunderdome. Included in the 8-12 mark was a 2-5 record on neutral courts and a 6-6 record in true road games.
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 93-75 overall record and a 62-32 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 282-175 at four-year schools.
Consecutive League Losses Rare For Gauchos
UCSB has lost back-to-back Big West games for the second time this season. At no point last season did the Gauchos ever lose consecutive games during the league schedule. Prior losing games at Idaho and Utah State, UCSB had not lost back-to-back league games since February of 2002. With two straight losses in Big West play entering Thursday's game at Cal State Fullerton, Santa Barbara is hoping to avoid its first three-game conference losing streak since the 2000-01 season when it lost four in a row during one mid-January stretch.
UCSB's leading scorer, Branduinn Fullove, is averaging just 10.8 points per game. Actually, just three games ago, Fullove and Casey Cook were the co-leaders at 9.9 points per game, so the 10.8 per game is actually an improvement. Either way, unless there is a major surge in the final weeks of the season, Fullove, or some mystery Gaucho, is likely to lead the team in scoring with an all-time lowest scoring average. In 1993-94, former UCSB center Doug Muse led the team in scoring at 11.2 points per game, the lowest team-leading average in school history. In 2002-03, UCSB had three players who averaged 12.4 points per game or more. While UCSB has just one player averaging in double-figures, it does have six players averaging 7.1 or more points per game and ten players averaging 3.5 or more per game. By contrast, last year's team had three players at or over 12.4 points per game, but nobody else on the team averaged more than 5.2 per outing.
Take Me To Your Leaders
Along with the scoring balance has come several scoring leaders. Nick Jones paced the way with 14 in Saturday's loss at Cal State Northridge. The Gauchos have had seven different players lead the way in scoring this season and six of those players have led the way at least twice. Branduinn Fullove, Casey Cook, Cameron Goettsche, Cecil Brown, Joe See, Jacoby Atako and Nick Jones have led the way in scoring and only Atako has led just once. Last season, in 32 games, UCSB had four players lead the team in scoring and one of those, Brown, led one time.
Free Throws? They're Anything But
You can call them free throws all you want, but to UCSB, they have been very costly. In Saturday's game against Cal State Northridge, the Gauchos made 18-of-31 shots from the charity stripe, 58.1%. With an opportunity to extend a lead in the first half, UCSB was saddled with a miserable 5-for-13 performance at the stripe, 38.5%. The Gauchos needed a 13-of-18 showing in the second half to finish at 58.1%. In the last three outings, the Gauchos have made 41-of-70 free throw attempts, 58.6%. On the season, UCSB is making just 64.0% of its free throws, a drop of more than ten-percent from last year's solid 74.1% mark. The Gauchos have made better than 70.0% of their free throws just twice in the last ten games, making fewer than 60.0% four times and below 65.0% seven times in that span. Finally, UCSB has just three players, Nick Jones at 83.3%, Branduinn Fullove at 76.8% and Joe See at 72.0%, making better than 70.0% of their free throws on the year.
UCSB has posted a perfect 10-0 record when limiting its opponents at or below 40.0% shooting from the field. On Saturday, the Gauchos seemed well on their way to holding Cal State Northridge below the 40.0% mark, but then the Matadors went berserk in the second half, hitting 15-of-21 shots overall and 7-of-8 from beyond the three-point arc, and finished at 48.9% for the game.
On The Rebound
Slowly, but surely, UCSB is improving its ballhandling this season. While the Gauchos are still averaging 14.7 turnovers per game, they have averaged a modest 12.4 per game in the last five. In fact, Santa Barbara has committed 12 turnovers or fewer in three straight and four times in the last five.
Senior guard Branduinn Fullove has seized the team-lead in scoring at 10.8 points per game. Fullove has scored in double-figures in three straight games, averaging 15.0 points per game over that span. In the last three games, he has made 15-of-28 shots from the field, 53.6%, and 3-of-8 from three-point range, 37.5%. Since scoring one point in a January 24 loss at Pacific, Fullove has played seven games and averaged 12.7 points per game and made 45.0% of his field goal attempts. Also, after struggling to get to the free throw line for much of the season, he has gone to the line 18 times in the last two games, easily his highest two-game total of the season. Uncharacteristically, however, Fullove has struggled from the free throw line of late. In the last five games, he has made 16-of-26 shots from the free throw line, 61.5%. Fullove enters Thursday's game at Cal State Fullerton with a career total of 1,361 points, a figure that ranks him sixth on UCSB's all-time list. He needs 39 points to pass York Gross and move into fifth-place all-time. Fullove had two assists against Cal State Northridge and has now had two or more in seven of the last eight games. He has a career total of 261 assists, ninth in school history. Finally, Fullove has made a career total of 154 three-point baskets, fifth on UCSB's all-time list.
