Game No. 6
Saturday, December 7, 2002 at 5:30 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Pepperdine University Waves
at Pepperdine's Firestone Fieldhouse
Fox Sports Net 2
Game No. 7
Tuesday, December 10, 2002 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Cal Bears
at Cal's Haas Pavilion
The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara enters Saturday's game against Pepperdine with a record of 3-2 and a three-game winning streak. On Tuesday night, the Gauchos trounced USC by a score of 69-53. After opening the year with two losses in the BP Top of the World Classic, UCSB has put together wins over Centenary and San Francisco, in addition to USC.
Victory Over Trojans Snaps Two Streaks
UCSB's 16-point victory over USC on Tuesday ended a pair of streaks. The victory marked the first time ever that the Gauchos had beaten the Trojans, snapping an 11-game losing streak. In addition, the win was UCSB's first over a Pac-Ten team since December 19, 1989 when they defeated Oregon, 70-54. In the win over USC, the Gauchos were led by Branduinn Fullove who scored 23 points, making all four of his three-point attempts, and had seven rebounds. In addition, Mark Hull added 17 points, nine rebounds and six assists, and Nick Jones had 15 points and nine rebounds. UCSB limited the Trojans to 32.8% shooting from the floor overall, 24.2% in the second half. Finally, despite a major league size disadvantage, the Gauchos outrebounded USC, 41-33.
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 65-55 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 254-155 at four-year schools.
Possible Starters - Notes
G - Jacoby Atako - In his last four games, he has had 20 assists and seven turnovers.
G - Nick Jones - He is the only Gaucho to score ten or more in all five games.
G - Branduinn Fullove - In the last four games he as averaged 20.0 ppg.
F - Mark Hull - Tied his career-high with six assists in win over USC.
F - Bryan Whitehead - Has six blocked shots in the last three games.
Probable Reserves - Notes
G - B.J. Ward - Has not attempted a shot in either of the last two games.
G - Chrismen Oliver - Scored his first basket of the season vs. USF.
G - Cecil Brown - Has had career-high four rebounds in each of the last two games.
G - Josh Davis - For the first time this season, he went scoreless vs. USC.
F - Bray Skultety - Torn ACL in left knee will sideline him for the season.
F - Casey Cook - Had five rebounds in first three games nine in the last two.
F - Glenn Turner - Is slated to redshirt his first season at UCSB.
F - Scott Rainey - Has played one minute in each of the last three games.
F - Derek Wheeler - Has played in each of the last three 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.
Versatile Hull Continues To Scale Top-Ten Lists
Senior forward Mark Hull has become even more versatile this season. He is doing more of the Gauchos' ballhandling and playmaking, and his efforts on the boards have been outstanding. In Tuesday's win over USC, the Glendale native scored 17 points, but more impressively, he tied for the team lead in rebounding with nine and he tied his career-high with six assists. The nine rebounds was Hull's season-high and it tied his second-best total ever. In fact, he has had six or more rebounds in four of the five games this season and is averaging 6.4 per game, second on the team and well above his average of 5.1 per game last season. Hull has also passed off for 15 assists in the five games, an average of 3.0 per outing, more than half an assist more than he averaged last season. With 17 points in Tuesday's win over USC, Hull has now scored 1,220 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 eight points to pass Gary Gray, 16 points to pass Ricky Walker, 17 points to pass Conner Henry and 28 to pass Richard Anderson. If, and when, he gets to that point, Hull would rank sixth on UCSB's all-time scoring list. He has scored in double-figures four times in five games and his 23-point effort in the opener against Weber State is tied for the highest total by a Gaucho through five games. Hull has made at least one three-point basket in each of the five games and his 11 this season give him 158 for his career, fourth on UCSB's career list. He needs five 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 five games, Jones is the only Gaucho player to have scored in double-figures in every game. He is second on the team in scoring at 16.2 points per game, and he leads the team in rebounding at 6.8 per contest. In Tuesday's win over USC, the 6-foot-4 Jones had 15 points and nine rebounds. In the previous game, against USF, he 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 four of the five games and he has also scored 15 or more points in four of the five. He has now had 13 career games with seven or more rebounds, including nine in 59 games entering the season and four in the first five games this year. Jones also leads the team in three-point field goal percentage at 62.5%. 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, he 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.
Fullove Continues To Roll
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 nicely. He has paced the Gauchos in scoring in each of the last three games, including season-highs of 23 points and seven rebounds in Tuesday's win over USC. Overall, Fullove now leads the team in scoring at 17.8 points per game. In the last four games, Fullove has has averaged 20.0 points per game, made 26-of-42 shots from the field, 61.9%, and 11-of-17 from beyond the three-point arc, 64.7%. His 4-for-4 effort from beyond the three-point half moon against USC was a personal best. Also, his 23 points against the Trojans tied the second-best total of hsi career and pushed him past the 800 point mark for his career. Fullove enters Saturday's game at Pepperdine with 817 career points and a career scoring average of 13.6 points per game, a figure that, if it stayed the same, would rank him sixth all-time. He also enters Saturday's game with 98 career three-point buckets and he is threatening to become the sixth Gaucho in history to hit the 100 three-pointer mark.
