November 22, 2000

Men's Basketball Heads To BYU After Dropping OT Heartbreaker To USF

Nov. 22, 2000

The Schedule
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

Game No. 4
Wednesday, November 29, 2000 at 7:35 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at UCLA Bruins
at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion

Ndiaye & Fullove: The Dynamic Injured Duo
Senior forward Adama Ndiaye and freshman swingman Branduinn Fullove, each expected to play a major role for the Gauchos this season, have been sidelined with injuries. In practice on Thursday, November 16, Ndiaye fractured the ring finger on his left hand and on Friday, he had a pin placed in the broken digit, sidelining the team's top returning rebounder and shot blocker for a minimum of four to six weeks. On Sunday, November 19, in UCSB's opener at Pepperdine, Fullove, who led the team with 13 points, severely sprained his right ankle with about three minutes left and he was declared out for two to four weeks.

The Gaucho Record
The Gauchos are 0-2 on the season after dropping a tough overtime game to the University of San Francisco Dons on Tuesday, 77-74. The Gauchos led by as many as 12-points, but were unable to hold on. 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.

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 29-29 overall record. In his career, which includes stops at UC Davis and Menlo College, he now has a 218-129 record.

Probable Starters - Notes
G - B.J. Ward - Career-highs of 12 points, 7 assists and 3 steals vs. USF.
G - LaRon Bryant - Tied career-high with 15 points vs. USF.
F - Mark Hull - Led the team with 18 points in loss to USF.
F - Juliano Jordani - Averaging 9.5 rebounds in first two games.
F - Mike Vukovich - Tied his career-high with 25 minutes played vs. USF.

Possible Reserves - Notes
G - Jacoby Atako - Had eight assists and one turnover vs. USF.
G - Nick Jones - Has three steals in 26 minutes over two games.
F - Casey Cook - Tied for team-high with nine rebounds vs. USF.
F - J.J. Todd - Has yet to play in the first two games.
G - LaDonte King - Has yet to play in first two games.
F - Adama Ndiaye - Out 4-6 weeks with fractured finger.
G - Branduinn Fullove - Out minimum of 2-4 weeks with ankle sprain.

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.

The Gauchos & Cougars
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.

Think Small
The early-season injury bug has forced UCSB to play with a much smaller lineup at times than they had anticipated. The Gauchos have, at times, played with a lineup of Juliano Jordani, Mark Hull, Nick Jones, LaRon Bryant and either B.J. Ward or Jacoby Atako. In fact, at times in the first two games, UCSB has gone with both Atako and Ward in the lineup. Over the first two games, when Mike Vukovich is on the bench, they have not had a player over 6-foot-7 in the lineup.

Fresh Ideas
In the first two games, UC Santa Barbara has played its 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. Even with the loss of Fullove, the three remaining key freshmen combined for exactly 75 of the team's 225 minutes against USF, 33.3%. In 425 minutes over two games, the freshmen have played 150 minutes, an impressive 35.3%.

Taking It A Step Further
As mentioned above, the Gaucho freshmen have played a bundle of minutes in the first two games. If you take it a step further, 270 of the 425 minutes played against Pepperdine and USF were played by either freshmen or sophomores. In addition to the 150 combined minutes played by Atako, Cook, Jones and Fullove, sophomores Mark Hull (69) and B.J. Ward (51) have combined for 120.

The Hull Truth
Mark Hull is UCSB's leading returning scorer at 10.3 points per game and in Tuesday's overtime loss to USF, he bounced back from a subpar offensive performance against Pepperdine with an 18-point outing. The 18 points were his third highest ever and he did so while playing a career-high tying 34 minutes. On Sunday, he opened the season by scoring nine points and pulling down five rebounds against Pepperdine. He also led the team in minutes played with 35, a figure that should not go down any time soon. Last season, Hull was one of the team's to shooters, making 46.3% of his shots and by going 7-for-12 against USF, he improved to 10-of-20 (50.0%) on in the first two games this season, good for a 13.5 point per game average.

