February 27, 2002

Men's Basketball Closes Out Regular Season With Home Games Against Cal State Fullerton And UC Riverside

Feb. 27, 2002

The Schedule
Game No. 26
Thursday, February 28, 2002 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Cal State Fullerton Titans
at UCSB's Thunderdome

Game No. 27
Saturday, March 2, 2002 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. UC Riverside Highlanders
at UCSB's Thunderdome

The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara enters the final weekend of the Big West season in a flat-footed tie with Pacific and Cal State Northridge for third place in league. UCSB has an overall record of 15-10 and a Big West mark of 9-7. If the three teams remain tied at the end of the final weekend of the regular season, the Gauchos would win the tiebreaker and receive the number three seed in the conference tournament. UCSB is 2-0 against Cal State Northridge and 1-1 against Pacific, giving them a 3-1 record against the two. UOP is 2-2 and Northridge is 1-3 against the other two teams, so the Tigers would be fourth and the Matadors would be fifth. There are numerous other scenarios, but if UCSB sweeps its weekend games against Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside, the lowest they could finish would be fourth.

15 Wins Equals Williams' Gaucho High
The 15 wins recorded by UCSB this season equals the most by a Gaucho team since Bob Williams became the head coach for the 1998-99 season. In Williams' first campaign Santa Barbara recorded a 15-13 overall record after opening the year with an 0-8 mark. One more win and the Gauchos would have 16, their highest total since the 1992-93 team recorded 18.

UCSB Loses Another Tough One, 71-67 At UC Irvine
UCSB dropped a narrow 71-67 game at UC Irvine on Saturday. The Gauchos were unbable to overcome a 29-point performance by Anteater guard Jerry Green, but they came close. Santa Barbara, trailed 57-46 with 7:40 remaining in the game, but they outscored UCI 21-9 over the next seven minutes to take a 67-66 lead. Green, however, responded with leaning jumper in the key to give the Anteaters a one-point lead with 39.6 seconds to go. UCSB did not score again and three-out-of-four free throws down the stretch from Green made the final margin 71-67. The Gauchos were paced by Branduinn Fullove who finished with 19 points and Adama Ndiaye who had 11 points and eight rebounds. As a team, UCSB also tied a school record by hitting all 18 free throw attempts in the game.

What About Bob?
Bob Williams is in his fourth season as head coach at UCSB. The Gauchos enter this week's games with a 15-10 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 57-51 record. The 58 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 40-24 record in Big West games, a winning percentage of .641. 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 57-44. 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 - Played a season-low 18 minutes in the game at UC Irvine.
G - Nick Jones - Has averaged 12.9 points per game in the last nine games.
G - Branduinn Fullove - Has averaged 22.3 points per game in the last three.
F - Mark Hull - He now has 1,060 career points, 15th on UCSB's all-time list.
F - Adama Ndiaye - Scored 11 points at UCI, his first double-figure outing in six games.

Probable Reserves - Notes
F - Mike Vukovich - Has had 11 points in the last two games after scoring ten in the previous six.
F - Bryan Whitehead - Has scored just a total of three points in last eight games.
G - B.J. Ward - Played a season-low four minutes at UC Irvine.
F - Casey Cook - Thumb injury on shooting hand will sideline him indefinitely.
F - Bray Skultety - Has now had five or more rebounds ten times, never playing more than 18 minutes.
G - Chrismen Oliver - 19 minutes and four points in first 24 games. 20 minutes and six points vs. UCI.
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.

70: The Not-So-Magic Number
The equation is really quite simple for UCSB's opponents. If you score 70 points in the game, you are going to win. On Saturday night, UC Irvine became the seventh Gaucho opponent to eclipse the 70 point mark and they became the seventh to record a win. UCSB has gone 15-3 when they have held the opposition to fewer than 70 points in a game. The Gauchos, on the other hand, are 5-4 when scoring 70 or more points.

