Men's Basketball Enters Big West Tournament As Third-Seed, Will Play Cal Poly On Thursday Night

March 6, 2002

The Schedule
Game No. 28
Big West Tournament First Round
Thursday, March 7, 2002 at 8:30 p.m.
No. 3 UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. No. 6 Cal Poly Mustangs
at The Anaheim Convention Center

The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara enters the first round of the Big West Tournament with an overall record of 17-10 and a Big West record of 11-7. The Gauchos will also enter the postseason with a two-game winning streak. In addition, they have won five of their past seven games.

UCSB Enters Tournament As Third Seed
UCSB finishes the regular season in a flat-footed tie with Pacific and Cal State Northridge for third-place in the Big West. The tiebreaking formula, however, gives the Gauchos the edge. UCSB's combined record against the other two schools is 3-1. The Gauchos swept Cal State Northridge and split with Pacific. UOP is 2-2 and Northridge is 1-3. As the number three seed, UCSB will take on the sixth-seed, Cal Poly, in the first round. The winner of the UCSB-Cal Poly game will play the winner of the game between second-seeded UC Irvine and seventh-seeded Long Beach State.

Hull, Fullove & Ndiaye Earn All-Big West Recognition
Junior swingman Mark Hull was selected First Team All-Big West, sophomore guard Branduinn Fullove was named Second Team All-Big West and senior forward Adama Ndiaye was chosen Honorable Mention All-Big West, it was announced today. Hull, a Second Team All-Big West choice last year, led the Gauchos in scoring this season at 15.0 points per game, a figure that ranks him sixth in the league. He was also second on the team in rebounding at 5.4 per game (13th in the Big West) and he had a league-leading 68 three-point baskets. Fullove, an Honorable Mention All-Big West selection last year, was second on the team and ninth in the Big West in scoring at 14.4 points per game. He also finished second in the league in free throw percentage (85.7%), third in three-point field goal percentage (43.1%) and third in three-point field goals per game (2.04 per game). Ndiaye ranked fourth in league in field goal percentage (50.9%), eighth in free throw percentage (78.4%), third in rebounding (7.7 per game) and third in the league in blocked shots (1.56 per game). He also finished third on the team in scoring at 10.8 points per game.

Gauchos Finish With Best Record In Nine Years
UCSB's 17-10 overall record is the team's best record in four years since Bob Williams became the head coach, and it equals the best regular season that the program has produced in nine seasons. The Gauchos finished with a 17-10 regular season record in 1992-93. That year, UCSB won a first round game in the Big West Tournament over Pacific and then lost in the second round to New Mexico State.

UCSB Pounds UC Riverside In Regular Season Finale
Adama Ndiaye scored 15 points and pulled down 12 rebounds, and Branduinn Fullove and Mark Hull added 18 and 16 points respectively, as UC Santa Barbara closed its regular season with an 80-58 win over UC Riverside on Saturday. Leading by just one-point with about 15 minutes to play, the Gauchos outscored the Highlanders 44-22 down the stretch to win going away. UCSB pulled down 18 offensive rebounds and came-up with 12 steals in the victory. Nick Jones also scored ten points, giving the Gauchos four players in double-figures. Santa Barbara limited Riverside to 37.5% shooting from the field. The Highlanders became the 15th Gaucho opponent to shoot below the 40.0% mark for the game.

Gauchos Try To Snap Big West Tournament Losing Streak
UCSB will try to snap a two-year, two-game Big West losing streak on Thursday. In 1999, Bob Williams first season, the Gauchos won their first round tournament game, defeating Utah State 75-74. In 2000, UCSB played the tournament host, Nevada, and lost 58-53. Last year, the Gauchos and Pacific battled into overtime before the Tigers won 71-69. Historically, UCSB has not had a great deal of success in the Big West Tournament, posting a 6-18 record and never advancing to the championship game. The Gauchos have never played Cal Poly in the league tournament. Their most common opponent has been Utah State, a team which they have beaten in three of five meetings.

