Men's Basketball Takes Two Game Winning Streak Into Tuesday Showdown With Visiting USC
Game No. 5
Tuesday, December 3, 2002 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. USC Trojans
at UCSB's Thunderdome
Game No. 6
Saturday, December 7, 2002 at 6:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Pepperdine University Waves
at Pepperdine's Firestone Fieldhouse
Fox Sports Net 2
The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara enters Tuesday's home game against the University of Southern California with a 2-2 record. After opening the season at the BP Top of the World Classic with losses to Weber State and Jacksonville State, the Gauchos have put together back-to-back wins over Centenary and the University of San Francisco. On Saturday, the Gauchos won their home opener, blowing out USF, 70-47.
USC Begins Tough Stretch For Gauchos
UCSB will open one of its most difficult schedule segments in many years on Tuesday. The Gauchos will take on four consecutive opponents that advanced to postseason play last season. On Tuesday, December 3, the Gauchos host USC, an NCAA Tournament qualifier last season, in a 7:00 p.m. contest. Santa Barbara then travels to Pepperdine (December 7), Cal (December 10) and BYU (December 21). Mixed in will be a December 18 home exhibition game against Westmont College. Following the game at BYU, the Gauchos will be off for Christmas before heading to Tempe, Arizona to take part in the azcentral.com/Arizona State Classic. UCSB will play Nebraska in the first round on December 27.
The Gauchos On The Radio
All UC Santa Barbara basketball games are broadcast live on KEYT radio, 1250 AM in Santa Barbara. Brock Bowling is in his first season as the play-by-play announcer and Don Ford is in his sixth year as the primary color announcer. Much to the consternation of the listening public, UCSB Director of Athletic Media Relations Bill Mahoney will handle the color for selected road broadcasts.
The Bob Williams Show
The Bob Williams Show airs Tuesday nights from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on KEYT NewsRadio 1250 AM. The Voice of the Gauchos, Brock Bowling, co-hosts the show with Williams. In addition to men's basketball, the show will feature other UCSB athletes and coaches. The Bob Williams show will air every Tuesday night for the remainder of the season.
What About Bob?
Bob Williams is in his fifth season as the head coach at UC Santa Barbara. Last year, he guided the Gauchos to a 20-11 overall record and an 11-7 mark in Big West Conference play. It was the school's first 20-win season since 1992. Most importantly, however, Williams led UCSB to its first Big West Conference Tournament Championship ever and first NCAA Tournament appearance in 12 years. In his first four-plus seasons in Santa Barbara, Williams' teams have posted a 64-55 overall record and a 42-24 record in Big West games. In 1998-99, his first year, the Gauchos went 15-13 overall and 12-4 in the Big West, winning the league's Western Division championship. That year, they closed the campaign by going 15-5 and Williams was selected Big West Coach of the Year. 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 each of his last four seasons, the Aggies advanced to the NCAA Tournament and in 1997-98, Williams' final season, they 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 253-155 at four-year schools.
Possible Starters - Notes
G - Jacoby Atako - Had eight points, five rebounds and three assists vs. USF.
G - Nick Jones - Third double-double of his career vs. USF, 16 points, ten rebounds.
G - Branduinn Fullove - Has averaged 19.0 points in the last three games.
F - Mark Hull - Scored nine points vs. USF, now has 1,203, tenth all-time at UCSB.
F - Bryan Whitehead - Has pulled down five boards in each of the last two games.
Probable Reserves - Notes
G - B.J. Ward - Went for five rebounds in just 12 minutes vs. USF.
G - Chrismen Oliver - Scored his first basket of the season on Saturday.
G - Cecil Brown - Had career-highs of four rebounds and two assists vs. USF.
G - Josh Davis - He has scored four points in each of the last three games.
F - Bray Skultety - Torn ACL in left knee will sideline him for the season.
F - Casey Cook - After career-high 16 vs. Centenary, he fouled out vs. USF.
F - Glenn Turner - Is slated to redshirt his first season at UCSB.
F - Scott Rainey - Has played one minute in each of the last two games.
F - Derek Wheeler - Has played in each of the last two games.