Free At Last
UC Santa Barbara tied a school record on Saturday by making all 18 of its free throw attempts. The last time a Gaucho team went 18-for-18 from the free throw line was against Pepperdine on December 15, 1988. The 18 successful free throws are the most UCSB has ever made in a game without a miss, but they have had a 15-for-15 performance and a 1-for-1 performance. The free throw perfecto on Saturday improves the Gauchos' free throw percentage on the season to 76.0%, a figure that ranks 12th in the nation as of Monday. UCSB's all-time single-season record for free throw percentage is 77.2%, a mark they recorded in 1982-83. The 1964-65 version of Gaucho basketball shot 76.1% from the line, the second-best figure ever. This year's 76.0%, if it could be maintained, would rank third on the school's all-time list.

Playing The Percentages
UCSB enters the weekend as the Big West's leader in field goal percentage defense at 37.4%, a figure that ranks fourth in the nation. The Gauchos have been ranked among the top-five nationally almost all season and, on two occasions, they were ranked first. While UCSB has continued to do a good job defensively, they have not been quite as stingly of late as they were earlier. Each of the last three Gaucho opponents have shot better than 40.0%, only the second such streak this season. Cal Poly, Long Beach State and UC Irvine have made 41.9%, 41.3% and 44.2% respectively, combining to go 67-of-158, 42.4%. In three games prior to the current three-game run of 40.0% or better, 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. UCSB has limited 14 of 25 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.

Truly Offensive Rebounds
While UCSB continues to allow the opposition a low field goal percentage, they are allowing more and more second shots. Gaucho opponents have pulled down ten or more offensive rebounds in each of the last six games. In losses at Long Beach State and UC Irvine last weekend, Santa Barbara allowed its opponents to produce 29 offensive rebounds. Long Beach had 17 offensive rebounds on Thursday, equaling the highest total of the season. Overall in the game against the 49ers, the Gauchos were outrebounded by a season-high 12 boards.

The Gauchos At Home
UCSB enters Thursday's game against Cal State Fullerton with a record of 9-2 at home. The Gauchos opened the season with a 5-0 record at the Thunderdome. On January 5, the Gauchos dropped a 60-56 decision to Utah State, snapping a seven game Thunderdome winning streak. Since losing back-to-back home games to Utah State and UC Irvine, UCSB has won four in a row, defeating Long Beach State, Pacific, Cal State Northridge and Cal Poly. If the Gauchos could sweep this weekend's games, they would finish the year with an 11-2 record at the Thunderdome, a winning percentage of .846, the highest since 1989-90 when the team also finished 11-2 at home.

The Opponents
UCSB leads its all-time series with Cal State Fullerton by a 27-22 count. The Gauchos have won the last seven games in the series which dates back to 1977. Santa Barbara defeated the Titans on December 22 in Fullerton by a score of 64-62. In that win, the Gauchos needed a three-point shot at the buzzer by Nick Jones to overcome a late Titan rally. UCSB and UC Riverside have played nine times with the Gauchos holding an 8-1 advantage. The teams split a pair of non-conference games last season, the Highlanders winning in Riverside and the Gauchos winning in Santa Barbara. UCSB, however, topped UCR in the first Big West matchup between the schools on December 20. The Gauchos won that one in Riverside by a score of 68-56.

Win Big, Lose Small
Of UCSB's ten losses this season, only two have come by double-digit margins. The Gauchos dropped 11-point games to USC and UC Irvine, every other loss has been by fewer than ten points. Several of the 15 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. UCSB's last three losses have come on the road by a combined total of ten points. Their seven conference losses this season have come by a total of 36 points, 5.1 points per game, and that includes an 11-point home loss to UC Irvine.

Big West Balancing Act
With Nick Jones' recent surge in scoring, UCSB now has four players averaging in double-figures in Big West games. Mark Hull leads the team overall and in league games. Hull's league scoring average is 14.6 points per game. Branduinn Fullove is second overall and in Big West games. In league, Fullove is averaging 14.3 points per game. Adama Ndiaye (11.3 points per game) and Nick Jones (10.4 points per game) are also averaging in double-digits in Big West games.