Nebraska Is Up Next As Men's Basketball Travels To Devil Classic

Nebraska Is Up Next As Men's Basketball Travels To Devil Classic

The Schedule
Game No. 9 Devil Classic - Tempe, Arizona
First Round - Friday, December 27, 2002
UCSB vs. Nebraska - 4:00 p.m. (PST)
Bucknell vs. Arizona State - 6:30 p.m. (PST)
at Arizona State's Wells Fargo Arena

Game No. 10 Devil Classic - Tempe, Arizona
Second Round - Saturday, December 28, 2002
4:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. (PST)
at Arizona State's Wells Fargo Arena

The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara enters the post-Christmas Devil Classic with a three-game losing streak and a record of 3-5. The current three-game losing skid comes on the heels of a three-game winning streak. The three losses in the current streak have all come on the road, and they have all been to teams which advanced to postseason play in 2001-02. The Gauchos have dropped games at Pepperdine (72-68), at Cal (67-60) and at BYU (69-56). Prior to the current stretch, UCSB had recorded its biggest win of the campaign, a 69-53 victory over another NCAA Tournament team from a year ago, USC.

Gauchos Can't Hold Second Half Lead, Lose At BYU
UCSB could not overcome a poor shooting effort and 17 turnovers in its 69-56 loss at BYU on Saturday, December 21. The Gauchos trailed by just two at the half, played seesaw basketball for the first eight minutes of the second half, and actually led by one, 38-37, with just over 12 minutes to play, but couldn't hold on. UCSB made just 36.5% of its field goals for the game and committed 17 turnovers in losing for the third straight game. Junior guard Branduinn Fullove made 6-of-9 shots from the field and finished with a team-high 17 points, but with five minutes to go in the game, his groin tightened and he went to the bench, not to return. Junior guard Nick Jones also scored in double-figures, going for 15 points, but he made just 3-of-14 shots. Senior forward Mark Hull had his toughest game in some time, making just 2-for-8 from the field overall, 0-for-3 from three-point range, and scoring four points, his lowest total since his sophomore 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 65-58 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 254-158 at four-year schools.

Possible Starters - Notes
G - Jacoby Atako - In his last seven games, he has had 30 assists and 12 turnovers.
G - Nick Jones - Has led or tied for the team-lead in rebounds six times.
G - Branduinn Fullove - Is the sixth Gaucho ever to eclipse 100 three-pointers.
F - Mark Hull - With 1,254 career points, he now ranks sixth all-time.
F - Bryan Whitehead - Has had at least one blocked shot in five of the last six games.

Probable Reserves - Notes
G - B.J. Ward - Two shots at BYU were one more than his three previous outings.
G -Chrismen Oliver - Had career-highs of eight points and five assists at Cal.
G - Cecil Brown - Since going 1-for-5 from FT line in opener, he has hit nine in a row.
G - Josh Davis - After pulling down five rebounds in first seven games, had six at BYU.
F - Bray Skultety - Torn ACL in left knee will sideline him for the season.
F - Casey Cook - The only Gaucho to have fouled out twice this season.
F -Scott Rainey - Has played in six of the last seven games.
F - Derek Wheeler - Has played in four of the last six 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.

The Gauchos On The Road
After its 69-56 loss at BYU, UCSB is 0-3 on the road this season. Actually, the Gauchos are 1-5 away from home, having lost two out of three on a neutral court 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 Against The Field
UCSB has an 0-1 record against Nebraska, the team it opens the Devil Classic with. The only meeting between the teams came in 1978 with the Cornhuskers winning, 75-55. Arizona State holds a 5-2 edge in its series with the Gauchos. The last time UCSB and ASU met was in the first round of the 1992 National Invitation Tournament with the Sun Devils winning, 71-65. Santa Barbara and Bucknell have never met.

Gauchos Don't Play The Percentages In Loss At BYU
As a team, UCSB is shooting a solid 48.5% from the field. In its loss at BYU last Saturday, the Gauchos made just 36.5% of their field goal attempts, the lowest mark of the season. In fact, the 36.5% field goal mark against the Cougars was 8.5% lower than the previous low of 44.9% that UCSB shot in the second game of the season against Jacksonville State. The Gauchos have made 45.3% or better in six of eight games. They shot a season-best 64.3% in a win over Centenary and a solid 53.7% in the season-opener against Weber State. In the recent run of games against teams that participated in postseason play last year, UCSB shot 45.3% against USC, 49.0% at Pepperdine and 48.0% at Cal.

