Third-Seeded UCSB Set to Open Big West Tournament Play Thursday at 6:00 P.M. Against Cal State Northridge
March 9, 2004
Game No. 28
Thursday, March 11, 2004 at 6:00 p.m.
Big West Tournament - Quarterfinals
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Cal State Northridge
at the Anaheim Convention Center
Radio: KTLK 1340 AM
UC Santa Barbara has won two consecutive games for the first time since late-January when it also won two in a row. On Thursday, the Gauchos posted a narrow 56-55 win over UC Irvine and then on Saturday they closed the regular season with a resounding 89-61 victory over Long Beach State. UCSB will enter its first game at the Big West Tournament with an overall record of 16-11. The Gauchos finished the league season with a record of 10-8. In addition to the two straight wins, Santa Barbara has won three of its last four games as it enters the postseason.
UCSB Ends Season On Positive Note And In Third-Place
UCSB's wins over UC Irvine and Long Beach State, coupled with Utah State's Friday night win over Idaho, gave the Gauchos sole possession of third-place in the Big West. Santa Barbara entered the weekend in fourth-place, one-half game back of Idaho. This marks the third year in a row in which the Gauchos have finished among the top-three teams in the Big West. Last season, UCSB won the league's regular season title and in 2001-02, the Gauchos also finished in third.
Gauchos Play Lowest Remaining Seed On Thursday
By virtue of their third-place finish in the regular season standings, the Gauchos will play the lowest remaining seed in their first round game on Thursday night. In Wednesday night's first round, fifth-seeded UC Riverside will play eighth-seeded Cal Poly and sixth-seeded Cal State Northridge will take on seventh-seeded Cal State Fullerton. The only team that the Gauchos have no chance of playing in their first game is UC Riverside.
Four Seniors Play Final Home Game, Five Say Good-bye
In Saturday night's home finale against Long Beach State, four UCSB seniors played their final home game and a fifth made his final home appearance. Guards Branduinn Fullove, Jacoby Atako and Nick Jones and forward Bryan Whitehead played their final home games. Forward Bray Skultety, who injured his knee on February 14 and will not play again this season was also be saluted. Skultety, who was in his sixth year, was actually saluted for the second time. He was recognized as a senior last year as well. Fullove, Atako and Jones have been a cornerstone of two postseason teams for the Gauchos and they are among the all-time leaders in several career statistical categories.
Jones And Fullove Lead Gauchos To Season-Ending Win
Senior guards Nick Jones and Branduinn Fullove led UCSB to a resounding 89-61 win over Long Beach State in its final regular season game of the 2003-04 season. Jones, who had struggled offensively all season, made 8-of-13 shots from the field and 4-of-7 from three-point range, to finish with a season-high 20 points. Jones also added a season-high seven rebounds in the win. Fullove made 5-of-11 shots, including a season-best 4-of-7 from three-point territory, finishing with 14 points. Another senior guard, Jacoby Atako, had seven points and a season-high six assists. Freshman forward Glenn Turner made all four of his field goals and finished with career-highs of nine points and five rebounds. As a team, the Gauchos shot 54.0% overall and 52.2% from three-point range. UCSB made a season-high 12 three-point baskets. Long Beach State was limited to 39.7% from the field and 31.3% from three-point range. The Gauchos also outrebounded the 49ers, 46-29.
Possible Starters - Notes
G - Nick Jones - Had 20 points vs. LBSU after scoring 20 in five previous games combined.
G - Jacoby Atako - Tied season-high with six assists in regular season finale.
G - Branduinn Fullove - Has scored in double-figures in seven straight games, a season-high.
F - Cameron Goettsche - Averaged 11.5 points and 9.0 rebounds in the last two games.
F - Casey Cook - Has hit 24 of his last 26 free throw attempts, 92.3%.
Possible Reserves - Notes
G - Cecil Brown - The Gauchos are 9-1 when he scores in double-figures.
G - Joe See - His 44 three-point baskets are 20 more than the next closest Gaucho.
G - Josh Davis - Had six assists in just 23 minutes over the last two games.
G - Chrismen Oliver - Played 75 minutes in the last four games after playing 29 in the previous seven.
F - Bray Skultety - Reinjured his left knee in February 14 win over Cal Poly. Out for the season.
F - Bryan Whitehead - Had eight rebounds vs. LBSU after having seven in previous three games.
F - Glenn Turner - Career-highs of nine points and five rebounds vs. LBSU. Has hit nine straight shots.
F - David Kennedy - Has played in ten total games this season.
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 96-76 overall record and a 65-34 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 285-176 at four-year schools.
Skultety Re-injures Left Knee
Senior forward Bray Skultety re-injured 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. Before 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.
