Jan. 9, 2004
UC Santa Barbara enters Saturday's game against Idaho with an overall record of 7-5 and a Big West mark of 1-2. After logging their first league win at UC Irvine on Monday night (84-77), the Gauchos dropped their Big West home opener on Thursday night, 74-67 to Utah State.
Aggies Rally Late To Defeat Gauchos
Trailing 63-57 with just over six minutes to play, Utah State went on a 11-0 run over four minutes and went on to defeat UCSB, 74-67 on Thursday night. Aggie forward Spencer Nelson scored the first nine points of the 11-0 rally. Santa Barbara, which trailed by as many as eight points in the first ten minutes of the game, rallied to take a 36-35 lead into halftime. The Gauchos, however, were unable to stop Utah State for most of the second half as the Aggies shot a blistering 63.6% in the final 20 minutes. For the night, Utah State shot 56.6% and the Gauchos shot a solid 52.0%. UCSB was paced by senior guard Branduinn Fullove who finished with 19 points and a season-high five rebounds. Sophomore guard Joe See tied his season-high with 15 points and he set a season-best with five three-point baskets. The Aggies were led by Cardell Butler who had 18 and Nelson who added 15.
The Gauchos & Vandals
The Gauchos and Idaho have played 16 times since first meeting in 1963. UCSB holds an 11-5 edge in the all-time series, winning at home (52-44) and on the road (62-53) last season.
Scouting The Vandals
Idaho will enter Saturday's game with an overall record of 3-8 and an 0-2 league mark. The Vandals dropped an 87-63 decision at Cal Poly on Thursday night. Last Saturday, Idaho lost at Utah State by a 69-56 count. The Vandals are coached by Leonard Perry who is in his third season and they are paced by forward Tyrone Hayes who is averaging 12.3 points per game overall and 5.4 rebounds.
Bob Williams Update
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-plus seasons in Santa Barbara, Williams' teams have posted an 87-72 overall record and a 57-30 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 276-172 at four-year schools.
Possible Starters - Notes
G - Jacoby Atako - Did not attempt a field goal in 17 minutes on Thursday.
G - Nick Jones - Scored a season-low two points in the loss to Utah State.
G - Branduinn Fullove - With 19 on Thursday, he now has 1,238 career, eighth all-time.
F - Casey Cook - Had four points vs. Utah State and has yet to score double-figures at home.
F - Cameron Goettsche - Has back-to-back double-figure games for first time ever.
Possible Reserves - Notes
G - Cecil Brown - Has made at least one three-pointer in three straight games.
G - Josh Davis - Still suffering from flu-like symptons, he played just three minutes vs. USU.
G - Joe See - Tied his season-high with 15 points and set a new best with five three-pointers.
G - Chrismen Oliver - Recorded his first DNP of the season on Thursday night.
F - Bray Skultety - Has 24 rebounds in 51 minutes over the last four games.
F - Bryan Whitehead - Has had at least three rebounds in all 12 games this season.
F - Glenn Turner - Played two minutes at UC Irvine, but did not play vs. Utah State.
UCSB At Home
Thursday's loss to Utah State snapped a five-game Thunderdome winning streak for the Gauchos. It also snapped an eight-game Big West home winning streak. UCSB is now 3-1 at home this season. Last year, UCSB posted a 10-2 record at the Thunderdome, losing an overtime game to Cal State Fullerton and a non-conference game to Detroit. In 2001-02, the Gauchos also posted a 10-2 home record. The 10-2 mark that Santa Barbara has recorded each of the past two seasons is the best home mark for the program since the 1989-90 team went 11-2. Dating back to the end of the 2000-01 season, the Gauchos have gone 25-5 at home over the last 30 games.
Utah State entered Thursday's game as the best rebounding team in the Big West Conference. The Aggies were outrebounding foes by an average of 9.4 rebounds per game. Granted, it was small consolation, but in Thursday's game, UCSB easily won the battle of boards, 29-22. The rebounding victory was the ninth in 12 games by the Gauchos. On the year, UCSB has a +4.5 rebound margin and only once have the Gauchos been outrebounded by more than two. UCSB has used a balanced rebound approach this year with three players averaging at least 5.2 rebounds per game and nine averaging at least 2.1 per outing.