Possible Starters - Notes
G - Jacoby Atako - Has produced 24 assists and just three turnovers in the last four games.
G - Nick Jones - Has scored in double-figures in eight of the last 11 games.
G - Branduinn Fullove - Has averaged 19.9 points per game in the last five contests.
F - Mark Hull - He now has 1,083 career points, 15th on UCSB's all-time list.
F - Adama Ndiaye - Had his fifth double-double of the season vs. UC Riverside with 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Probable Reserves - Notes
F - Mike Vukovich - Has had 19 points in the last four games after scoring ten in the previous six.
F - Bryan Whitehead - Had his first field goal in five games in the win over UC Riverside.
G - B.J. Ward - Has played a total of just ten minutes combined in the last three games.
F - Casey Cook - Thumb injury on shooting hand will sideline him indefinitely.
F - Bray Skultety - Tied his career-high with ten rebounds in season-finale against UC Riverside.
G - Chrismen Oliver - Played 19 minutes in first 14 games and 48 in the last three.
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.

What About Bob?
Bob Williams is completing his fourth season as head coach at UCSB. The Gauchos enter the Big West Tournament with a 17-10 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 59-52 record. The 59 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 42-24 record in Big West games, a winning percentage of .636. 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 59-44. 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.

Mmmmm! Home Cooking!
With its win over UC Riverside to close out the regular season, the Gauchos finished the year with an 11-2 (.846) record in games at the Thunderdome. In terms of winning percentage, the 11-2 record was the best since the 1989-90 season when UCSB also went 11-2. This season marks the third time in school history that the Gauchos have posted an 11-2 record at the Thunderdome. Only once have they recorded a better winning percentage, going 12-2 (.857) in 1986-87.

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 are extremely slim.

Free At Last
UC Santa Barbara tied a school record on February 23 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. On February 28, the Gauchos hit their first six free throws to extend their streak to 24 in a row. They finished at 9-for-12, 75.0%. On Saturday, they closed the regular season by making 15-of-21, 71.4%, and on the season, they are now hitting 75.8%. 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 75.8%, if it could be maintained, would rank third on the school's all-time list.

UCSB Away From Home
UCSB enters Thursday's game against Cal Poly with a record of 6-8 in games away from home. The Gauchos have gone 5-8 in true road games and 1-0 in neutral court games. UCSB's only neutral court game of the season was an 86-59 win over the University of Detroit at the Cable Car Classic in Santa Clara. Since an outstanding start on the road, however, the Gauchos have struggled recently, losing their last four. UCSB has dropped consecutive games at Utah State, Idaho, Long Beach State and UC Irvine. In Big West road games this season, UCSB went 4-5. The four wins came at Cal Poly, Cal State Northridge, Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside. The Gauchos other road loss in league was at Pacific.

The Gauchos And Mustangs
UCSB and Cal Poly have played 76 times in a series that dates back to 1938. The Gauchos hold a 51-25 advantage overall. Santa Barbara has beaten the Mustangs eight consecutive times since Bob Williams became head coach in 1998. The Gauchos won both games this season, winning in San Luis Obispo on January 19 by a score of 74-67, and then narrowly escaping in Santa Barbara on February 16, 69-66.

Incidental Information
Last year, UCSB entered the Big West Tournament with a six game winning streak against Pacific. Head coach Bob Williams, in fact, was unbeaten against the Tigers. This year's first round match-up is eerily similar. The Gauchos have won eight games in a row against Cal Poly, all since Williams became head coach.

Williams In The Big West
Since Bob Williams took over as coach in 1998-99, the Gauchos have gone 42-24 in Big West Conference games.

Big West Balancing Act
With Nick Jones' recent surge in scoring, UCSB finished with four players averaging in double-figures in Big West games. Mark Hull led the team overall at 15.5 points per game, but for the second straight year, Branduinn Fullove claimed the lead in Big West games. Fullove's league scoring average finished at 14.4 points per game while Hull's league scoring average was 14.2 points per game. Adama Ndiaye (11.5 points per game) and Nick Jones (10.3 points per game) also averaged in double-digits in Big West games.

