January 10, 2001

Men's Basketball Travels To Cal State Fullerton & UC Irvine After Opening Big West With Victory

Jan. 10, 2001

The Schedule
Game No. 12
Thursday, January 11, 2001 at 7:00 p.m.

UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Cal State Fullerton Titans
at CSUF's Titan Gymnasium

Game No. 13
Saturday, January 13, 2001 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at UC Irvine Anteaters
at UCI's Bren Center

Game No. 14
Thursday, January 18, 2001 at 9:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Long Beach State 49ers
at UCSB's Thunderdome
Note: UCSB-LBSU game televised on ESPN.

The Gaucho Record
On the strength of back-to-back outstanding offensive efforts, UC Santa Barbara has won two in a row, including their Big West opener, and they enter the week with an overall record of 4-7 and a league mark of 1-0. Since opening the home season with an overtime loss to the University of San Francisco, UCSB has won four out of five at the Thunderdome.

Schedule/Results
Nov. 19 - at Pepperdine 64, UCSB 53
Nov. 21 - USF 77, UCSB 74 (OT)
Nov. 25 - at BYU 67, UCSB 53
Nov. 29 - at UCLA 83, UCSB 77
Dec. 2 - UCSB 57, Westmont College 50 (OT)
Dec. 6 - UCSB 80, San Diego State 77 (3 OT)
Dec. 9 - USC 75, UCSB 73
Dec. 22 - at St. Mary's 71, UCSB 63
Dec. 27 - at UC Riverside 63, UCSB 59
Dec. 30 - UCSB 85, Loyola Marymount 69
Jan. 4 - *UCSB 81, Boise State 75
Jan. 11 - *at Cal State Fullerton - 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 13 - *at UC Irvine - 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 18 - *Long Beach State - 9:00 p.m.
Jan. 20 - *at Idaho - 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 25 - *UC Irvine - 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 27 - *Cal State Fullerton - 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 1 - *at Long Beach State - 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 3 - *at Pacific - 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 8 - *Idaho - 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 10 - *Cal Poly - 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 15 - *Utah State - 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 17 - UC Riverside - 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 22 - *at Cal Poly - 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 24 - *Pacific - 3:00 p.m.
Mar. 1 - *at Utah State
Mar. 3 - *at Boise State
Mar. 8-10 - Big West Tournament

The Gauchos On The Radio
All UC Santa Barbara basketball games are broadcast live on KEYT radio, 1250 AM in Santa Barbara. Randy Lee is back for his fourth season as the play-by-play announcer and Don Ford returns for his fifth year as the primary color announcer. Much to the consternation of the listening public, UCSB Director of Athletic Media Relations Bill Mahoney will handle the color for selected road broadcasts.

The Gauchos On Broadcast.com
In addition to KEYT radio, all UCSB basketball broadcasts can be accessed on the internet at either Broadcast.com or at UCSB's official athletic website, www.UCSBgauchos.com.

UCSB On The Internet
The Official Athletic Site of UC Santa Barbara is www.UCSBgauchos.com. UCSB is part of the FANSonly network.

The UCSB Coaches Show
The Gaucho Coaches Show, hosted by Randy Lee, can be heard every Tuesday night during the basketball season at 6:30 p.m. on KEYT Newsradio, 1250 AM.

Gauchos On ESPN
When UCSB renews its rivalry with Long Beach State on Thursday, January 18, the game will be televised live on ESPN. To accomodate television, the contest is scheduled to tipoff at about 9:05 p.m.

Gauchos Open Big West Play With Win Over Boise State
UCSB opened the Big West portion of its schedule by posting a solid 81-75 win over visiting Boise State. The Gauchos led by as many as 11 points in the first half before the Broncos rallied. BSU had its largest lead at 53-44 with 15:20 to go in the game, but UCSB came back for the win. Junior Mike Vukovich had a career-high 20 points and he added nine rebounds in the win. Freshman Branduinn Fullove had career-bests of 16 points and seven assists and another freshman, Nick Jones, had 15 points.

