Men's Basketball, 3-1 For The First Time Since 1994-95, Hosts St. Mary's Saturday At The Thunderdome

Men's Basketball, 3-1 For The First Time Since 1994-95, Hosts St. Mary's Saturday At The Thunderdome

Nov. 30, 2001

The Schedule
Game No. 5
Saturday, December 1, 2001 at 7:00 p.m.

UC Santa Barbara Gauchos St. Mary's College Gaels
at UCSB's Thunderdome

Game No. 6
Wednesday, December 5, 2001 at 7:00 p.m.

UC Santa Barbara Gauchos Loyola Marymount Lions
at LMU's Gersten Pavilion

The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara enters Saturday's game against St. Mary's with an overall record of 3-1. After opening the season with back-to-back wins over Westmont College (51-42) and the University of San Francisco (69-49), the Gauchos dropped a 73-62 road decision at USC on Monday night, before bouncing back on Wednesday with a 68-58 win over the defending Mountain West Conference champion BYU.

Hull And Defense Key Victory Over BYU
On Wednesday, junior forward Mark Hull hit his first shot, a three-pointer from the corner, and then struggled for the next 30 minutes. Late in the second half, however, was a different story. Hull scored 18 points in the second half, 15 during a decisive 27-9 run, to lead UCSB to a 68-58 win over BYU. Hull's offensive explosion, coupled with a suffocating second half defense were the key factors in arguably the biggest non-conference win during the Bob Williams era at Santa Barbara. The Gauchos, after allowing the Cougars to hit 53.8% of its field goal attempts in the first half, limited them to 23.1% (6-of-26) in the second half. Just as significant, however, was that UCSB allowed BYU to attempt just one three-pointer in the second half. After going 5-of-13 from three-point range in the first half, the Cougars attempted and made just one in the second half. UCSB's perimeter players, B.J. Ward, Jacoby Atako, Nick Jones, Mark Hull and Branduinn Fullove, were primarily responsible for the stifling defense in the second. Forward Adama Ndiaye also played a key role, recording all three of his blocked shots in the final four minutes. The victory was UCSB's first ever over BYU, snapping a four game losing streak.

Quick Start Is The Best In A While
UCSB is off to a 3-1 start to the 2001-02 season. The last time the Gauchos opened a season with a 3-1 record was in 1994-95 when they recorded wins over Wagner College, Delaware and Pepperdine. The last time the Gauchos opened the season better than 3-1 was in 1992-93 when they opened the campaign at 6-0.

Bob Williams Show To Debut On KEYT Newsradio Tuesday
The Bob Williams Show will makes its debut on KEYT Newsradio 1250 on Tuesday, December 4 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The show will be dedicated in part to the UCSB men's basketball team, but it will also have segements dedicated to other Gaucho athletes and coaches. The show will be broadcast live from the Paradise Café at 702 Anacapa Street in downtown Santa Barbara. Randy Lee, the voice of the Gauchos, will join Coach Williams as the co-hosts of the program.

What About Bob?
Bob Williams is in his fourth season as head coach at UCSB. Last year he 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 45-43 record. The 45 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. Each season under Williams, the Gauchos have progressively gotten better and better, playing their best basketball late in the season. In fact, in three years under his guidance, UCSB has logged a 31-17 record in Big West games, a winning percentage of .646, and among the top three in league over that span. In his first season, Williams guided 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. 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 234-142 (.622) record.

The Gauchos & Gaels
UC Santa Barbara and St. Mary's have played 31 times over the years with the Gauchos holding a 20-11 advantage. Last season, however, UCSB played its worst game of the year at Moraga, losing by a score of 71-63. The victory over the Gauchos was St. Mary's only Division I win all of last season and, until they defeated Sacramento State on Wednesday, it was the only victory the Gaels had recorded over a 25 game span. The last time the teams met in Santa Barbara, during the 1999-2000 season, the Gauchos registered a 68-57 victory.

