Fresh Off of Their Victory Over UCLA, Gauchos Prepare to Take-On Fifth-Ranked Kansas
Dec. 18, 2003
Game No. 8
Saturday, December 20, 2003 at 5:00 p.m.
The Dodge Holiday Classic in Reno, Nevada
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. University of Kansas Jayhawks
at Nevada's Lawlor Events Center (12,400)
Radio: KTLK 1340 AM
Game No. 9
Sunday, December 21, 2003 at 5:00 p.m.
The Dodge Holiday Classic in Reno, Nevada
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Alabama State Hornets
at Nevada's Lawlor Events Center (12,400)
Radio: KTMS 990 AM
UC Santa Barbara enters the Dodge Holiday Classic with an overall record of 5-2 and a four-game winning streak. On Wednesday night, the Gauchos edged UCLA 61-60 to extend the streak to four. UCSB is a perfect 2-0 in true road games in 2003-04. The win over the Bruins came on the heels of UCSB's sweep of a three-game homestand. On the homestand, the Gauchos had a narrow win over Pepperdine (65-62) and easy wins over Westmont College (66-36) and the University of San Diego (90-70).
Cook Comes Through As Gauchos Record A First
Junior forward Casey Cook scored a game-high 15 points, including two free throws with 18 seconds remaining in the game and a steal with 2.4 seconds remaining, to lead UCSB to a 61-60 win over UCLA at Pauley Pavilion. The Gaucho victory over the Bruins was the first in the programs history after 18 straight losses. Cook scored UCSB's final four points in the victory. The Gauchos, who trailed by as many as eight points in the first half, took the lead with just under 14 minutes to play and the Bruins only led one more time. With 40 second remaining, UCLA's Trevor Ariza stole a pass at midcourt and went in for a slam dunk to give his team a 60-59 lead. Ariza's dunk also set the stage for Cook's dramatic free throws. Sophomore guard Josh Davis added 13 points, including 11 to keep the Gauchos in the game in the first half, on 5-of-6 shooting from the field. UCSB had 12 offensive rebounds, including ten in the second half, and outrebounded UCLA, 25-20. Cook also had a game-high rebound total of six.
Fullove Takes Small Steps In His Return
Senior guard Branduinn Fullove, the 2002-03 Big West Player of the Year, an Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American and a Preseason All-Big West selection, injured his left ankle midway through the first half of UCSB's exhibition loss to Ratiopharm Ulm on November 12. He missed the Gauchos' first five games before returning in a limited role last Saturday against San Diego. Fullove came off the bench to play 13 minutes and although he missed all five of his field goal attempts, he did go 6-for-6 from the free throw line and collect four rebounds. On Wednesday night, he played 19 minutes, hit 2-of-7 shots from the field and finished with four points. He also seemed to be moving with more ease than he had in his first appearance. Last year, Fullove led UCSB in scoring at 14.6 points per game. He also averaged 3.7 rebounds per game, shot 46.3% overall, 41.4% from three-point range and a team-leading 83.7% from the free throw line. Fullove is the first Gaucho player in history to earn some level of All-Big West honors in each of his first three seasons. As a freshman in 2000-01 he was Honorable Mention All-Big West, as a sophomore in 2001-02 he was Second Team All-Big West and then last year he was Player of the Year. He entered the season with a career total of 1,167 points, 13th on the school's all-time list, and he now has 1,177, needing just 23 to move into 11th-place.
Jones Passes The Halfway Point
Senior guard Nick Jones was suspended for UCSB's first eight games of the 2003-04 season after playing the same number of games in an unsanctioned summer league in Mexico. Wednesday's game against UCLA was the seventh game of that suspension. He will sit out the Kansas game and become eligible for the Gauchos' game on Sunday against Alabama State. As a junior, Jones averaged 12.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. He was an Honorable Mention All-Big West choice and the co-winner of the Big West Hustle Award.
UCSB and has never played Kansas or Alabama State. That was easy.