So That's What The Free Throw Line Looks Like
Attempting 17 free throws in a game is nothing amazing. Actually, 17 attempts is pretty ordinary, but for the Gauchos the 17 free throws they attempted at BYU were two more than they had tried in their previous two games...combined. In losses at Pepperdine and Cal, UCSB attempted a total of 15 free throws, making just nine. In the game at Cal, the Gauchos set school records for fewest attempts (two, that's right, two) and fewest makes (one, again I repeat, one). What was a strength last season has turned into a liability this season. Not only is UCSB attempting few free throws, they are not making the ones they do attempt. As a team, the Gauchos are making just 68.5% from the line, a major drop from last season's 75.6%. Interestingly, with the exception of Adama Ndiaye, all of the best free throw shooters from last year are back.

Info Box: Free Throws
1.UCSB has been outscored from the free throw line this season by a margin of 152-89, an average of 7.9 points per game.
2.The Gauchos have attempted more free throws than their opponent three times this season.
3. Gaucho opponents have attempted more free throws than UCSB in each of the last three games. In the last three, Pepperdine, Cal and BYU have combined to go 66-of-84 from the line as compared to Santa Barbara's 21-of-32.
4.UCSB has been outscored by 24 points overall in the last three games and by 45 from the free throw line.
5.Last season, the Gauchos averaged going 15.5-of-20.5 from the line. This season, UCSB is averaging just 11.1-of-16.2 from the line.
6. In 2001-02, UCSB attempted one fewer free throw than its opponents, but they made 38 more.

Gaucho Three-For-All Continues
With graduation and injury taking their toll, at this point in the season UCSB has a rather limited inside presence. Casey Cook and Bryan Whitehead have shown improvement, but aren't quite there yet. Thus, the Gauchos are extremely reliant on their outside game. Through eight games, UCSB has been consistently solid and at times outstanding from the outside. The Gauchos have made 66 three-point baskets, an average of 8.2 per game. Last year, UCSB made a school-record 201 three-point baskets, an average of 6.5 per game. At their current pace, assuming the Gauchos play at least one game in the Big West Tournament, they would make somewhere between 240 and 250 three-point baskets. In addition, they are shooting a solid 42.6% from beyond the arc, a slight improvement over the 40.6% they shot last season. In the loss at BYU, UCSB made a season-low 26.1% from three-point territory. The sub-par performance against the Cougars marked just the third time this year that the Gauchos made lower than 42.3% from three-point distance.

Info Box: Three-Pointers
1. Nick Jones, Mark Hull and Branduinn Fullove have combined to make 53 of UCSB's 66 three-point baskets this season.
2. The Jones, Hull and Fullove trio has made 46.1% of its three-point attempts.
3.Jones is the only UCSB player to have made at least one three-pointer in each of the eight games this year.
4. Seven different Gauchos have made at least one three-point basket this season.
5.Six different UCSB players, Cecil Brown, Chrismen Oliver and Jacoby Atako in addition to Jones, Hull and Fullove, have made at least two three-pointers in a game.
6.The Gauchos have made nine or more three-point baskets six times in eight games and six or more seven times. They made a season-high 11 at Cal.

On The Rebound
After being outrebounded in the previous two games, UCSB bounced back with a solid rebounding effort against a much bigger BYU team, outrebounding the Cougars 31-29. Junior guard Nick Jones led the way with seven boards. Freshman guard Josh Davis added six boards in just nine minutes. On the year, UCSB is now outrebounding its opponents by a margin of 0.7 per game. The Gauchos have outrebounded three opponents and they have been outrebounded five times. Things have gotten better, however, as UCSB has outrebounded three of the past five opponents.

The Nick Of Time
Junior guard Nick Jones has taken to this early-season starting bit. In each of his first two campaigns, Jones began the season by coming off the bench. By the end of his freshman and sophomore years, he was in the starting lineup. This season the 6-foot-4 Oxnard, Calif. native began the year in the starting lineup and by the looks of things, he has no desire to leave it. Jones leads the Gauchos in scoring (15.8 points per game) and rebounding (6.8 rebounds per game). He is the only player on the team to have scored in double-figures in all eight games, and he is the lone player to have made at least one three-point basket in each of the first eight outings. While he had his worst shooting game of the season at BYU, Jones still scored 15 points and pulled-down a team-high seven rebounds. He has now led or tied for the team-lead in rebounding in five straight games and six times this season. Jones, who has made 18 three-point baskets this season, has hit two or more in each of the past four games. His career total of 74 is just five short of the Gauchos all-time top-ten list.