Casey Cook has played 58 minutes in the last two games, his highest two-game total since returning from a partially torn right quadriceps muscle. In Saturday's loss at Cal State Northridge, Cook scored nine points and had six rebounds. The six rebound was the most he has had since he also had six on January 10 against Idaho. In the last two games, however, he has made just 6-of-15 shots from the field, 40.0%, and for the first time this season his field goal percentage has dropped below the 50.0% mark at 49.4%. Cook is second on the team in scoring at 9.6 points per game and second in rebounding at 4.9 boards per outing. Cook has scored in double-figures nine times this year, seven times on the road. He has scored a career-high 16 points three times this season, once each against Hawaii, Kansas and Southeast Missouri State. In the game at Hawaii, he also collected a career-high 12 rebounds in posting the first double-double of his career. On the year, he has had five or more rebounds ten times in 20 appearances.
Senior guard Nick Jones had, arguably, his best game of the season in the loss at Cal State Northridge on Saturday. Coming off the bench, Jones made 6-of-9 shots from the field, including one three-pointer, and he tied his season-high with 14 points. He also had a season-high four assists and two steals in a season-high 25 minutes. Prior to the game against the Matadors, Jones had been struggling mightily. In last Thursday's loss to Pacific, he made just 1-of-7 shots from the field and finished with two points. Before going 6-for-9 from the floor at Northridge, Jones had gone 5-of-34, 14.7%, over a six game span. Notoriously one of the best two-point shooters on the Gaucho roster, his problems from inside the three-point arc have been particularly acute in recent games. Jones made 5-of-7 two-point shots on Saturday, but in the six previous games, he hit just 2-of-20 two-pointers, 10.0%. He is now averaging 7.1 points per game on the season overall. In road games, however, he has been better. In fact, all four of his double-figure scoring efforts this season have come away from home. In eight games away from the Thunderdome, Jones is averaging 10.4 points per game and shooting 42.0%. In seven home games, he is averaging 3.4 points per game and shooting just 24.2%. In his career, Jones has now scored 1,082 points, 17th in school history. His 115 career three-point baskets ranks seventh all-time.
Sophomore guard Cecil Brown continues to nurse a sprained left ankle. After going scoreless in 19 minutes against Pacific last Thursday, he played 17 minutes and scored eight points in the game at Cal State Northridge on Saturday. Brown is now averaging 7.3 points per game, fifth on the team. When he scored ten points in 15 minutes on February 14 against Cal Poly, it marked the eighth time this season that Brown had scored in double-figures and UCSB has recorded a perfect 8-0 record in those eight games. He also ranks third on the team with 17 three-point baskets, but since going 2-for-2 from three-point range in a January 31 win over Cal State Fullerton, Brown has not made a three-point basket, missing all four attempts. While most of the rest of the team has struggled from the free throw line in recent games, Brown has gone the opposite direction. Although he is shooting just 68.1% from the free throw line, he has made 24 of his last 30 over 13 games, 80.0%. Finally, while much of the rest of the team has had its problems with turnovers, Brown has been one of the team's most sure-handed players. He has 20 turnovers in 467 minutes, one every 23.3 minutes of action. He has committed just four turnovers in his last eight games, a span of 141 minutes.
Sophomore guard Joe See has started each of the last four UCSB games. He scored ten points in Saturday's game at Cal State Northridge and he is now third on the team at 8.0 points per game. See enters Thursday's game at Cal State Fullerton with a team-leading 42 three-pointers, 24 more than the next closest Gaucho. He has made at least one three-point basket in 19 of 23 games, including the last seven in a row. In fact, See has hit two or more three-pointers 12 times, three or more seven times and a carer-high five twice, against Cal State Fullerton and Utah State. When he nailed five three-pointers against Cal State Fullerton on January 31, he scored a career-high 21 points. In his first start at point guard, on February 14 against Cal Poly, See logged a career-high seven assists. He is now averaging 2.0 assists per game. Of his 42 three-point buckets, 26 have come in ten home games. While See is making a solid 43.3% from three-point range overall, he has been especially good in Big West games, making 27-of-58, 46.6%. He has scored in double-figures eight times on the season, all in the last 20 games.