The Gauchos At Home
UCSB enters the St. Mary's game with a 2-0 record at the Thunderdome. Last year the Gauchos were 9-5 at home. In Bob Williams' coaching tenure, the team has posted a 28-16 record at home overall and a 21-7mark in Big West.

Pepperdine Game Moved To 7:00 PM
UCSB's December 8 home game against Pepperdine, originally scheduled for 5:00 p.m. to accommodate television, has been moved to 7:00 p.m. Fox Sports Net, which was to televise the game originally has changed its schedule and will not be carrying the Gaucho-Wave clash.

Possible Starters - Notes
G - Jacoby Atako - Leads the Gauchos with 14 assists in the first four games.
G - Branduinn Fullove - Has made 22 consecutive free throws over the last three games.
G - Mark Hull - Since scoring ten points in the opener, he has averaged 18.3 points in the last three.
F - Mike Vukovich - Played a season-high 17 minutes in the win over BYU.
F - Adama Ndiaye - Has had three double-figure rebound performances in the first four games.

Possible Reserves - Notes
G - Nick Jones - Tied his career-high with three steals in the win over BYU.
G - B.J. Ward - Had nine points, four assists and a career-high three steals against BYU.
G - Chrismen Oliver - Played one minute in each of the first two games. Did not play in last two.
G - Chris Newell - Played one minute at USF, his first career action.
F - Bray Skultety - Played two minutes at USF, his first career action.
F - Casey Cook - Played a season-low four minutes in win over BYU.
F - Bryan Whitehead - Has attempted just five shots in 44 minutes.
F - J.J. Todd - Herniated disk in his back has him sidelined indefinitely.

UCSB Gets Defensive Early
While the Gauchos have yet to light-it-up on the offensive end of the court, their work on the defensive end has generally been solid. When BYU made 14-of-26 (53.8%) shots in the first half Wednesday, it was the first time this season that an opponent had made 50.0% of its shots in any half. In the second half, the Cougars made just 6-of-26, a meager 23.1%, to finish at 38.5% for the game. In eight halves of basketball, UCSB has limited the opposition to below 30.0% five times. On the season, opponents are making just 33.2% of their shots against the Gauchos. In addition, UCSB has limited three out of four opponents to fewer than 60 points and two to fewer than 50 points.

Turning Over A New Leaf
In each of the first three games this season, UCSB produced more turnovers than assists. They had 20 turnovers and just ten assists against Westmont, 17 turnovers and 12 assists at USF, and then 18 turnovers and 13 assists at USC. On Wednesday, they turned that around, producing 15 assists and just 11 turnovers. On the season, the Gauchos have now piled up 66 turnovers and 50 assists.

Thunderdome Is Two-Point Territory
On the season, UCSB is shooting just 40.2% from the field. From three-point range, they are hitting at a 33.9% clip. Interestingly, the Gauchos have had much more success shooting three-pointers on the road than they have at home. On Wednesday, in the win over BYU, UCSB hit just 3-of-16 shots from beyond the arc, 18.8%. In the season-opener against Westmont, they made just 3-of-14, 21.4%. In two home games, the Gauchos have combined to make 6-of-30 shots from three-point territory, 20.0%. By contrast, in road games at USF and USC, the Gauchos have drilled 14 of their 29 three-point attempts, an outstanding 48.3%.

Steady Hull Reclaims His Leadership Role
Junior Mark Hull struggled offensively for the Gauchos in the opener against Westmont, making just 3-of-11 shots, in the last three games, however, he has found his stride. In Wednesday's win over BYU, Hull scored a season-high 23 point, the second highest total of his career, and he took over the game offensively in the second half, scoring 18 of his 23 points after the break. In fact, Hull scored 15 of his 18 second half points in the final ten minutes. Ironically, in the first three games of the season, Hull scored a total of 13 points in the second halves. Overall, the junior from Glendale is now averaging 16.2 points per game, but in the last three games he has averaged 18.3 per game. In addition, after making just 3-of-11 from the field in the season-opener against Westmont, he has hit 22-of-42 shots, 52.4%. Hull has made a team-best 7-of-18 shots from three-point territory, 38.9%, but in the last three games he has hit 6-of-12, 50.0%. As for the rebounding end of things, he has come up with at least five in all four games and he is averaging 6.5 per game overall.