70: The Not-So-Magic Number
The equation is really quite simple for UCSB and its opposition. If you score 70 points in a game against the Gauchos, you are going to win. Gaucho opponents have scored 70 or more points seven times and in those games they are a 7-0. UCSB has gone 17-3 when they have held the opposition to fewer than 70 points in a game. The Gauchos, on the other hand, are 6-4 when scoring 70 or more points.

Playing The Percentages
UCSB enters the Big West Tournament as the league's leader in field goal percentage defense at 37.6%, a figure that ranks among the top-five 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. On Saturday, they held UC Riverside to 37.5% from the field and it was the first opponent in five games that show below the 40.0% mark. Each of the previous four Gaucho opponents shot better than 40.0%, the only such streak this season. Cal Poly, Long Beach State, UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton made 41.9%, 41.3%, 44.2% and 45.3% respectively, combining to go 82-of-191, 42.9%. On February 7, UCSB limited Idaho to 22.2% shooting from the field, the lowest mark by an opponent this season. UCSB has limited 15 of 27 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 an opponent 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.

Men Of Steal
Prior to the final two games of the regular season, UCSB never had more than nine steals in any one game. Last weekend, in wins over UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton, the Gauchos piled up a total of 24 steals, exactly a dozen in each game. Leading the way was point guard Jacoby Atako. In the game against Cal State Fullerton, Atako had a career-high six steals, the most by a Gaucho player since Derrick Allen had eight in a game in 1999. In fact, Atako became just the 11th UCSB player in history to have six or more steals in a game. On Saturday against UC Riverside, Atako had three more steals, giving him nine in the two games.

One-Two Punch
Mark Hull has scored 404 points this season and Branduinn Fullove has tallied 375. Combined, the Gaucho duo has piled-up 779 points, the most since B.J. Bunton (489) and Josh Merrill (378) combined for 867 in 1998-99. Hull and Fullove would need 75 points to move into the one-two punch top-ten. The tenth highest total ever scored by two UCSB players is 854 points, scored by Doug Rex and John Tschogl in 1969-70. The all-time Gaucho one-two punch was set in 1991-92 when Lucius Davis (644) and Idris Jones (370) combined for 1,014 points.

Margin Of Error
After having its previous five games decided by a total of 19 points, UCSB finally had a breather in its regular season finale against UC Riverside, winning 80-58. Considering it was still a one-point game with 15 minutes to go, it was hardly a breather, but compared to what the Gauchos have become used to, it was a veritable blowout. UCSB's previous five games, three wins and a pair of losses, had been decided by a combined total of 19 points, an average of less than four points per game. 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 17 wins, on the other hand, have come by double-digit margins. The Gauchos have recorded ten wins of ten or more points, six of 15 or more points, five 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 came by a total of 36 points, 5.1 points per game, and that includes the 11-point home loss to UC Irvine.

The Gauchos are 13-4 when outrebounding their opponent.
The Gauchos are 8-1 when shooting 50.0% or better.
The Gauchos are 17-9 when holding opponents below 50.0% shooting.
The Gauchos are 12-3 when holding opponents below 40.0% shooting.
The Gauchos are 11-6 when leading at halftime.
The Gauchos are 5-2 when trailing at halftime.
The Gauchos are 11-4 when passing off for 15 or more assists.
The Gauchos are 17-3 when holding the oppsition below 70 points.
The Gauchos are 0-7 when the opposition scores 70 points or more.
The Gauchos are 13-4 when making 40.0% or better from three-point range.
The Gauchos are 5-5 when they have more turnovers than assists.
The Gauchos are 7-3 when attempting fewer than 15 three-point shots.
The Gauchos are 0-1 when their opponent shoots fewer than 15 three-pointers.
The Gauchos are 2-0 when producing ten or more steals.
The Gauchos are 10-2 when the game is decided by ten or more points.
The Gauchos are 4-6 when the game is decided by five or fewer points.
The Gauchos are 4-7 when committing more fouls than the opposition.
The Gauchos are 11-3 when attempting 20 or more free throws.
The Gauchos are 17-0 when outscoring their opponent.