UCSB On The Road
UCSB is 2-0 on the road this season and 0-2 in neutral court games. The Gauchos opened the season with a win at Hawaii before dropping games to St. Mary's and Southeast Missouri State at the Doubletree Montana Holiday Classic. On Wednesday, UCSB edged UCLA, 61-60. Last year, the Gauchos recorded an 8-12 record away from the Thunderdome. Included in the 8-12 was a 2-5 record on neutral courts and a 6-6 record in true road games. After getting off the mark slowly, the Gauchos closed the year by winning seven of their final 12 games away from home.
On The Rebound
Santa Barbara has outrebounded six of its seven opponents and none by fewer than five rebounds. St. Mary's is the only team to win the rebounding battle with UCSB and they did so by 12. On the year, the Gauchos are outrebounding the opposition by 4.4 rebounds per game, a major improvement over last season when they were outrebounded by an average of 0.7 rebounds per game. One of the major reasons for the rebounding improvement is the fact that UCSB has had ten or more offensive rebounds six times in seven games, including 12 of 25 in the win at UCLA.
The Three-Point Story
As was the case with the shooting in general, UCSB got off to a slow start with its three-point shooting as well. In the opener at Hawaii, the Gauchos made 3-of-8, 37.5% and they followed-up that performance with a miserable 2-for-17 against St. Mary's. After two outings, UCSB had made 5-of-25 from beyond the arc, 20.0%. Since then, however, the Gauchos have started to perk up. In Wednesday's win over UCLA, UCSB made 5-of-12 from three-point territory, 41.7%. In last Saturday's win over San Diego, the Gauchos hit 10-of-18, a season-best 55.6%. In the last five games, Santa Barbara has made 39-of-85 three-point attempts, 45.9%. Overall, the Gauchos have now made 44-of-110 shots from three-point range, exactly 40.0%. Finally, since averaging 2.5 three-pointers in the first two games, UCSB has averaged 7.8 per game in the last five.
Entering the season, it seemed as if UCSB's hardwood fortunes were mainly in the hands of seniors. Circumstances, however, have turned that around. Just 23.9% of the Gauchos' points, 30.2% of their rebounds, 31.2% of their assists and 38.5% of their steals have come from seniors. By contrast, 52.9% of their points, 40.1% of their rebounds, 51.9% of their assists and 46.2% of their steals have come from the four sophomores on the roster.
The Williams File
Bob Williams is in his sixth season as the head coach at UC Santa Barbara. Last year, he guided the Gauchos to an 18-14 overall record and a 14-4 mark in Big West Conference play. The Big West mark earned Santa Barbara its first-ever regular season championship along with a postseason trip to the National Invitation Tournament. In addition, the success earned Williams his second Big West Coach of the Year award, his first coming after an impressive 1999 campaign. In 2001-02, Williams led UCSB to its first Big West Conference Tournament Championship ever and first NCAA Tournament appearance in 12 years. In his five seasons in Santa Barbara, Williams' teams have posted an 85-69 overall record and a 56-28 record in Big West games. 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 Williams' final season, the Aggies 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 274-169 at four-year schools.
Possible Starters - Notes
G - Jacoby Atako - His 327 career assists ranks him seventh on UCSB's all-time list.
G - Cecil Brown - Sprained his left ankle in first half at UCLA and scored just two points in 15 minutes.
G - Josh Davis - Since going 0-for-8 from the field in opener, he has gone 20-of-39, 51.3%.
F - Cameron Goettsche - Scored a career-high 17 points in the win over San Diego.
F - Casey Cook - Scored a game-high 15 points, one short of career-high, in win over UCLA.
Probable Reserves - Notes
G - Nick Jones - Will be off suspension for Sunday's Alabama State game.
G - Branduinn Fullove - Has hit just 2-of-12 shots from the floor in two games since return from injury.
G - Joe See - Leads the team with 14 three-pointers and has hit at least one in five straight games.
G - Chrismen Oliver - Played a season-low seven minutes at UCLA.
F - Bryan Whitehead - While he has taken just 22 shots in 118 minutes, he is shooting 54.5%.
F - Bray Skultety - Has made his last five field goal attempts.
F - Glenn Turner - Suffered a slight concussion against Westmont, has not played in last two games.
F - David Kennedy - Walk-on forward played in the final two games of the homestand.