Info Box: Nick Jones
1. Dating back to last season, Nick Jones has scored in double-figures in 14 straight games and 18 times in his last 19 outings.
2.Jones is the only UCSB player to record a double-double this season. He went for 16 points and ten rebounds in a win November 30 victory over USF.
3. When he scored 20 points in the season's first two games against Weber State and Jacksonville State, it marked the first time in Jones' career that he had scored 20 or more in back-to-back games.
4.Four of his top-ten career scoring performances have come in the first eight games this year.
5. His nine free throw attempts at BYU were the second-highest total by a UCSB player this season.
6. Jones was chosen to the BP Top of the World Classic All-Tournament Team earlier this season.

The Hull Truth, Nothing But
Senior forward Mark Hull will be looking to bounce back from his first subpar game of the season. In the loss at BYU, Hull scored just four points, his lowest total since the 2000-01 season, and he made just 2-of-8 shots from the field. In addition, he missed all three of his three-point field goal attempts and he turned the ball over five times. Not at all a typical performance. Still, Hull is averaging 13.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game, statistics that rank third and second on the team. Despite going without a three-point basket at BYU, a first this season, his 18 three-point baskets is tied for the team-lead. In the three games prior to the game at Provo, Hull had made ten three-point baskets. He has made three or more three-pointers five times this season, including a season-high four in a narrow defeat at Pepperdine. Hull scored a season-high 23 points in the opener against Weber State. He had his season-high of nine rebounds in UCSB's December 3 win over USC, but in the three games since then, he has had just eight total boards. Finally, Hull has played 30 or more minutes in each of the last four games and seven times in eight games this season. He leads the team in minutes played at 271, 41 more than his next closest teammate and an average of 33.9 per game.

Info Box: Mark Hull
1.With 1,254 career points, Mark Hull ranks sixth on UCSB's all-time scoring list.
2.His 165 three-point baskets rank Hull third all-time.
3.Hull has led the Gauchos in minutes played in each of his first three seasons. In 1999-2000, he became the first freshman to lead the team in minutes played. If he can continue to lead the team this year, he will become the first player ever to lead UCSB in minutes played for four consecutive years.
4.Hull has started all eight games this season and all 95 in his career. He has never missed a game.
5. With six assists against USC on December 3, Hull tied his career-high.
6.When he fouled out of a December 7 game at Pepperdine, it marked the first time since his freshman season that Hull had fouled out.

Fullove's Full Plate
Junior guard Branduinn Fullove has bounced back from one of the worst games of his career with a pair of outstanding efforts at Cal and at BYU. In a December 7 loss at Pepperdine, Fullove scored four points, making just 2-of-6 shots from the field, and he fouled out for the first time in his career. On December 10 at Cal, he led the team in scoring with 15 points, had three rebounds and a pair of assists. Against BYU, Fullove again paced the team with 17 points, making 6-of-9 shots overall and 2-of-3 from three-point range, and he had three rebounds. While he did leave that game midway through he second half with a tight groin, he is expected to be ready for this week's games. Fullove leads the Gaucho regulars in field goal percentage at 53.2%, and in three-point percentage at 50.0%. Since going 1-for-8 overall and 1-for-5 from three-point territory in the opener against Weber State, he has made 40-of-69 shots overall, 58.0%, and 16-of-29 from three-point territory, 55.2%. Fullove has scored in double-figures in six of eight games, including a season-high 23 points in a win over USC. He also had 22 points in a win over Centenary. Also, he has made at least one three-pointer in seven of eight games, two or more five times and three or more three times. Fullove has made four three-pointers, one short of his career-high, twice this year, going a perfect 4-of-4 in the important win over USC, and 4-of-6 against Centenary at the BP Top of the World Classic.