Big Three Gangs-Up On USC
The Gauchos' first win ever over USC was certainly a team effort, but threesome of Branduinn Fullove, Mark Hull and Nick Jones combined to do much of the damage. The trio combined for 55 points, two more than USC scored as a team and almost 80 percent of the Gauchos' total of 69. They had 25 of UCSB's 41 rebounds, made 19-of-34 shots overall, 55.9%, and 9-of-13 from three-point range, 69.2%. In addition, led by Hull's career-high six, the group had ten of the team's 17 assists.
Big Three: Game-By-Game
The combination of Mark Hull, Nick Jones and Branduinn Fullove has been a potent one or the Gauchos this season. Their performance against USC was particularly outstanding, but it was also fairly typical. Here is a game-by-game rundown of the stats the trio has produced this season.
Opponents Points Rebounds Assists Weber State 52 17 11 Jacksonville State 46 16 3 Centenary 38 10 6 USF 44 19 8 USC 55 25 10 Averages 47.0 17.4 7.6Note: Hull, Jones and Fullove have also combined to make 33-of-62 shots from three-point territory, 53.2%.
The Gauchos On The Road
UCSB is a perfect 0-0 on the road this season. Actually, the Gauchos are 1-2 away from home, having lost two out of three at the BP Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks. Last season, UCSB posted a 6-7 record in true road games and a 4-1 record in neutral court games.
The Gauchos & Waves
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.
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 few games. Last 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. With another blocked shot on Tuesday against USC, he has swatted six shots in 69 minutes over the last three games after blocking a total of five in 355 minutes all of last season. As for Cook, he had five points, a season-high five rebounds and a blocked shot in 20 minutes against USC. Just as importantly, he played well defensively as the Trojans' post tandem of Kostas Charissis and Rory O'Neil combined for just five points on 2-of-6 shooting from the field, and five rebounds. On November 24, 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. 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 backups 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.
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 the last two games, they have outrebounded the opposition. 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 and then on Tuesday they outrebounded a much bigger USC team, 41-33. Against USF, five different Gauchos had five or more rebounds and two others had four. Against USC, three Gauchos had seven or more rebounds, four had five or more boards and five had four or more. With their solid rebounding efforts in the last two games, UCSB is now outrebounding its opposition on the season, 32.6 to 29.4, a positive margin of +3.2.
Rebounding Is Getting Offensive Too
After collecting just 22 offensive rebounds in their first three games, the Gauchos have had 29 in the last two games. Interestingly, the 29 offensive boards have come on just 60 missed field goal attempts. In other words, the Gauchos have grabbed 48.3% of their own missed shots over the last two games.
Field Goal Percentage: Chapter One
UCSB is shooting the ball well this season. In five games, the Gauchos have made 132-of-259 shots from the field, 51.0%. Only once has UCSB shot below 45.0%, going for 44.9% against Jacksonville State. In their last three games, the Gauchos have hit 81-of-156 shots, 52.0%. In the first win of the season, over Centenary, UCSB hit 27-of-42 shots from the floor, 64.3%. Seven of nine Gaucho regulars are shooting 50.0% or better with guards Jacoby Atako and Cecil Brown as the only exceptions.
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. On Tuesday, Santa Barbara continued to turn-the-tables on the defensive end, allowing USC to make just 19-of-58 shots overall, 32.8%, and just 8-of-33, 24.2%, in the second 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. In the last two games, UCSB has allowed the opposition to make just 36-of-116 shots, 31.0%. On the year, the opposition's field goal percentage has drifted down to 41.9%, 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.
UCSB Picked To Win Big West By Coaches & Media
For the first time ever, UCSB was selected to win the Big West regular season title by both the coaches and the media. In the annual poll taken at the league's Media Day, the Gauchos were selected first, followed by Utah State and UC Irvine. Utah State has either won or tied for each of the last two regular season league titles. UC Irvine tied for last year's regular season crown. UCSB won its first Big West Conference Tournament ever following a third-place regular season finish last year.
In its three wins this season, UCSB's opponents have gone just 12-for-52 from three-point range, 23.1%. 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%.
Three For All
When UCSB drained nine three-point baskets in its win over USC on Tuesday night, it was the fourth time in five games this season that they had made exactly nine threes. The only time the Gauchos did not make exactly nine three-pointers was in a win over USF when they made three. 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 five contests of the 2002-03 season, the Gauchos have made 39 three-point baskets, an average of 7.8 per game. Last year, Santa Barbara made 6.5 threes per outing. In five games, UCSB is now hitting 47.0% from three-point territory and they have three players, Nick Jones, Mark Hull and Branduinn Fullove, who are each averaging at least 2.0 three-pointers per game and all three have hit at least one three-pointer in each game.