Skultety's Season Ends With Knee Injury
For the first couple weeks of practice, senior forward Bray Skultety was making a very strong bid for the starting nod at the five spot. Skultety emerged over the final 25 games last season, becoming one of the Gauchos' top rebounders and a sparkplug off the bench. He was a great story. In only his second year of organized basketball, Skultety, a walk-on, had become a regular on a team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Awarded a scholarship prior to this season, Skultety's story kept getting better and better, but on November 1, the tale took a turn for the worse. In practice on that Friday, Skultety tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, ending his season and most likely his collegiate career. As a fifth-year senior, an injury redshirt year is a very remote possibility. In 2001-02, Skultety played in 26 games, starting one, averaging 2.5 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. He easily led the team in rebounds per 40 minutes played at 16.2, and despite his 6-foot-6 height, he ranked second on the team in blocked shots with 13.
Hull Hits 1,200 Point Mark, UCSB Top-Ten
Senior forward Mark Hull scored nine points in Saturday's win over the University of San Francisco. While the game marked the first time this season that Hull didn't score in double-figures, he did record one major accomplishment. With the nine-point effort, Hull has now scored 1,203 career points. He is the tenth UCSB player to surpass the 1,200 point mark and now he eyes several other spots on the list. Hull needs 25 points to pass Gary Gray, 33 points to pass Ricky Walker, 34 points to pass Conner Henry and 45 to pass Richard Anderson. If, and when, he gets to that point, Hull would rank sixth on UCSB's all-time scoring list. While he had just nine points on Saturday, he is still averaging 13.2 points per game, third on the team, and he is second in rebounding at 5.8 per game. Hull's 23-point effort in the opener against Weber State is the highest total by a Gaucho through four games this season. In addition, he has had six or more rebounds in three of the four games, going for a high of eight against Weber State. Hull has made at least one three-point basket in each of the four games and his eight this season give him 155 for his career, fourth on UCSB's career list. He needs eight to move past Mark Flick and into the number three spot.
Keeping Up With Jones
For the first time in his career at UCSB, junior guard Nick Jones opened the season as a starter. In each of his first two years, Jones began the season as a spark off the bench and he ended each campaign as a spark in the starting lineup. Jones is taking advantage of his early starting opportunities. After four games, Jones is the only Gaucho player to have scored in double-figures in every game. He is tied for the team-lead in scoring at 16.5 points per game, and he leads the team in rebounding at 6.2 per contest. In Saturday's win over USF, the 6-foot-4 Jones produced the third double-double of his career, going for 16 points and a team-high ten rebounds. The ten rebounds was the third-highest total of his career and Jones has, in fact, had seven or more rebounds in three of the four games and he has also scored 15 or more points in three of the four. Jones is also tied for the team-lead in three-point baskets with eight and he leads the team in three-point field goal percentage at 61.5%. Although UCSB went just 1-2 at the BP Top of the World Classic, Jones was a standout. In each of the first two games of the tourney, against Weber State and Jacksonville State, Jones scored 20 points and had seven rebounds. It marked the first time in his career that he had scored 20 or more points in back-to-back games, and the 20 points rank as Jones' fourth-highest scoring efforts ever. The seven rebounds in each of the two games rank as his fifth-highest total ever. Following the tournament, Jones was named to the All-Tournament Team.
Fullove Returns To Form
Junior guard Branduinn Fullove strained his knee and missed more than two weeks of practice. During that time, UCSB played its only exhibition game. Fullove returned to practice just a couple of days before the Gauchos boarded several planes and took off for the BP Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska. Despite his rustiness and the fact that he did not play in the team's exhibition, Fullove was in the starting lineup when the first ball of 2002-03 was tossed in the air. The rustiness showed in that first game, a loss to Weber State, as Fullove had an un-Fullovelike game, making just 1-of-8 shots from the field and just 6-of-10 from the free throw line. Fullove's lone field goal in the opener was a three-pointer as the buzzer sounded to end the first half. While he did lead the Gauchos with six assists in the opener, he had just nine points and two rebounds as UCSB lost 91-82. Fullove, however, has bounced back. He has paced the Gauchos in scoring in each of the last two games, going for 22 points in just 24 minutes against Centenary, and then for 19 points in 27 minutes against San Francisco. Overall, he has tied Nickk Jones for the team-lead in scoring at 16.5 per game. In the last three games, Fullove has has averaged 19.0 points per game, made 18-of-30 shots from the field, 60.0%, and 7-of-13 from beyond the three-point arc, 53.8%. He enters the USC game needing just six points to hit the 800-point mark for his career and with 94 three-point baskets in his career, he ranks seventh on the school's all-time list and needs just six more to become the sixth Santa Barbara player in history to eclipse the 100 three-point basket mark.