The Defense Rests
In Thursday night's game between UCSB and Utah State, the Aggies shot a sizzling 56.6% for the game, the highest mark by a Gaucho opponent this season. Even more telling, perhaps, was the fact that USU shot an even more impressive 63.6% (15-of-24) in the second half. While the 56.6% was the top mark by a UCSB opponent this season, it was by no means the only time the Gauchos have struggled to stop their opponent from scoring. On Monday night, in a win, UCSB allowed UC Irvine to shoot 45.5% and score 77 points. A week ago, Long Beach State shot 52.0% in a win over Santa Barbara. Overall this season, UCSB is allowing opponents to shoot 43.9%, a significant jump over last year when the Gauchos gave up 41.0% from the field. In fact, when Utah State shot better than 50.0% on Thursday, it marked the fourth time this season that an opponent had hit more than half of its shots. Finally, in three Big West games, Gaucho opponents have made 81-of-158 shots from the field, 51.3%. Last season, in 18 league games, Santa Barbara opponents made just 39.8% of their shots.
On The Offensive
On the other side of the court, the Gauchos are generally shooting the ball even better than their opponents. Whey made 52.0% on Thursday night and it was th second straight game in which they had hit at least half of their shots. On the year, UCSB is shooting at a 45.2% clip, an improvement over last year's 44.2% mark. The Gauchos have made 50.0% or better five times in 12 games this season.
Beyond The Arc
Led by sophomore guard Joe See's 5-for-8 performance from three-point range, UCSB hit a solid 8-of-16 in the loss to Utah State. The 8-for-16 from three-point range was identical to what the Gauchos made in Monday night's win over UC Irvine. In the first three league games this season, UCSB has hit 23-of-48 shots from three-point range, 47.9%. The back-to-back 50.0% games from beyond the three-point arc give the Gauchos four such performances this season. On the year, Santa Barbara is shooting 40.3% from three-point territory, but in the last ten games, the Gauchos have made 70-of-161, 43.5%.
Fewer Whistles, Quicker Game
The last two UCSB games have been quite different. In Monday's game at UC Irvine, the Gauchos and Anteaters combined for 59 fouls and 60 free throws. On Thursday night, UCSB and Utah State combined for just 24 fouls and 19 free throws. To say the least, the game went by a bit quicker on Thursday night.
Fullove Feels It
Senior guard Branduinn Fullove struggled through his first three games back from an injured left ankle. In the three games, he scored a total of 12 points (4.0 per game), made 3-of-18 shots from the field (16.7%) and 0-of-5 from three-point range. In the last four games, Fullove has made major strides. He has tallied at least ten points in each of the last four and 17 or more in three of the four. Fullove has averaged 17.2 points over the four-game span, making 25-of-44 shots from the field (56.8%), 6-for-15 from three-point range (40.0%) and 13-of-15 from the free throw line (86.7%). On the year, Fullove is now averaging a team-high 11.6 points per game. With his 19 point performance against Utah State, he moved past two more players and into eighth-place on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,238 points. He needs just eight more points to move into seventh-place all-time. Finally, on Thursday night, Fullove also recorded season-highs for minutes played with 35 and rebounds with five.
See It, Believe It
Sophomore guard Joe See almost single-handedly got UCSB back into the game on Thursday night. The transfer from Oregon State made five three-point buckets in the game, including four during a key second half stretch, to finish with 15 points. The 15 points equaled See's season-high, set previously against San Diego, and the five three-point buckets were a new season-high. Also, for the first time this season, See has tallied in double-figures in back-to-back games. He went for 11 points in Monday's win at UC Irvine. In his last two, See has averaged 13.0 points per game and all eight of his field goals in the last two games have come from beyond the three-point line. On the year, his 24 three-point baskets are exactly double his next closest teammate (Cecil Brown has 12.). The five three-point basket performance marked the seventh time this year that See has made two more threes in a game. He has hit three or more five times.
After scoring 11 points on Monday night at UC Irvine, sophomore forward Cameron Goettsche (pronounced Getch-ee.) scored ten points in the loss to Utah State on Thursday night, marking the first time in his career that he has scored in double-figures in two straight games. In the last three games, Goettsche has averaged 9.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game while shooting 57.1% from the field and 92.9% from the free throw line. As he improves on the defensive end of the floor, Goettsche's playing time will undoubtedly go up. He is tied for the team-lead in rebounding at 5.4 per game and he has had four or more in each of the last four games and eight times this year. Goettsche has also moved into fifth on the team in scoring at 7.8 points per game.
Skultety Gets It Going
Senior forward Bray Skultety is taking advantage of a great opportunity. Just prior to last year, he tore ligaments in his left knee and he was forced to miss the entire season. Having already redshirted once, it didn't look good for Skultety to ever play another college game, but in the spring, the NCAA granted Skultety a sixth year of eligibility and after a slow start, he has started to get it going. On Thursday night, he had eight points and a season-high seven rebounds in 18 minutes of play. Skultety, who proved to be a rebounding machine as a junior, is getting the old gears going again. He has had 24 rebounds in his last 59 minutes of play, a period that spans three games. In fact, in the last four games, he has had 24 points and 24 rebounds. In the four games, he has made 10-of-16 shots from the field, 62.5%, and 4-of-5 from the free throw line, 80.0%. Interestingly, Skultety, a very physical player, did not commit a personal foul in his 18 minutes on Thursday. In the four games prior to the Utah State game, he had committed 18 fouls in 52 minutes, fouling out twice. On the year now, Skultety is averaging 3.5 rebounds per game in an average of 11.4 minutes per game. His rebounds per 40 minute average of 13.0 per game is tops on the team.