F - Derek Wheeler - Has yet to play in a game.
High Percentage, Few Attempts
On the one hand, UCSB allowed UCLA to shoot 52.3% from the field on Wednesday night, the highest percentage by an opponent this season. That was the bad news. On the other hand, the Gauchos allowed the Bruins to attempt just 44 shots, tying the lowest mark by an opponent in seven games this year. UCSB also allowed St. Mary's just 44 shots in a November 29 game at the Montana Doubletree Classic.
Don't Forget The Defense
The 52.3% field goal shooting that UCSB allowed in the win over UCLA snapped a pretty solid defensive streak. In the three games after allowing Southeast Missouri State to shoot 52.0% on November 30, UCSB tightened-up defensively. In consecutive wins over Pepperdine, Westmont and San Diego, the Gauchos allowed a total of 168 points, 56.0 per game, and a combined 64-of-175 from the field, 36.6%. In the win over Westmont, UCSB limited the Warriors to 36 points, the lowest total ever allowed by a Bob Williams-coached Gaucho team and the lowest total allowed by any Gaucho team since they allowed 33 points to Utah State on January 10, 1994. Not only did the Warriors score 36 points, they shot just 24.1%, the lowest mark by a UCSB opponent since Idaho shot 22.0% on February 2, 2002.
Take Me To Your Leader, Or Leaders
In Wednesday's win at UCLA, Casey Cook led the way in scoring for the third time this season. He is one of four different UCSB players to lead the team in scoring this season. Cecil Brown has led the way twice, while Jacoby Atako and Cameron Goettsche have each paced the way once. UCSB had four players score in double-figures last Saturday against San Diego, a first for this season. In all, seven different Gauchos have scored in double-figures this season and four different players have led the team in scoring.
Through two games, a win over Hawaii and a loss to St. Mary's, UCSB was struggling with its shooting. In the win over the Rainbow Warriors, the Gauchos shot 39.6%, making 21-of-53 shots from the field. The shooting, like the weather, cooled down even more in Montana. In the tourney opener against the Gaels, Santa Barbara shot a miserable 19-of-58 overall, 32.8%, and just 11.8% from three-point territory. So, after two games, UCSB had made just 40-of-111 shots, 36.0%, not too hot for a team that made a solid, if not spectacular 44.2% in 2002-03. In the last five games, however, things have started to turn around for the Gauchos. In a loss to Southeast Missouri State and wins over Pepperdine, Westmont, San Diego and UCLA, UCSB combined to make 131-of-270 shots from the field, a decent 48.5%. In each of the last three games, Santa Barbara has made 50.0% or better and in those three, the Gauchos have shot 51.0%. On the season, the Gauchos have now improved to 44.9% overall.
UCSB has now won four straight games for the first time since late last season when it won five in a row. The Gauchos have put together four consecutive non-conference victories for the first time under head coach Bob Williams and for the first time period, since the 1992-93 season when they opened the year at a perfect 6-0 with successive victories over Cal State Northridge, Stephen F. Austin, Pepperdine, St. Mary's, Sacramento State and Coppin State.
Brown's Ankle Sprain Ends Sweet-16 Run
Sophomore guard Cecil Brown had a sweet-16 homestand. Brown scored exactly 16 points, tying his career-high, in each of UCSB's three home wins. In Wednesday's win at UCLA, however, Brown made the first basket of the game and then soon after that he sprained his left ankle and didn't make another hoop. He played a season-low total of 15 hobbled minutes and finished the game 1-for-5 from the floor for two points, ending his streak of double-figure scoring performances. Despite the ankle injury, Brown should play in the Dodge Holiday Classic. He is still averaging 10.6 points per game, second on the team. In three games prior to Wednesday night's contest against the Bruins, the Canoga Park High School product averaged 16.0 points per game while making 17-of-32 shots overall, 53.1%, and 6-of-13 from beyond the three-point line, 46.2%. By contrast, Brown made just 11-of-33 shots in the first three games, 33.3%. Even with his 1-of-5 performance in the last game, he is now shooting 41.4% on the season. He has also proven to be a bit of a measuring stick for the Gauchos. In the season's first game at Hawaii, he scored 13 points and UCSB won. In the next two games, he scored a total of 11 points and the Gauchos lost both. Then, in the first three of the current four-game winning streak, he scored 16, 16, and 16. In other words, the Gauchos are 4-0 when Brown scores ten or more points. Until being limited to 15 minutes against UCLA, Brown had led UCSB in minutes played. He now ranks second to Josh Davis with 195, an average of 27.9 per game. He is also second on the team in assists with 14, but for the first time this season, Brown went without an assist in the game at UCLA. He did have a season-high four assists in last week's win over San Diego. Also, in the game against San Diego, he had a career-high three steals and he added four rebounds.