Home Sweet Home
Saturday's win over San Francisco gives UCSB a 1-0 record at home this season and, dating back to last year, the Gauchos have now won seven straight games at the Thunderdome. Last season, the Gauchos posted a 10-2 record in home games, its best home record since 1989-90 when they went 11-2. UCSB's only two home losses last season came at the hands of Big West opponents Utah State and UC Irvine. The Gauchos were unbeaten in non-conference home games in 2001-02, recording wins over Pepperdine, BYU, St. Mary's and Westmont College. In fact, dating back to the 2000-01 season, UCSB has a six game winning streak in non-conference home games. The last non-conference opponent to beat the Gauchos at the Thunderdome? USC on December 9, 2000 by a score of 75-73.
The Gauchos and USC have met 11 times over the years and the Trojans have won all 11 games. Last season, USC beat UCSB in Los Angeles by a score of 73-62. The last time the teams met in Santa Barbara, on December 9, 2000, the Trojans edged the Gauchos, 75-73. UCSB and Pepperdine have met on 62 occasions with the Waves holding a 33-29 edge. Last season in Santa Barbara, the Gauchos posted a 68-51 win. The last time the teams met in Malibu, the Gauchos' season-opener in 2000, the Waves won, 64-53.
In its two wins this season, UCSB opponents went 5-for-31 from three-point range, 16.1%. In the Gauchos' two defeats, the opposition made 17-of-32 shots from beyond the three-point arc, 53.1%. Last year, Santa Barbara was one of the best teams in the nation at preventing three-point baskets as they limited opponents to just 202-of-644, 31.4%.
Committee No. 2: Rebounding
It is no secret that rebounding is going to be a challenge for UCSB all season. The Gauchos were outrebounded in each of the three games at the BP Top of the World Classic, but they weren't killed on the boards. Santa Barbara was outrebounded by margins of two, four and one, a total of seven rebounds over three games. In Saturday's win over San Francisco, the Gauchos had easily their best performance of the season, outrebounding the Dons by a 46-31 margin. Nick Jones, the team's leading rebounder at 6.2 per game, became the first UCSB player this season to hit double-digits in boards with ten, but he wasn't the only contributor. Five different Gauchos (Jones, Mark Hull, Bryan Whitehead, Jacoby Atako and B.J. Ward) had five or more rebounds and two others, Cecil Brown and Casey Cook, had four. With their solid rebound effort against USF, UCSB is now outrebounding its opposition on the season, 30.5 to 28.5.
Three For All
Although they made just 3-of-11 shots from three-point territory against San Francisco, UCSB seems to have picked-up where it left off last season from beyond the arc. The Gauchos ended last year by making 16 three-point baskets in an NCAA Tournament loss to Arizona. The 16 threes in the game against the Wildcats gave UCSB a school-record 201 for the season. In their first four contests of the 2002-03 season, the Gauchos have made 30 three-point baskets, an average of 7.5 per game. Last year, Santa Barbara made 6.5 threes per outing. The Gauchos made exactly nine three-pointers in each of the first three games this season, shooting 50.3% over that span. In four games, UCSB is now hitting 46.9% from three-point territory and they have three players, Nick Jones, Mark Hull and Branduinn Fullove, who have each made eight in the first three games, with each player hitting at least one in all four.
Free Throw Tandem
UCSB has attempted 82 free throws this season. Two players, Branduinn Fullove and Nick Jones, have combined for 43 attempts, more than half of the team's total of 82. Fullove easily leads the team with 29 free throw attempts, making 20. Jones has 14 attempts, making ten. No other Gaucho player has attempted more than nine. Mark Hull, who leads the team in minutes played with 133, has tried just six free throws this season. In fact, after Fullove, the next three closest Gauchos in terms of free throw attempts, Jones, Cecil Brown (nine) and Hull, have combined for 29, the same total as Fullove.