What About Bob?
Bob Williams is in his third season as head coach at UCSB. Last year he guided the Gauchos to a 14-14 overall record and a solid 10-6 mark in Big West play. He is the first coach in UCSB history to open his career with back-to-back seasons of .500 or better. In addition, he led the Gauchos to a record of 22-10 in league play in his first two seasons, a winning percentage of .687, the best two-year league mark in school history. In his first season, Williams led UCSB to the Big West's Western Division championship, a 15-13 record overall and a 12-4 record in league. He was named Big West Coach of the Year in 1999. Williams has posted a 33-34 overall record as head coach of the Gauchos. Including this year, his Big West record is 23-10 (.697). In his career, which includes stops at UC Davis and Menlo College, he now has a 222-134 record.

Probable Starters - Notes
G - Jacoby Atako - Scored a career-high nine points against Boise State.
G - Branduinn Fullove - Has averaged 14.5 ppg, 6.0 apg and 4.0 rpg in last two.
G - Nick Jones - Averaged 17.0 ppg in last two, making 13-of-22 shots, 59.1%.
F - Mark Hull - Has played 30 or more minutes in four straight and ten of 11.
F - Mike Vukovich - Scored a career-high 20 points in win over Boise State.

Possible Reserves - Notes
G - B.J. Ward - Leads the team with 17 steals and he has had at least one in ten games.
G - LaRon Bryant - Sprained left knee has sidelined him indefinitely.
F - Juliano Jordani - Leads the team in rebounding at 6.3 per game.
F - Casey Cook - Has gone 0-for-9 from the field in the last four games.
F - J.J. Todd - Has played in six of the team's 11 games.
G - LaDonte King - Saw his first action of the season in win over LMU.
F - Adama Ndiaye - Remains sidelined with fractured ring finger on left hand.

Ndiaye Remains Sidelined
Senior forward Adama Ndiaye remains sidelined for the Gauchos. The 6-foot-9 native of Senegal fractured the ring finger on his left hand three days before the season-opener at Pepperdine, had a pin placed in it a day later, and has been out since. When the injury originally occurred, it was believed that he would be out from four-to-six weeks, but he has yet to be cleared for action. Ndiaye was expected to be one of the top frontcourt players in the Big West Conference this year. Last year, he averaged 9.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocked shots per game.

The Opponents
UCSB and Cal State Fullerton have played 48 times and the Gauchos hold a 25-23 advantage. Santa Barbara swept both games last season and, in fact, they have won four in a row dating back to the 1998-99 season. UCSB and UC Irvine have played 50 times with the Gauchos holding a 32-18 lead. UCSB and UCI split its two games last season with each team winning on its home court. The Gauchos and Long Beach State have played 84 times with the 49ers holding a 45-41 advantage. Last season, LBSU won both games, defeating UCSB in Long Beach by a score of 86-68 and in Santa Barbara by a 72-69 count.

A Shot In The Arm
After struggling with their shooting in road losses at St. Mary's and UC Riverside, the Gauchos have seemingly snapped out of it in a big way. In back-to-back wins over Loyola Marymount and Boise State, they shot 52.5% and 54.9% respectively. In the two games combined, they made 60-of-112 shots, an outstanding 53.6%, a far cry from the 37.6% they were shooting as a team after nine games. In fact, by making 53.6% in the last two contests, the Gauchos have improved their overall field goal percentage to a season-high 40.4%, a modest number, but not as modest as the mid-30s. Taking it a step further, UCSB has shot better than 50.0% in each of the last three halves of basketball. They made a season-best 18-of-30 (60.0%) in the second half against Loyola Marymount and then they rattled off halves of 57.1% and 52.2% against Boise State. In the last three halves, UCSB has made a combined 46-of-81 shots, 57.0%. The back-to-back 50.0% or better games are the first two recorded by the Gauchos this season. Last year, they made 50.0% or better in consecutive games only one time and actually they did it three times in succession at one point. Santa Barbara's previous best mark this season was the 49.1% they shot on the road at UCLA. Previously their best mark in a home game was the 43.1% they shot in an overtime loss against USF. Interestingly, the back-to-back outstanding performances came on the heels of two of their worst performances of the year. In losses at St. Mary's and UC Riverside, the Gauchos shot 33.9% and 32.3% respectively. During one 40 minute stretch of those two games (the second half at St. Mary's and the first half at UCR) they made only 12-of-57 from the field, 21.1%.