Junior forward Casey Cook has been Mr. Clutch for the Gauchos this season. In the season-opener at Hawaii, he had career-highs of 16 points and 12 rebounds to lead UCSB to a six-point win. On December 3 against Pepperdine, Cook hit his first three-pointer of the season with less than a second remaining in the game to give the Gauchos a 65-62 win over the Waves. On Wednesday night, he scored UCSB's final four points, the last two on a pair of free throws with 18 seconds remaining, to give the Gauchos a narrow 61-60 win at UCLA. Cook finished with game-high totals of 15 points and six rebounds. He has now reclaimed the Gaucho scoring lead at 11.4 points per game and he is tied with Cameron Goettsche for the team-lead in rebounding at 6.1 per game. Interestingly, Cook seems to like playing on the road. He has scored in double-figures four times this season, all four times coming away from the Thunderdome. In the Gauchos' four games away from Santa Barbara, he has made 23-of-42 shots from the field, 54.8%, and 14-of-16 shots from the free throw line, 87.5%. In those four games, he has averaged 15.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. In three home games, Cook has made 9-of-21 shots from the field, 42.9%, 1-of-5 from the free throw line, 20.0%, and he has averaged 6.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. In addition to his key free throws against the Bruins, Cook led a solid UCSB effort on the offensive glass as four of his six rebounds came on that end. Of his 43 rebounds, 18 have come on the offensive end, 41.9%.
Pointing The Way
Senior Jacoby Atako has had a feast or famine year on the offensive end. Through seven games, he is averaging 8.0 points per game, fourth on the team, but in three of the games he has recorded either a career-high or the second-highest total of his career and in the other four he has scored a total of seven points. In the opener at Hawaii, Atako scored 13 points, tying his career-high. In the following game, a loss to St. Mary's, he missed both of his field goal attempts and scored just one point. Against Southeast Missouri State, he scored 23 points, easily a career-high, on 9-of-11 shooting. Then, in the win over Pepperdine, he played 24 minutes and attempted just one shot, a miss, and he went scoreless. Against Westmont, he was 1-of-3 from the field and he scored just two points and then in last Saturday's win over San Diego, he scored 13. On Wednesday, Atako went 1-of-5 from the field, hit a pair of free throws and finished with four points. So, in games one, three and six, Atako made 15-of-22 shots from the field overall, 68.2%, 6-of-10 from beyond the three-point arc, 60.0%, and averaged 16.3 points per game. In games two, four, five and seven, he made 2-of-11 shots from the field overall, 18.2%, 0-for-5 from three-point range and averaged 1.7 points per game. In the last four games, Atako has had 13 of his 17 assists on the year. In the win over Pepperdine, he had a season-high of six assists. In his career, he now has 327 career assists, seventh all-time. He also had a season-high four steals in Saturday's game against San Diego and in the process he became just the seventh player in school history to surpass the 100 steal mark. He now has 101 career steals.