UCSB Posts Sixth-Straight Winning Season In Big West Play
The Gauchos finished the Big West season with a 10-8 record. It marked the sixth consecutive season in which UCSB had finished with a winning record in conference play, the longest streak ever. From 1959-64, under Art Gallon, the Gauchos posted five straight winning seasons as a member of the CCAA. That was the previous longest stretch of winning conference seasons. In addition to winning records, UCSB has finished among the top-three in league in five of the last six seasons, all under head coach Bob Williams. The only season in which Santa Barbara finished out of the top-three was in 2000-01 when it finished in fourth-place. Finally, UCSB has guaranteed itself of an overall winning record for the third straight year, the longest such streak since the program recorded four straight overall winning records from 1986-90.
Balance Of Power
Senior guard Branduinn Fullove leads UCSB in scoring at 11.0 points per game. He is the only UCSB player averaging in double-figures. Junior forward Casey Cook has scored 238 points in 24 games and he is averaging 9.9 points per game. Fullove's recent surge of seven straight double-figure scoring efforts has put him solidly into double-figure territory. If he continues the surge, he could move past the magical 11.2 mark. Why is 11.2 points per game magical? Actually it's not, but 11.2 points per game is the lowest average to ever lead the team in scoring. Former UCSB center Doug Muse averaged 11.2 points per game in 1993-94 season. In 2002-03, UCSB had three players who averaged 12.4 points per game or more. While UCSB has just one players averaging in double-figures, it does have seven players averaging 6.1 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 Leader(s)
Along with the scoring balance has come several scoring leaders. Nick Jones led the way in the regular season finale with 20. The Gauchos have had seven different players lead the team 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.
UCSB Snaps Rebounding Slump
For much of the season, UCSB was one of the top rebounding teams in the Big West Conference. Through 18 games overall, nine of which were Big West games, the Gauchos had outrebounded 14 opponents. Entering last weekend's games against UC Irvine and Long Beach State, however, Santa Barbara had been outrebounded in four straight games and six out of the last seven. The Gauchos bounced-back last weekend and they enter the Big West Tournament with back-to-back rebounding victories. UCSB outrebounded UC Irvine by a 36-30 count and then the Gauchos soundly won the battle on the boards against Long Beach State, 46-29. UCSB still holds a +4.1 edge in rebounding for the season, but despite winning the last two rebound battles, Santa Barbara has been outrebounded by exactly one rebound in the last nine games combined.
Gauchos Take A Respite From Close Calls
UCSB's 28-point margin in Saturday's win over Long Beach State snapped a streak of three straight games with a margin of three or less. The 28-point margin was the Gauchos' third largest margin of the season. On January 31, UCSB defeated Cal State Fullerton by 33 and on December 10, the Gauchos topped Westmont College by 30. In its 16 wins this year, UCSB has had ten games with victory margins of ten or more points. On the other side of the ledger, the Gauchos have lost four games by double-digit margins. Four of last season's final six games were decided by three or less points and UCSB went 2-2 in those four games. On the year, UCSB has played eight games decided by three or fewer points, going 4-4 in those eight. The Gauchos are 2-1 in games decided by three or fewer points at home. Narrowing it down even further, UCSB is 2-1 in games decided by exactly one point. The Gauchos have defeated UCLA (61-60) and UC Irvine (56-55), while losing at Long Beach State (63-62).
The Free Throw Story
The Gauchos have struggled in a big way from the free throw line this season. UCSB enters the Big West Tournament shooting just 65.3% from the charity stripe, nearly a 10.0% decrease from last season. This year, the Gauchos have made 361 total free throws, an average of 13.4 per game. Last year, Santa Barbara made 455, an average of 14.2 per game. On the bright side, the Gauchos have showed some modest improvement in recent games. Although they had their streak of three straight games over the 70.0% mark snapped in the win over Long Beach State, Santa Barbara has made 71-of-100 in the last four games, a solid, if not spectacular, 71.0%.
UCSB Repeats Itself At Home
With its sweep of the season's final two home games, UCSB finished the year with a 10-2 record at the Thunderdome. It marked the third year in a row that the Gauchos have finished 10-2 in home games. The 10-2 mark that Santa Barbara has recorded each of the past three 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 32-6 at home over the last 38 games.
In the season-ending win over Long Beach State, UCSB produced a season-high 25 assists. The Gauchos' previous high was 20, which they had on January 31 against Cal State Fullerton and on December 10 against Westmont College. On Saturday against the 49ers, six players had at least two assists. Jacoby Atako tied his season-high with six and Chrismen Oliver also tied his career-high with five.
The Magic Number
On Saturday, UCSB limited Long Beach State to 39.7% shooting from the field. The 49ers became the 12th Gaucho opponent to shoot below the 40.0% mark and they became the 12th opponent to lose when shooting below 40.0%. UCSB is a perfect 12-0 when its opposition makes fewer than 40.0% of its shots.