Fullove Hits A Bump In The Road
Guard Branduinn Fullove hit a bump in the road on Wednesday. After making his first field goal attempt in the win over BYU, he missed his next 11, finishing 1-for-12, the worst shooting performance of his career. Still, Fullove is off to a good start this season, leading the Gauchos in scoring at 16.8 points per game. He paced the team in each of the first two games with 19 against Westmont and 22 against USF, and he has been in double-figures in all four games. While he doesn't have the highest three-point percentage on the team, Fullove does lead the team with eight. Prior to going 0-for-5 from three-point territory against BYU, he had made 8-of-17. He is also picking up where he left off last season at the free throw line. After opening the year by making 3-of-6, he has made his last 22 in a row, pulling to within ten of the UCSB record of 32 in a row, set during the 1982-83 season by Frank Horwath. Fullove has now made 25-of-28 charity attempts, 89.3%. In fact, no other three Gauchos combined have made 25 free throws. Hull, Ndiaye and Ward, the three players with the most successful free throw attempts outside of Fullove, have combined to make 24.

Ndiaye Rebounds From Fractured Finger
Senior forward Adama Ndiaye is rebounding from the fractured finger that sidelined him last season, literally. While Ndiaye has had problems on the offensive end of the court (7.2 points per game and a 36.7% mark from the field), he has done an outstanding job rebounding, recording three of his seven best marks ever. In the opener against Westmont, he had 14 boards. Foul trouble limited Ndiaye to five rebounds in 17 minutes at USF, he bounced back with 13 rebounds at USC on Monday and then 11 in the win over BYU. He easily leads the Gauchos with an average of 10.8 rebounds per game. In addition to his rebound feats, Ndiaye's seven blocked shots this season give him 80 in his career, the fourth highest total in school history. He had three blocked shots against BYU, all in the final six minutes of the game as the Cougars tried to mount a comeback.

Ward Of The Court
B.J. Ward struggled in UCSB's road games at USF and USC. In the win over BYU, however, he bounced back with his best performance of the year, and one of the best of his career. Ward finished with nine points, four assists, three steals and a pair of rebounds. He made both of his field goal attempts and 5-of-6 from the free throw line. Most importantly, however, he did not commit a turnover and he was a major piece of the defensive scheme that puzzled BYU to the tune of 23.1% shooting in the second half.

Gaucho Notes
Mike Vukovich played a season-high 17 minutes in the win over BYU and for the first time this year, he did not commit four personal fouls. The 6-foot-9 senior was whistled for just two fouls. In each of the first three games, his minutes were limited because of foul trouble as he logged four in each game...Since making just 1-for-7 from the field in the sesaon opener against Westmont, Nick Jones has hit 8-of-17, 47.1%...Casey Cook played a season-low four minutes against BYU, and after pulling down 14 rebounds in the two games prior to Wednesday, he didn't have one against the Cougars...Branduinn Fullove and Mark Hull have both played 30 or more minutes in each of the first four games...Adama Ndiaye has played exactly 33 minutes in three of the games this season. In his previous two seasons of action, he played 33 or more three times in 51 games...The Gauchos have outscored opponents by just three points in the first half of games. In the second half, on the other hand, they have outscored the opposition by 25 points...Since being outrebounded in the season-opener, UCSB has outrebounded its opponents by a margin of 18 rebounds. They outrebounded USF by 15, USC by three and in the win over BYU, they were even...Jacoby Atako is averaging 2.0 points and shooting 16.7 from the field in home games. In road games, Atako is averaging 8.0 points per game and making 45.5% of his field goal attempts.

On The Horizon
Following tonight's game against St. Mary's, the Gauchos will hit the road for a game at Loyola Marymount on Wednesday, December 5 at 7:00 p.m.. UCSB returns home for a scenic campus showdown with Pepperdine on Saturday, December 8 at 7:00 p.m.