Ward Of the Court
In the preseason, both practices and games, sophomore B.J. Ward struggled somewhat. He came into the season as the Gauchos starter at the point, but he was being pushed by freshman Jacoby Atako. After the team's opener at Pepperdine on Sunday, Ward was still the starter at the point guard position. After his showing against USF on Tuesday, he was, with little doubt, the starting point guard. The 6-foot-1 sophomore tied his career-high with 28 minutes played, tied his career-high with 12 points (on 4-of-8 shooting from the field) and set a career-high with seven assists. More importantly, however, he scored eight of his 12 points in the final two minutes of regulation to help send the game to overtime. In addition, Ward had arguably the play of the game when, with 53-seconds left, he drove right from the top-of-the-key, cut along the baseline and hit a soaring slam dunk and was fouled, hitting the free throw, to give UCSB a brief lead and a shot at victory. Most impressively, however, he had only one turnover to go with his seven assists, a career-low. In two games this season, Ward has produced 12 assists in 51 minutes, only 27 less than he had in 372 minutes last year. He is also the team's third-leading scorer at 9.5 points per game. In two games, Ward has also gone 9-of-12 from the free throw line, 75.0%. Last year, he made 47.5%.

Isn't This A Contact Sport?
In the first two games of the season, junior Mike Vukovich has learned the hard way that basketball is not, necessarily, a contact sport. Taking over for the injured Adama Ndiaye, Vukovich fouled out of the season-opener at Pepperdine in only 16 minutes. On Tuesday against USF, he tied his career-high with 25 minutes played, but once again, he fouled out. In 41 minutes over two games, the native of Huntington Beach has produced 14 points, seven rebounds, four blocked shots and ten fouls. In Tuesday's game, not only did he tie his career-high in minutes played, but Vukovich also set a career-high with three blocked shots and he scored nine points, his third highest total ever.

On The Horizon
Following their game at BYU on Saturday, the Gauchos will return to Southern California to take on UCLA in a 7:35 p.m. game at Pauley Pavilion on Wednesday, November 29. The game will be the first between the schools since the 1979-80 season. UCSB will return home on Saturday, December 2 when they host Westmont College in a 7:00 p.m. game at the Thunderdome.

Point, Counterpoint
As mentioned in the other column, near the bottom of the page, sophomore B.J. Ward had his best game as a Gaucho and he was not alone among UCSB point guards. Freshman Jacoby Atako struggled with his shooting (2-for-10 vs. USF and 4-for-17 in two games), but he had a career-high eight assists (and only one turnover) against USF. He and Ward, in fact, not fiction, combined for 15 assists and only two turnovers in the OT loss to the Dons. As a duo, they have combined for 22 assists, seven steals and nine turnovers in two games.

Cooking Up Some Rebounds
Freshman Casey Cook played 16 minutes in the season-opener at Pepperdine, and while he went scoreless and had only a pair of rebounds, he showed signs that he could play. On Tuesday against USF, he did more than show signs. In 28 minutes, he tied for a team-high nine rebounds (including a team-high six defensive boards) and he scored seven points, including a three-point basket. Cook, out of El Camino High School in Sacramento, is yet another youngster forced into a key role with the loss of Ndiaye and Fullove. On Tuesday, he responded.

Nothing Is Free
Okay. On Tuesday, the Gauchos outrebounded USF (41-40), they had fewer turnovers (15-18), more assists (18-15), more field goals (28-25) and only one fewer three-point field goals (5-6). So, explain the loss. Two words: free throws. After an outstanding 16-for-18 (88.9%) performance in the opener at Pepperdine, the Gauchos struggled on Tuesday, going 13-for-25, 52.0%. In the second half and overtime, UCSB was 6-for-12 (50.0%), while the Dons went 15-of-22 (68.2%).

The Percentage Game
Last season, UCSB led the Big West Conference in field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to shoot a measly 39.1% from the field. Not only did that figure lead the league, but it ranked among the top-15 nationally. In two games this season, UCSB is holding its opponents to 42.0% from the floor. That isn't too bad, but through two games, the Gauchos have made only 44-of-112, 39.3%. Only one Gaucho (outside of the injured Fullove) has made 50.0% or better of his shots. Hull has hit 10-of-20 shots from the floor, an even 50.0%.

Jordani On The Rebound
Senior Juliano Jordani, struggling offensively in the first two games (5.0 ppg), has not struggled with his rebounding. After two games, Jordani has played 67 minutes and he leads the team with 19 rebounds, an average of 9.5 per game. He has led or tied for the team-lead in each of the first two contests.

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