December 10, 2002

Tonight's Game: UC Santa Barbara at Cal

Dec. 10, 2002

Tonight UCSB battles Cal in their second preseason game against a Pac 10 school. UCSB is coming off a 72-68 loss at Pepperdine, and Cal is coming off a loss to Georgia. The game will start at 7:00 p.m. at Hass Pavilion and will be broadcast on KEYT 1250.

UCSB Probable Starting Lineup:
Santa Barbara has solidified a starting five. Running the point will be junior Jacoby Atako who has 23 assists in the last five games and only 9 turnovers. Alongside Atako in the backcourt will be fellow juniors Branduinn Fullove and Nick Jones. Fullove is coming off one of the toughest games of his career, going 2-6 from the field and finishing with only four points. Fullove also fouled out against Pepperdine, something he had never done before in his career. Jones, the Gaucho's leading scorer at 16.3 points per game, dropped 17 against the Waves and currently has a better three-point shooting percentage then overall shooting percentage. On the blocks for the Gauchos will be Mark Hull and Bryan Whitehead. Hull notched 18 points against Pepperdine, 3.3 more then his season average, and went 4-8 from behind the arc. Whitehead is averaging just below four points per game and has eight blocked shots.

Cal Probable Starting Lineup:
The Bears enter tonight's game with a 20-game home winning streak against non-conference opponents. Starting in the backcourt for Cal will likely be Brian Wethers and A.J. Diggs. Diggs picked up eight steals against Cleveland State last Saturday tying a school record previously held by Jason Kidd. Wethers is Cal's most athletic player, according to Coach Ben Braun. He is averaging around 15 points per game and is shooting 53 % from the floor. Joe Shipp and Amit Tamir will man the blocks for the Bears. Shipp is Cal's leader this season, racking up 21.5 points per game and shooting the lights out from three-point range. He has moved himself up nine spots on Cal's all-time scoring list to number 20, passing the likes of Larry Friend, Ed Grey and Andy Wolfe. Tamir, another prolific scorer, has the ability and height to play both inside and out. In Cal's overtime loss to Georgia, Tamir scored 27 points and grabbed 11 boards. The center for the Bears will likely be Gabriel Hughes.

Scouting the Bears:
Cal is coming home after three games away from Hass Pavilion. Shipp and Tamir have been the go-to guys on the road trip, consistently leading the Bears. Long-range bombs also seem to be a trend with Cal. So far they're shooting an impressive 45.3 % from behind the arc and they have hit ten threes in two consecutive games. Shipp has hit 11 of his 18 three-point attempts and Tamir has connected on 10 of his 20 attempts. UCSB is going to have to protect against the three-point shot. Aside from that, Santa Barbara is going to have their hands full with Tamir. The 6-11 sophomore is averaging 16 points per game and 10.5 rebounds. He is also leading Cal with 17 assists.

Scouting the Gauchos:
Much like Cal, three-point shooting seems to be a main method of scoring for the Gauchos. On the season Santa Barbara is shooting a remarkable 46 % from behind the three-point line, which is four percent less then their overall shooting percentage. Jones is UCSB's most consistent scorer thus far, netting 16.3 points per game and leading the team in rebounding with 7.2 rebounds per game. He is also shooting an amazing 59 % from three-point land so somebody will have to keep an eye on him. Fullove and Hull are the other scorers for the Gauchos this year. Fullove is coming off a very frustrating game so expect him to rebound well. He is scoring 15.5 points per game and netting 48 % of his threes. Hull is leading the team in minutes and is second in rebounds at 5.5. He is also steadily moving his way up the Gaucho's all-time scoring list, now at seventh. UCSB's spark off the bench has been Cecil Brown. The freshman guard scored a season high 13 points against Pepperdine.

Key Match-up:
The Gauchos are going to have their hands full with Shipp and Tamir. Most likely Mark Hull will be guarding the versatile Tamir, which will be his biggest test of the season. Both players are essential to their teams success and both are in the process of putting up fantastic numbers at their respective schools. It should be very exciting to see how they play when they go head to head.

What to look for:
Look for the Bears to defend their home court non-conference 20 game winning streak with intensity, but look for the Gauchos to try and revenge their loss to Pepperdine. This is arguably the toughest preseason that UCSB has faced in ten years so count on them taking full advantage of the opportunity they have to defeat some big name schools. Cal will likely try to overpower Santa Barbara down low and play a dump and kick sort of game, freeing up Shipp and Tamir for three-pointers.

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