The Young And The Restless
Through 11 games, UCSB is utilizing its underclassmen (freshmen and sophomores) at a very high rate. Freshmen have recorded 880 of the team's 2,325 total minutes, 37.8%. Sophomores have played 668 minutes, 28.7%. Combined, the UCSB underclassmen have played 1,548 minutes, 66.6% of this season's available minutes. In fact, the top two players in terms of minutes played this season, Mark Hull and B.J. Ward, are both sophomores.

Class War
Here is a breakdown of UCSB primary statistics and percentages by class:

Seniors
LaRon Bryant and Juliano Jordani
167 points - 22.1%
97 rebounds - 25.8%
15 assists - 9.8%
12 steals - 15.2%

Junior
Mike Vukovich
117 points - 15.5%
60 rebounds - 16.0%
7 assists - 4.6%
10 steals - 12.7%
16 blocks - 64.0%

Sophomores
Mark Hull and B.J. Ward
229 points - 30.3%
82 rebounds - 21.8%
58 assists - 37.9%
27 steals - 34.2%

Freshmen
Branduinn Fullove, Jacoby Atako, Nick Jones, Casey Cook and J.J. Todd
242 points - 32.1%
132 rebounds - 35.1%
72 assists - 45.9%
29 steals - 36.7%
2 blocks - 15.4%

Road Blues
UCSB seems to have righted the ship at home. After losing their home-opener to USF in overtime, they have won four of their last five, losing only a thrilling contest to nationally ranked USC, 75-73. The road story, however, reads a bit differently. The Gauchos are 0-5 at home, and while the last three games have been fairly close, they are still losses. UCSB has dropped games to Pepperdine (64-53), BYU (67-53), UCLA (83-77), St. Mary's (71-63) and UC Riverside (63-59). Last year, UCSB was 5-8 on the road.

Giant Steps: Vukovich Continues His Emergence
Mike Vukovich entered the 2000-01 season expecting to play a similar role to the one he played last year. He would play a reserve role, backing-up at both the four and the five spots. Then, Adama Ndiaye fractured a finger on his left hand and the 6-foot-9 Vukovich won a starting position by default. After five games, it looked like it was going to be a long season for Vukovich. In those first five, he scored a total of 27 points (5.4 per game), grabbed 20 rebounds (4.0 per game), made 11-of-29 shots from the field (37.9%) and 5-of-10 shots from the free throw line (50.0%). Then, a light went on, and things turned around. In the last six games, Vukovich has scored 90 points (15.0 per game), grabbed 40 rebounds (6.7 per game), made 38-of-59 shots from the field (64.4%), and 14-of-17 shots from the free throw line (82.4%). In fact, after five games this year, Vukovich had yet to score in double-figures and he had done so only twice in the first 54 games of his career. Now, he has recorded six successive double-figure performances with games of ten, 18, 12, 14, 16 and 20 points. The 20 points that Vukovich notched against Boise State was his career-high, bettering his previous best of 18 that he scored against USC on December 9. On the year, Vukovich is now averaging 10.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots per outing. He has scored 117 points in 249 minutes over 11 games this season as compared to 94 points in 26 games and 250 minutes last season. Perhaps the key for the Gauchos is keeping Vukovich in games. He has fouled out of exactly have (five) of UCSB's games this season and he has committed four fouls in four other games. With 47 fouls, he is averaging 4.3 fouls per game and is on a pace that would see him commit 116 fouls during the regular season, a mark that would break the school record of 114 set by John Conroy in 1963-64.