In the regular season finale, senior guard Branduinn Fullove scored 14 points, making a season-high four three-point baskets. In the process, Fullove became just the fifth player in school history to score 1,400 career points. He enters the Big West Tournament with 1,409 points, fifth all-time, and he needs 12 points to pass Lucius Davis and move into fourth-place on the all-time list. Fullove ended the regular season on an upswing. He has scored in double-figures in seven consecutive games, his longest streak of the season. In the last seven, Fullove has averaged 13.3 points per game while making 28-of-58 shots, 48.3%, and 12-of-25 from three-point range, 48.0%. Since scoring one point in a January 24 loss at Pacific, Fullove has played 11 games and averaged 12.5 points per game and made 45.0% of his field goal attempts. After not making more than two three-point baskets in any of his first 20 games this season, Fullove went 7-of-12 from beyond the arc in the final two regular season games, 58.3%. He has now made 24 three-point baskets on the season, tied for second on the team. With his season-high four three-point baskets on Saturday against Long Beach State, Fullove has moved into fourth on the school's all-time list with 163. Fullove has had a season-high six assists twice and he is now second on the team at 2.3 assists per game. He has 272 in his career, ninth all-time. He scored a season-high 23 points on December 21 in a win over Alabama State.
Junior forward Casey Cook is second on the team in scoring at 9.9 points per game. He has scored eight or more points in each of the last eight games, scoring in double-figures three times in that span. Cook is slowly but surely returning to the form he showed before tearing a right quadriceps muscle and sitting-out three games. After playing fewer than 20 minutes in the first four games after his return, he has played 21 or more in six of the last seven games, going for 30 or more twice. On Saturday against Long Beach State, he was hampered with foul trouble and played just 16 minutes. Still, in the last seven games, Cook has averaged 25.0 minutes, 10.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. In his first four games back, he averaged 16.6 minutes, 7.0 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. In addition to ranking second on the team in scoring, Cook also ranks second in rebounding at 4.7 per game. Cook is tied for the team-lead in field goal percentage among regulars at 49.7%. Also, like last season, he is surging from the free throw line as the season winds to an end. He made both of his attempts on Saturday and he has now made 19 in a row over the last four games. In fact, in the last four he is 19-of-20, 95.0%, and in the last six he has 24-of-26, 92.3%. Cook has scored in double-figures 11 times this year, nine times on the road and just twice at home. 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.
Senior guard Nick Jones had easily his best game of the season in Saturday's win over Long Beach State. Jones played a season-high 27 minutes, made 8-of-13 shots overall, 4-of-7 from three-point territory, and scored a season-high 20 points. It was, in fact, the first time Jones had scored 20 or more points since the second game of the 2002-03 season. he also had a season-high seven rebounds. His total of 20 points in 27 minutes came on the heels of a five game span in which he scored a total of 20 points in 69 minutes. In those same five games, he also had just eight rebounds. Jones, who missed the first eight games of the season while he served a suspension for playing in an unsanctioned summer league, is now averaging 6.9 points and 2.3 rebounds per game. The 20-point game against the 49ers was his fifth double-figure scoring effort of the season and his first at home. Jones' struggles this season have been so acute that he has actually gone scoreless in three games, including two in a row in late-February, for the first time in his four-year career. Also, before scoring 20 points on Saturday, Jones had scored a total of 28 points in his previous eight home games. In the last home game of his career, Jones also passed the 1,100 point mark for his career. He enters the Big West Tournament with 1,106 career points, the 17th highest total in school history. He also has 123 career three-point baskets, seventh all-time.
Senior guard Jacoby Atako scored seven points in the regular season finale against Long Beach State, but more importantly, he tied his season-high with six assists and he turned the ball over just one time. Atako leads the Gauchos at 2.6 assists per game and 1.2 steals per outing. He had one steal on Saturday and he enters the Big West Tournament with 33 steals, including at least one in six straight games. Atako has also made at least one three-point basket in six straight games, the longest streak of his career. He has now made 22 three-point baskets, two off of his career-high of 24 set in 2001-02. Atako is playing some of his best basketball of the season over the last six games. The senior, who returned to the starting lineup for the last two games, is averaging 8.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game in the last six. In addition, while he is shooting a career-best 45.9% from the field and 40.7% from beyond the three-point arc, Atako has made 16-of-32 overall, 50.0%, and 8-of-18 from three-point distance, 44.4%, in the last six. With his six assists on Saturday, Atako passed two former Gauchos, Brian Shaw and Bob Schachter, and moved into fifth on UCSB's all-time list. He also has 127 career steals, third in school history.