Committee No. 1: The Post
Early in the 2002-03 season, the Gauchos are calling on a committee of two, sophomore Casey Cook and junior Brian Whitehead, for their post play. The season-ending knee injury to Bray Skultety has forced Bob Williams to use Whitehead for more minutes than expected and Cook at a relatively unfamiliar position. After a slow start, the duo has done a better job in the last couple of games. On Saturday against USF, Whitehead had his best all-around game, equalling his season-highs with six points and five rebounds, and setting a new personal-best with three assists. He also had a pair of blocked shots, one short of the total he had in the previous game against Centenary. He has swatted five shots in 50 minutes over the last two games after blocking a total of five in 355 minutes all of last season. As for Cook, although he fouled out of the game against San Francisco, he did have a season-high four rebounds, and he scored four points. In the previous game, against Centenary, Cook set a career-high of 16 points, making 6-of-7 shots from the field, in just 18 minutes. The most impressive thing about the 16-point effort was how Cook scored the points. He made a variety of shots, including short jumpers, jump hooks and even a three-pointer. In addition, he was returning to regular season action for the first time in a while. Last year, Cook partially tore ligaments in his right thumb and after he played in the season's first six games, it was decided that he just couldn't function well with the injury and the Gauchos petitioned the NCAA for an injury redshirt season. Whitehead, on the other hand, played in 29 games, starting 11 in the middle of the season, but he saw his playing time dwindle late in the year. Both were presumed back-ups this season, Whitehead at the five and Cook at the four, but the injury to Skultety changed all of that and the duo seems to be making progress.
Field Goal Percentage: Chapter One
UCSB is shooting the ball well this season. In four games, the Gauchos have made 108-of-206 shots from the field, 52.4%. Only once has UCSB shot below 45.0%, going for 44.9% against Jacksonville State. In their last two games, the Gauchos have hit 57-of-103 shots, 55.3%. In the first win of the season, over Centenary, UCSB hit 27-of-42 shots from the floor, 64.3%. Nine of ten Gaucho regulars are shooting 50.0% or better with the lone exception being freshman Cecil Brown who has made 7-of-17 shots, 41.2%.
Field Goal Percentage: Chapter Two
For the first three games of the season, the defensive side of the court was not as kind to UCSB as the offensive end. In the three games at the BP Top of the World Classic, the Gauchos allowed the opposition to make 73-of-144 shots, 50.7%. In the fourth game, a win over USF, things turned around. The Gauchos limited the Dons to a mere 17-of-58, 29.3%. In fact, UCSB held USF below 30.0% in each half. In the season-opener, Weber State made 59.3% from the field, a higher percentage than the Gauchos allowed in 31 games last year. The 30.0% improvement against San Francisco was a bit more in line with what Santa Barbara became used to last season when opponents shot just 38.3% against the Gauchos, the sixth best mark in the NCAA.
Atako Hopes To Break Pattern
Junior point guard Jacoby Atako went scoreless in two of the three games in Alaska. In the opener against Weber State, he went scoreless and did not play well, passing off for just two assists and turning the ball over three times. He did, however, get better. In the second game, against Jacksonville State, Atako scored eight points, making both of his three-point attempts, and he had four assists with two turnovers. In the final game, although he did not score, he ran the offense well, passing off for eight assists, and he turned the ball over only one time. The eight assists against Centenary equaled the second-highest total of Atako's career. In Saturday's win over USF, he tied his season-high with eight points, he passed off for three assists and he recorded a season-high of three steals. After going for 0, 8, 0 and 8 points in the first four, Atako hopes to break the pattern against USC. He does lead the Gauchos' in assists with 17 (4.2 per game) and in steals with six (1.5 per game). Atako has at least one steal in each of the last three games.
UCSB has outscored its opponents in the first half of games, 157-130, but they have been outscored in the second half of games, 150-145...After being outscored in their first two games by a totalof 16 points, the Gauchos have outscored their last two opponents, Centenary and USF, by a total of 38 points...UCSB has had three different players lead the team in scoring in the first four games...Three different Gauchos have already scored 20 or more points in a game and five different Gauchos have made at least two three-point baskets in a game...After blocking just five shots in 355 minutes last season, Bryan Whitehead has five blocked shots in the last two games, a total of 50 minutes...Eight different Gauchos have at least one steal.