Jones Searches For His Game
Senior guard Nick Jones sat-out UCSB's first eight games as he served an NCAA-mandated suspension. In his first game back, on December 21 against Alabama State, it seemed as if he had not skipped a beat, scoring 12 points in 22 minutes of action. In the last three games, however, Jones has struggled to recapture those same results. While he is averaging 7.2 points in his first four games, he has scored a total of just 17 in the last three, an average of 5.7 per game. On Thursday night, in 19 minutes of play, Jones scored a season-low two points on just 1-of-3 from the field. In addition, for the first time this season, he failed to make a three-point basket in a game. In Monday night's game at UC Irvine, Jones scored nine points and in the process, he passed the 1,000 point mark, becoming the 20th UCSB player in history to do so.
Brown Becomes The Sparkplug
After starting the first seven games of the season, sophomore guard Cecil Brown missed UCSB's December 21 game against Alabama State with a sprained ankle. In his last three games, Brown has come off of the bench and has proven to be a sparkplug for UCSB. On Thursday night, although he made just 2-of-8 shots from the field and scored five points, Brown was on the court as the Gauchos overcame an early eight point deficit. On Monday night, he tallied 15 points off the bench in a win over UC Irvine. Brown is now averaging 9.2 points per game and he ranks second on the team in three-point baskets with 12. He made one three-pointer against Utah State and has hit at least one in each of the last three games. Finally, Brown's 24 minutes of action against the Aggies were the most he had played since going 27 on December 13 against San Diego.
Atako's Rollercoaster Continues
Senior point guard Jacoby Atako's rollercoaster ride took a downturn on Thursday night. In 17 minutes of action, his second lowest mark of the year, Atako was scoreless and, in fact, he did not attempt a shot. He had just two assists and committed five turnovers. The subpar game against Utah State came on the heels of one of his best stretches of the year, particularly in the ball-handling category. In the three games prior to Thursday night, Atako had passed off for 11 assists and turned the ball over just two times. With his two assists, he now has 343 in his career, a figure that ranks him seventh all-time at UCSB. In the last three games, including his 0-for-0 performance on Thursday, Atako has made 5-of-7 shots from the field, 71.4%, and 3-of-4 from three-point range, 75.0%.
Home Cooking Isn't His Thing
Ah, meat loaf and mashed potatoes. Turkey and stuffing. Pot roast and baked carrots. I could go on all day with all of the great home cooking I have experienced in my day. On the other hand, junior forward Casey Cook would just as soon avoid home cooking. Food-wise, he may love the stuff, but basketball-wise, home cooking has not been too good for Cook. While he is averaging 10.7 points per game this season, second on the team, he has scored just 24 total points in his four home games, an average of, you guessed it Einstein, 6.0 points per game. By contrast, in the eight games away from home, Cook has scored 104 points, 13.0 per game. In four home games, he has made just 10-of-24 shots from the field, 41.7%, and in eight games away from home he has made 40-of-80, 50.0%. Finally, while he is tied for the team-lead in rebounding at 5.4 boards per game, Cook has had just 15 rebounds in the four home games, 3.7 per game. He has had two rebounds in each of the last two home games.
Davis Looks To Return To Full Strength
Sophomore guard Josh Davis, a starter in each of the first nine games of the year, returned to the lineup on Thursday night after missing a game with flu-like symptons. Davis was not nearly at full strength and he was limited to three minutes. On the year, he is now averaging 5.8 points per game, but he has gone scoreless in 20 total minutes of his last two appearances. Davis did, however, picked the right opponent to have his best scoring effort against as he went for 13 in UCSB's 61-60 win at UCLA on December 17.
The Life Of Bryan
After fouling out and going scoreless in 12 minutes at UC Irvine on Monday, senior forward Bryan Whitehead played 20 minutes, scoring four points and pulling down four rebounds against Utah State. Whitehead has now had at least three rebounds in all 12 games this season, the only UCSB player to achieve that feat. He ranks third on the team at 5.2 per game.
Junior reserve point guard Chrismen Oliver did not play in the Thursday's game against Utah State and it was the first time this year that the did not enter the game. Oliver's playing time has gone down significantly in recent games, even before his DNP on Thursday, he had played just a total of seven minutes in the first two league games, an average of 3.5 per game.