Men's Basketball Hosts USF In Home Opener Tuesday; Branduinn Fullove Sidelined 2-4 Weeks With Ankle Injury
Game No. 2
Tuesday, November 21, 2000 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. USF Dons
at UCSB's Thunderdome
Game No. 3
Saturday, November 25, 2000 at 6:05 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Brigham Young University Cougars
at BYU's Marriott Center
Fullove Joins Ndiaye On UCSB Injured List
With just over three minutes to play in Sunday's regular season opener at Pepperdine, freshman guard Branduinn Fullove went up for a defensive rebound and he came down on somebody else's foot, spraining his right ankle and sidelining him for a minimum of 2 to 4 weeks. The actual injury is an anterior capsular sprain. Fullove joins starting forward Adama Ndiaye on the sideline. On Thursday, Ndiaye fractured the ring finger on his left hand and on Friday, he had a pin placed in the finger, sidelining him for a minimum of four to six weeks.
The Gaucho Record
The Gauchos are 0-1 on as they enter their home opener against USF on Tuesday. UCSB opened the regular season on Sunday with a 64-53 loss at Pepperdine. After trailing by as many as 19 points in the second half, the Gauchos rallied to cut the lead to five with three minutes remaining, but they could get no closer. When it was healthy, UCSB recorded a 2-0 record in its exhibition games.
What About Bob?
Bob Williams is in his third season as head coach at UCSB. Last year he guided the Gauchos to a 14-14 overall record and a solid 10-6 mark in Big West play. He is the first coach in UCSB history to open his career with back-to-back seasons of .500 or better. In addition, he has led the Gauchos to a two-year record of 22-10 in league play, a winning percentage of .687, the best two-year league mark in school history. In his first season, Williams led UCSB to the Big West's Western Division championship, a 15-13 record overall and a 12-4 record in league. He was named Big West Coach of the Year in 1999. Williams has posted a 29-28 overall record. In his career, which includes stops at UC Davis and Menlo College, he now has a 218-128 record.
Probable Starters - Notes
G - B.J. Ward - Led the Gauchos with five assists at Pepperdine.
G - LaRon Bryant - Hit a trio of three-pointers in opener.
F - Mark Hull - Led the team with 35 minutes played on Sunday.
F - Juliano Jordani - Ten rebounds at Pepperdine was one off career high.
F - Mike Vukovich - Fouled out in 16 minutes on Sunday.
Possible Reserves - Notes
G - Jacoby Atako - Had four points, two assists and a steal vs. Pepperdine.
G - Branduinn Fullove - Led team with 13 points before injuring ankle.
G - Nick Jones - Was one of three Gauchos with two steals at Pepperdine.
F - Casey Cook - Was scoreless in 16 minutes vs. Pepperdine.
F - J.J. Todd - Did not play in the opener.
G - LaDonte King - Did not play in the opener.
F - Adama Ndiaye - Out 4-6 weeks with fractured finger.
USF leads Santa Barbara by a 21-6 count. Last year the Dons defeated the Gauchos in San Francisco by a score of 78-67. The last time the teams met in Santa Barbara, 1998, USF won 71-70. USF has won the last three meetings. The Gauchos are winless lifetime against BYU with an 0-3 mark. Last season, the Cougars defeated the Gauchos by a score of 57-49 at the Thunderdome in Santa Barbara.
The early-season injury bug may force UCSB to play with a much smaller lineup at times than they had anticipated. The Gauchos could, at times, play a lineup of Juliano Jordani, Mark Hull, Nick Jones, LaRon Bryant and either B.J. Ward or Jacoby Atako and if they do, they would be playing with a lineup averaging 6-foot-4 and sporting no players over 6-foot-7.
In its game at Pepperdine, UC Santa Barbara played four freshmen extensively. With the injury to Adama Ndiaye, that doesn't stand to change too much. In the Pepperdine contest, Gaucho freshmen combined for 75 minutes played, 37.5% of the team's total of 200. With the injury to Branduinn Fullove, that figure could temporarily go down a bit, but not too much. Fullove played 25 minutes on Sunday, while Jacoby Atako logged 21, Casey Cook played 16 and Nick Jones played 13.