Info Box: Branduinn Fullove
1. Branduinn Fullove's career scoring average of 13.5 points per game is the leader among active Gauchos and it ranks seventh all-time at UCSB.
2.With 103 career three-point baskets, Fullove is one of six UCSB players in history to have made 100.
3.Fullove's career three-point percentage of 41.9% ranks him second on the Gauchos' all-time list. If you include only last year and this year, he has made 75-of-172 shots from three-point territory, 43.6%.
4.He has 853 points and needs 147 to become the 19th player in school history to exceed 1,000 career points.
5.n the first four games this season, Fullove attempted 29 free throws. In the last three, he has attempted just seven free throws.
6.Fullove fouled out for the only time in his career at Pepperdine on December 7.

What's Cooking?
Sophomore forward Casey Cook has been thrust into a key role this season. The season-ending injury to Bray Skultety has forced Cook to switch positions, from the four to the five, and it has forced him to play more minutes. He has logged 146 minutes, an average of 18.2 per game. Cook is averaging 5.5 points and 3.0 rebounds per game and he has made 51.4% of his shots. In his last five games, he has played limited minutes because of foul trouble. Cook has had at least four fouls in four of the last five games, the only exception being a December 3 game against USC. Twice in the last five games, including the game at BYU, he has fouled out. Cook scored a career-high 16 points in a November 24 win over Centenary, but in the five games since then, he has averaged just 3.8 points per game. His five best rebounding efforts, however, have come in the last five games, including a season-high of five against USC.

The Life Of Bryan
Casey Cook wasn't only player whose role changed with the injury to Skultety. Junior Bryan Whitehead has started all eight games and played an average of 20.5 minutes per game. He is averaging 3.6 points and 3.2 rebounds per game, but just as importantly, Whitehead leads the team in blocked shots with nine. In fact, when he went without a blocked shot at BYU, it snapped a streak of five straight games in which he produced at least one swat. To put the nine blocks in perspective, Whitehead had just five in 355 minutes last season. He scored a season-high six points twice, once each against Weber State and USF. Whitehead has also had three or more rebounds five times, all in the last six games, and he has contributed a high of five vs. Centenary and USF.

Atako Points The Way
Junior guard Jacoby Atako has started all eight games this season, giving him a streak of 59 consecutive starts dating back to his freshman year. Atako leads the Gauchos with 32 assists this season, an average of 4.0 per game. He has turned the ball over just 15 times for a team-best assist to turnover ratio of 2.1-to-1.0. Since passing off for just two assists and turning the ball over three times in the season-opener, Atako has had a positive ratio in seven straight games. In the Gauchos' first win over the year, against Centenary, he had a season-high eight assists and just one turnover. In fact, since the opener, Atako has averaged 4.3 assists and just 1.7 turnovers per game. While he is scoring just 4.1 points per game overall, he has averaged nearly 6.0 per game in the last five. Atako also leads UCSB with nine steals.

Help Cecil, Help!
Freshman guard Cecil Brown has been a big help to the Gauchos this season, showing flashes of offensive brilliance while at the same time playing better defense than expected. Brown is fourth on the team in scoring at 5.6 per game, but he has had a couple of offensive explosions that bode well for the future. In the opener against Weber State, Brown scored 12 points in just ten minutes, making 4-of-5 shots from the floor and 3-of-4 from three-point territory. On December 7 at Pepperdine, he scored a season-high 13 points in just 15 minutes, making 3-of-5 three-pointers. Brown's 45 points have come in just 110 minutes of action. Finally, since going 1-for-5 from the free throw line against Weber State, Brown has made nine free throws in a row.

Just Joshing
Another freshman guard, Josh Davis, is easing into his role as a key member of UCSB's regular rotation. Davis has come off the bench in all eight games and is averaging 2.8 points and 1.4 rebounds per game. He had the best rebounding performance of his career in the last game at BYU, going for six boards in just nine minutes of action. Davis has played the one, two, three and four spots for UCSB this season. In contrast to the Gauchos' other freshman guard, Cecil Brown, he has attempted just 17 shots in 105 minutes of play. Brown has attempted 38 in 110.

Oliver's Twist
After a back-to-back outstanding efforts as UCSB's playmaking sparkplug off the bench, sophomore Chrismen Oliver struggled at BYU. Oliver played 11 minutes, failed to score, had one rebounds, no assists and a pair of turnovers. By contrast, in the previous game at Cal, he recorded career-highs of 20 minutes, eight points, five assists and two three-point baskets. In fact, in the two games prior to the BYU trip, Oliver had eight assists in 26 total minutes. Just a walk-on, he is proving to be arguably the teams best player at penetrating and then finding the open man, an ability that will continue to earn Oliver playing time.