The Hull Truth, Nothing But
Sophomore Mark Hull is leading the Gauchos in scoring at 14.5 points per game, and on Thursday against Boise State, he bounced back from an eight point performance against Loyola Marymount with 13, including the three-point basket with four minutes left that tied the score at 64-64. In fact, the three-pointer started a run of seven straight points by Hull, fueling UCSB's come-from-behind win. While he hit some big shots against the Broncos, Hull has struggled offensively in the last five games, he has hit only 19-of-57 shots from the field overall, 33.3%. In the last four games, Hull has made only 3-of-21 shots from beyond the three-point arc, 14.3%. Ironically, the four-game three-point skid came immediately following one of his best runs ever from that distance. In consecutive games against UCLA, Westmont, San Diego State and USC, Hull drained 11-of-20 three-point attempts, 55.0%. In fact, that 55.0% was despite an 0-for-3 performance against Westmont. In the games against UCLA, San Diego State and USC, he was a combined 11-for-17 from three-point territory, 64.7%. Hull made 5-of-6 three-pointers in an 83-77 loss at UCLA, scoring a career-high 23 points. He scored 20 or more points in three out of four games at one point (21 at BYU and 21 vs. San Diego State in addition to his 23 at UCLA). Lastly, Hull has generally proven to be a pretty good second half scorer. The Glendale native scored 59 points in the first half of games (5.4 per game) while he tallied 100 in the second half (9.1 per game). Lastly, but not leastly, Hull is easily the Gauchos' workhorse, having played 383 minutes, 98 more than the next closest player (B.J. Ward has played 285). He has played at least 29 minutes in every game this year, 30 or more ten times (including the last four in a row) and 35 or more six times. Hull played a career-high 46 minutes in the triple-overtime win over San Diego State.

A Little Of This, A Little Of That: Fullove's Full Plate
Every game, it seems, freshman Branduinn Fullove is getting better and better. He enters this week's games as UCSB's fourth-leading scorer at 9.5 points per game, but over the last two games, both wins, he has shown that he is quickly becoming one of the team's best all-around players. In addition to his 9.5 points per game, Fullove is averaging 5.0 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. In the win over Boise State last Thursday, he scored a career-high 16 points and passed off for a career-high seven assists. In the last two games, he has averaged 14.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game. In the games against Boise State and Loyola Marymount, Fullove made 10-of-18 shots from the field (55.6%) and 4-of-7 from three-point range (57.1%). In addition to his 12 assists in the two games, he committed only three turnovers in 66 minutes. In fact, on the year, Fullove has the best assist-to-turnover ratio on the team at 2.5-to-1.0. Fullove has scored in double-figures four times in his eight games, going for 13 in games at Pepperdine, vs. San Diego State and vs. Loyola Marymount in addition to his 16 against Boise State. Although he missed three full games (UCLA, BYU and USF) he has played 234 minutes, the sixth highest total on the team. His average of 29.2 minutes per game ranks him second to Hull. To go with all of his other qualities, Fullove is easily UCSB's best free throw shooter at 83.3%, having made 25-of-30 from the charity stripe.

A Fresh Start
UCSB's starting lineup against Loyola Marymount on December 30 included a trio of freshmen. It was the first time on record that a Gaucho basketball team had started three freshmen. In its win over Boise State last Thursday, UCSB started three freshmen for the second time in recorded school history. With freshmen Branduinn Fullove, Jacoby Atako and Nick Jones in the starting lineup, the Gauchos have posted a perfect 2-0 record.

The Nick Of Time
Freshman guard Nick Jones sat patiently last season, waiting his turn as a redshirt. For the first several games this season, he again sat patiently, playing a few minutes here and there. In the first eight contests, Jones never played more than 20 minutes and averaged just 14.1 per game. In the last three games, he has averaged 28.3 minutes and played at least 27 in each. In addition, in the first eight games Jones scored 32 points in 113 minutes, averaging exactly 4.0 points per game. In the last three games, he has played 85 minutes and scored 44 points, averaging 14.7 per game. Jones scored 19 points in his first start against Loyola Marymount and he followed that up by scoring 15 against Boise State. In his two starting assignments, Jones averaged 17.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game. In those two games he made 13-of-22 shots from the field (59.1%) and 7-of-8 from the free throw line (87.5%). On the year, Jones is now averaging 6.9 points per game.