Taking It A Step Further
As mentioned above, the Gaucho freshmen played a bundle of minutes Sunday. If you take it a step further, 133 of the 200 minutes played against Pepperdine were played by either freshmen or sophomores. In addition to the 75 combined minutes played by Fullove, Atako, Cook and Jones, sophomores Mark Hull (35) and B.J. Ward (23) combined for 58
The Hull Truth
Mark Hull is UCSB's leading returning scorer at 10.3 points per game. On Sunday, he opened the season by scoring nine points and pulling down five rebounds. He also led the team in minutes played with 35, a figure that should not go down any time soon. With the absence of Ndiaye and Fullove, Hull's playing time and value should be even higher. When Ndiaye went down, the assumption was that he would play more at the four than originally expected, but now with the loss of Fullove, that may not be the case.
Senior forward Juliano Jordani rebounded on Sunday, literally and figuratively. He was rebounding from an injury-plagued 1999-2000 season and he did so by playing 32 minutes, his second highest total ever. In addition, Jordani had a team-high ten rebounds, also his second highest total ever. He did, however, not take a tremendously active role on the offensive end, finishing with four points and only three shots from the field. If you include the second exhibition game, Jordani has now played back-to-back solid games. In the game against the California Southwest All-Stars, he scored 13 points and pulled down eight rebounds.
Vukovich Makes A Brief Appearance
Junior Mike Vukovich is perhaps the player most impacted by the loss of Ndiaye and his first appearance since Ndiaye's injury was a rather brief one, but not by choice. Vukovich started for the third time in his career, fouling out in 16 minutes of action. In his 16 minutes, he went scoreless, had three rebounds and a steal. Last season, Vukovich led the team in rebounds per minutes played and the Gauchos hope that he can do the same this year, but they hope he can do so in more than 16 minutes per game.
As The Ball Turns...Over
Playing with two young point guards and playing against an experienced team that trapped all over the court, you would have figured Sunday's game at Pepperdine was going to be a long afternoon...and you would have been right. The Gauchos committed 16 turnovers in the first half and 24 in the game. On the bright side, UCSB had committed 20 of the turnovers with 15 minutes to go in the contest and had only four the rest of the way. Every player who played for the Gauchos had at least one turnover and eight of the nine had at least two turnovers.
The Really Bright Side
After shooting a dismal 7-for-16 (43.7%) from the free throw line in their exhibition finale, you couldn't have blamed the UCSB coaching staff if closed its collective eyes and held its collective breath each time a Gaucho player steppe to the free throw line on Sunday. Well, they were able to breath easy and keep their respective eyes open with very little suffering as UCSB made 16-of-18 shots from the charity stripe, an outstanding 88.9%. In fact, the Gauchos made their first 12 before missing one.
The youthful point guard tandem of B.J. Ward and Jacoby Atako had its ups and downs on Sunday. We'll start with the ups. Ward had five assists, made 5-of-6 free throws, had two steals and scored seven points. Atako made a pair of field goals, had two assists, two rebounds, one steal and scored four points. Now the downs. Ward had five turnovers and was only 1-for-3 from the field. Atako had a pair of turnovers, hit only 2-of-7 shots overall and missed his only three-point attempt. Surprisingly, the duo actually played four minutes together in the opener and with the injury to Fullove, that may not be the last time that happens.
The Relentless Nick Jones
As he continues to recover from an infection in his foot, freshman Nick Jones will see increased playing time. On Sunday he played 13 minutes, had five points and a pair of steals and it wasn't an accident that he was on the court for the 16-3 run that got the Gauchos back into the game in the second half. With Fullove's injury, you can expect to see Jones play more minutes at the three in addition to his time at the two.
On The Horizon
Following this week's games against USF and BYU, the Gauchos will travel to UCLA on Wednesday, November 29 for a 7:30 p.m. game against the Bruins. The game will be carried on Fox Sports Net 2.
The Gauchos On The Radio
All UC Santa Barbara basketball games are broadcast live on KEYT radio, 1250 AM in Santa Barbara. Randy Lee is back for his fourth season as the play-by-play announcer and Don Ford returns for his fifth year as the primary color announcer. Much to the chagrin of the listening public, UCSB Director of Athletic Media Relations Bill Mahoney will handle the color for selected road broadcasts.
The Gauchos On Broadcast.com
In addition to KEYT radio, all UCSB basketball broadcasts can be accessed on the internet at either Broadcast.com or at UCSB's official athletic website, www.UCSBgauchos.com.
UCSB On The Internet
The Official Athletic Site of UC Santa Barbara is www.UCSBgauchos.com. UCSB is part of the FANSonly network.