No Ordinary Joe
Sophomore guard Joe See scored seven points on 3-of-4 shooting overall and 1-of-2 from three-point range in Wednesday's win at UCLA. While See hit just one three-pointer, ending a streak of four consecutive games in which he had two or more, the one he hit was a big one as it tied the score in the second half after UCSB had trailed by as many as eight points. Last Saturday, See scored a season-high 15 points. The 15 points was one short of his career-high of 16 points, set in a game against Southern Utah during his freshman year at Oregon State. See is now third on the team in scoring at 8.7 points per game. During UCSB's current four-game winning streak, he has averaged 11.0 points per game. See went 0-for-8 from the field overall and 0-for-7 from three-point territory in a November 29 loss to St. Mary's, but in the five games since, he has made 19-of-36 shots overall, 52.8%, and 12-of-24 three-pointers, also 50.0%. See had made three three-point baskets in three straight games prior to Wednesday. Fourteen of See's 22 field goals have come from three-point range, 63.6%, and 42 of his 61 points on the season have come from three-point shots. He is, however, more than just a three-point shooter. See had a career-high four steals in the win over San Diego and he had a season-high of four assists in wins over UCLA and Westmont.
Cam I Am
Sophomore forward Cameron Goettsche scored a career-high 17 points in just 20 minutes during UCSB's victory last Saturday over San Diego. While he had just five points in Wednesday's win at UCLA, all five came in the second half and his three-point basket with 17:55 to go pulled the Gauchos to within one point. Goettsche is now averaging 7.7 points per game. In addition, he is tied for the team-lead at 6.1 rebounds per contest. In the last four games, all UCSB wins, Goettsche has averaged 10.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game and he has made 14-of-27 shots, 51.9%. Since scoring three points in the season opener at Hawaii, he has scored at least five in every game, averaging 9.0 per game over that span. Additionally, since collecting a total of six rebounds in the first two games, Goettsche has had at least seven in four of the last five, averaging 7.4 over that span. He had a career-best 11 rebounds in the Gauchos' win over Westmont. Of Goettsche's 43 total rebounds on the season, 16, or 37.2%, have come on the offensive end. Finally, while he does the majority of his damage on the inside, he has made 4-of-8 three-point baskets, including one in each of the last two games.
Sophomore guard Josh Davis thought he was going to redshirt the 2003-04 season, but an injury to Branduinn Fullove and the suspension of Nick Jones forced the UCSB coaching staff to call an audible. Obviously, Davis is not redshirting. In fact, he has been in the starting lineup for all seven games and his 198 minutes played is now the most on the team. He has played at least 23 minutes in each of the seven games and 28 or more six times. In Wednesday's win over UCLA, Davis had one of the best games of his career. He made 5-of-6 shots, including all three of his three-point attempts, and scored 13 points, a season-high and the second-highest total of his career. He tallied 11 of his points in the first half to keep the Gauchos in the game. Since having his problems shooting the ball in the season-opener at Hawaii, Davis has gotten better and better. In the last six games, he has averaged 8.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game while making 20-of-39 shots from the field overall, 51.3%, and 7-of-11 from three-point range, 63.6%. In last week's win over Westmont, Davis passed-off for a career-high six assists, equaling the highest total by any Gaucho this year. Davis is now averaging a season-high 7.1 points per game and he has scored six or more in six straight. Finally, since missing his first three three-point attempts of the season, Davis has gone 7-of-10, 70.0%, and he has made at least one in four straight.
The Life Of Bryan
Senior forward Bryan Whitehead enters the Dodge Holiday Classic averaging 4.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. In the last five games, he has improved his numbers, averaging 5.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. During the four-game winning streak, Whitehead made 10-of-15 shots from the floor, 66.7%, to improve his season mark to 54,5%. He has come off the bench in six of the seven games, averaging 16.9 minutes.
Junior guard Chrismen Oliver has been one of several UCSB players to emerge during the four-game winning streak. While his career-high of nine points came in a November 29 loss to St. Mary's, he has had seven of his 11 assists, four of his five steals and five of his six rebounds during the four-game winning streak. Oliver had season-highs of four assists and two steals in the win over Westmont and he had at least two assists in three of the last four games.
On The Horizon
Following the appearance in the Dodge Holiday Classic in Reno, Nevada, the Gauchos will take some time off for Christmas. In fact, for the first time in many years, UCSB has no games between Christmas day and New Year's day. When the Gauchos do return to the hardwood, it will be for their Big West Conference opener on January 3 at Long Beach State, a game that will tip-off at 7:30 p.m. On Monday, January 5, UCSB will travel to UC Irvine for another league game that will tip at 7:00 p.m.