After scoring 32 points in UCSB's final two road games of the regular season, sophomore guard Cecil Brown had just six in the team's final two home games. Brown played 13 minutes and scored just two points on Saturday against Long Beach State. He had just four in the win over UC Irvine in the penultimate game. Against the Anteaters, however, Brown tied his season-high with five rebounds. He remains fourth on the team in scoring at 7.7 points per game and he has become a pretty good barometer of Gaucho success. Brown has scored ten or more points ten times and UCSB has posted a 9-1 record in those games. Although he continues to nurse a sore left ankle, he has played 23 or more minutes in three of the last four games. On February 26, in a double-overtime win over Cal State Fullerton, he not only scored a career-high 17 points, but he also played a career-high 44 minutes, by far the most by any UCSB player this season. Brown is tied for second on the team with 24 three-point baskets. 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 27 turnovers in 577 minutes, one every 21.4 minutes of action.
Sophomore guard Joe See scored five points in each of the final two games. Also, after not making a three-point basket in back-to-back games for the first time this season, See made a three-pointer in each of the last two games. He finished the regular season as the team-leader in three-pointers with 44, exactly 20 more than his next closest teammate. See has made at least one three-point basket in 21 of 27 games. In fact, he 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. He is fifth on the team at 7.3 points per game. See also ranks third on the team in assists at 1.8 per game. he had a season-high seven assists on February 14 against Cal Poly.
Despite playing with a fractured left thumb, Cameron Goettsche has continued to be UCSB's most consistent post player. He is third on the team in scoring at 8.3 points per game and he leads the team in rebounding at 5.6 per game. In the game against UC Irvine last Thursday, he posted the second double-double of his career with 16 points and 11 reboiunds. In the final two games, Goettsche averaged 11.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.5 blocked shots and 1.5 steals per game. He also made 8-of-11 shots from the field, 72.7%, 2-for-3 from three-point range, 66.7%, and 5-of-6 from the free throw line, 83.3%. Goettsche's other double-double came on February 14 when he had 12 points and 11 rebounds against Cal Poly. On February 26, in the double-overtime win over Cal State Fullerton, Goettsche had a career-high 18 points. He has now scored in double-figures 11 times this year, including ten times in 18 Big West games. He is shooting 54.3% in league play and since he opened the season by making 10-of-31 shots through four games, Goettsche has made 71-of-132, 53.8%, over the last 24 contests. Among other things, Goettsche is also the team-leader with 13 blocked shots and he is second with 26 steals.
Sophomore guard Josh Davis had nice outings off the bench in each of the final two regular season games. He played a total of 23 minutes in games against UC Irvine and Long Beach State, and he averaged 5.0 points per game, hitting 5-of-7 shots from the field, 71.4%. In addition, despite the limited minutes, Davis had three rebounds and three assists in each of the last two games. He has, in fact, had three or more rebounds in four straight games entering the Big West Tournament. In the last four games, Davis has made 10-of-17 shots, 58.8%. In UCSB's February 26 double-overtime win over Cal State Fullerton, Davis came off the bench to score 12 points, hitting 5-of-7 shots, before fouling out. His 12-point total at Fullerton was his second-highest total of the season (he had 13 at UCLA) and the third-best total of his career. One area where Davis continues to struggle is from the free throw line. Interestingly, he is shooting better from the field overall (41.2%) and from beyond the three-point arc (40.9%) than he is from the free throw line (40.6%).
Senior forward Bryan Whitehead is averaging 3.8 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. In the regular season finale on Saturday, he had five points and eight rebounds. In the three games prior to that, he had totaled three pints and seven rebounds. Whitehead's eight rebounds equals his second-highest output of the year. He has had eight or more four times. Whitehead has had three or more rebounds in 24 of 27 games. He had a season-high nine rebounds on January 29 against UC Riverside. Whitehead is one of two UCSB regulars to have more rebounds (126) than points (102).
Senior forward Bray Skultety suffered an injury to his left knee in a February 14 win over Cal Poly. He will miss the remainder of the season. Skultety is one of the team's emotional leaders and statistically, he was the team's best rebounder, averaging 4.0 per game in just 12.1 minutes per outing. In addition, he was averaging 3.5 points per game and shooting 54.7% from the field, including 58.0% in his last 19 games.
On senior night against Long Beach State, freshman forward Glenn Turner had the most productive game of his young career, scoring nine points and pulling down five rebounds, both career-highs. Turner has now made his last nine field goals and on the year, he has hit 13-of-19, 68.4%. In his last 11 games, a span that totals 75 minutes, Turner has had six blocked shots and 25 rebounds.
After playing a total of 61 minutes in the first 14 Big West games, an average of 4.4 per game, junior guard Chrismen Oliver played 71 in the last four, an average of 17.7 per game. On Saturday against Long Beach State, Oliver had six points and season-highs of five assists and three rebounds. In the last three games, he has eight assists and no turnovers. He also had two three-point baskets against the 49ers. It marked the fourth time this year he had made two three-pointers and he now