Point: Atako
Freshman Jacoby Atako has started the last three games for the Gauchos, and he has gotten mixed results in those three outings. In his first start, at UC Riverside, he scored three points, made just 1-of-6 shots from the field, had one assist, three turnovers and a career-high three steals. In his second start, against Loyola Marymount, he tallied four points, making 1-of-2 shots from the field, had four assists , only two turnovers and a pair of steals. In last week's win over Boise State, he had four turnovers and only one assist, but he did score a career-high nine points (3-of-5 shooting from the field) and he did play a career-best 30 minutes. On the year, the Santa Monica native is averaging 4.5 points, 2.9 assists and 1.0 steals per game. He has the second-best assist to turnover ratio on the team (1.5-to-1.0). In the last three games, Atako has come up with seven of his 11 steals. While he is shooting only 34.0% for the season, Atako shot only 4-for-19 in the first three games. In the last seven games, he has made 14-of-34, 41.2%.

Counterpoint: Ward
Sophomore B.J. Ward started the first eight games of the year at the point for the Gauchos. In the last three, he has come off the bench and in the last two, he was instrumental in the victories. While he had only two points against Boise State, he did have three assists, a pair of steals and a pair of rebounds. In the win over LMU, he had seven points, four assists, two rebounds and a steal. On the year, Ward is now averaging 6.4 points, a team-high 3.8 assists, 3.5 rebounds and a team-high 1.5 steals per game. Ward has come up with at least one steal in ten of 11 games, including the last five in a row. He has had two or more steals six times and a career-high three once.

Gauchos Shine In Big West
After a 3-7 start in non-Big West games, the Gauchos have once again opened up strong in league play at 1-0. This is not the first time UCSB has done this under Bob Williams. In his two-plus seasons as Gaucho head coach, Williams has guided the team to a 23-10 record in league play. Two years ago, in 1998-99, UCSB was 12-4 in league and won the Western Division. Last year, they were 10-6 and they finished second in the division. The 23-10 league record is good for a .697 winning percentage, the third-best in the league over that span.

What's Cooking?
Freshman Casey Cook continues to have his ups and his downs. You know, I think I've used that same line for each of the team's freshmen at various times this year and now it is Cook's turn. The native of Sacramento is having a tough time on the offensive end. He is averaging 3.6 points per game and shooting only 23.7% from the field. In the last four games, he scored a total of three points and missed all nine of his field goal attempts. Despite the offensive woes, there have been some positives. He is averaging 4.1 rebounds per game in only 16.9 minutes. Cook has pulled down four or more rebounds on six occasions, including a season-high nine against USF. His best overall game of the year was in UCSB's two-point loss to USC when he had a season-high ten points and seven rebounds.

Jordani Warms To New Role
After starting the first nine games of the campaign, senior Juliano Jordani has come off the bench in the last two, and while his minutes are down, his production is up. In his two reserve appearances, Jordani has totaled 28 minutes and in that time, he scored 12 points (6.0 per game), grabbed 11 rebounds (5.5 per game) and made 4-of-6 shots from the field, a solid 66.7%. In the last two games, he has averaged 17.1 points and 15.7 rebounds per 40 minutes played. In his nine starts, he averaged 9.6 points and 10.1 rebounds per 40 minutes played.

Starting Lineup Rundown
Here is UCSB's record with the various starting lineups this season:
1. Ward, Bryant, Hull, Jordani and Vukovich: 2-5
2. Ward, Bryant, Fullove, Hull and Jordani: 0-1
3. Atako, Fullove, Hull, Jordani and Vukovich: 0-1
4. Atako, Jones, Fullove, Hull and Vukovich: 2-0

Men Of Steal
UCSB has produced 79 steals on the season, an average of 7.2 per game. The Gauchos have six players who have come up with at least ten steals. Sophomore B.J. Ward leads the way with 17 steals while Mark Hull, Jacoby Atako and LaRon Bryant each have 11. At their current pace of 7.2 steals per game, UCSB would finish with approximately 201 steals for the season (assuming 28 games), a figure that would rank seventh all-time.