Senior guard Jacoby Atako has come off the bench in four straight games after starting the first 29 games of the year. In his last two outings, losses to Pacific and Cal State Northridge, Atako had two his best games of the year. Before fouling out at Northridge on Saturday, he made 3-of-5 shots overall and 2-of-3 from three-point territory to finish with eight points. He also had three rebounds, two assists and three steals in 18 minutes. Against Pacific, Atako made 4-of-7 shots overall, 2-of-4 from three-point range, and finished with 12 points, his highest total since he had 13 on December 13 against San Diego. In the last two games combined, he has made 7-of-12 shots, 58.3%, 4-of-7 from three-point range, 57.1%, and he has averaged 10.0 points. With his four three-point baskets in the last two games, Atako is now second on the team with 18 on the year. He has also improved his three-point percentage to a career-high 41.9%. In fact, Atako's three-point percentage and his overall field goal percentage of 46.7%, are both career-highs. In his career, Atako has now collected 364 assists, a total that ranks him seventh on UCSB's all-time list. He needs 12 to pass Brian Shaw and move into sixth-place all-time. He also has 122 steals in his career, third all-time.
Playing with a banged-up and bandaged right thumb, sophomore Cameron Goettsche has had his difficulties in the last two games. In the past two games, Goettsche has made 4-of-11 shots, 36.4%, and he has averaged 4.5 points. For the first time since early in the season, he has seen his shooting percentage drift below the 50.0% mark at 49.6%. The thumb injury has also restricted Goettsche's rebounding ability. After going for a career-high 11 on February 14 against Cal Poly, he has been able to muster just six in the last two games, a total of 44 minutes. Still, Goettsche is fourth on the team in scoring at 7.8 points per game and he paces the team in rebounding at 5.4 per game. In the game in which he had his career-high 11 rebounds, Goettsche also posted the first double-double of his career, scoring 12 points. The 12 points was highest total since he went for 15 on January 17 at Cal Poly. Goettsche has now scored in double-figures nine times this year, including eight times in 14 Big West games. Despite his two-game struggles, he is still shooting 55.7% in Big West play. Goettsche scored a career-high 17 points on December 13 against San Diego.
Sophomore guard Josh Davis has started each of the last three games. In the first of the three games, a win over Cal Poly, he had nine points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals. The last two have not been as productive. He has played 32 minutes in the last two and he has collected totals of two points, two assists and two rebounds, making just 1-of-6 shots from the field. Davis is now averaging 4.3 points and 2.3 rebounds per game. He scored a season-high 13 points on December 17 at UCLA. On the year, Davis has made just 11-of-27 free throws, 40.7%, hitting just 3-of-12 over the last nine games, 25.0%.
Senior forward Bryan Whitehead is averaging 4.1 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. He is third on the team in rebounding and he has had three or more rebounds in 21 of 23 games. Last Thursday against Pacific, he had five points and eight rebounds in 21 minutes. The eight rebounds was Whitehead's highest total since he had a season-high nine on January 29 against UC Riverside. On Saturday, he had just one point and two rebounds in 21 minutes at Cal State Northridge. Whitehead is one of two UCSB regulars to have more rebounds (111) than points (94).
Senior forward Bray Skultety suffered an injury to his left knee in Saturday's win over Cal Poly. He will miss the remainder of the season. He is one of the team's emotional leaders and statistically, he is the team's best rebounder, averaging 4.0 per game in just 12.1 minutes per outing. In addition, he is averaging 3.5 points per game and shooting 54.7% from the field, including 58.0% in the last 19 games.
Sophomore forward Glenn Turner has become a regular in UCSB's rotation, but he is questionable for Thursday's game with a sore back. Turner made both of his field goal attempts and scored a career-high four points at Cal State Northridge on Saturday. He has made his last five field goal attempts and is now shooting 60.0% on the year. In his last eight games, a span that totals 56 minutes, Turner has had five blocked shots and 18 rebounds.
Junior guard Chrismen Oliver is averaging 2.3 points per game. He made his only three-point attempt in the game at Northridge and has now hit nine on the year. Since starting the season by going 1-for-9 from three-point range, Oliver has gone 8-of-13, 61.5%. He has played ten or more minutes seven times this year, but just once in the last 15 games.