Tonight's Game: UC Santa Barbara vs. Idaho
Jan. 10, 2004
Santa Barbara, Calif. - Tonight UC Santa Barbara hosts Idaho after losing its first home game of the year. The 74-67 loss to Utah State dropped Santa Barbara's record to 7-5 overall and 1-2 in Big West play. The 1-2 mark ties UCSB for fifth place in the conference. Idaho, who lost at Cal Poly on Thursday, is currently 3-8 overall with an 0-2 mark in the Big West. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at Santa Barbara's Thunderdome and the game will be broadcast on KTLK 1340 AM.
UC Santa Barbara Probable Starters
Starting in the backcourt for the Gauchos will be Jacoby Atako, Branduinn Fullove and Nick Jones. Atako will quarterback the team against the Vandals, despite his lackluster performance Thursday night against Utah State. The senior point guard is averaging 6.2 points per game and has gone 10-for-24 from the three-point line this season. He leads the Gauchos with 33 assists and 11 steals. Fullove, who recently moved into UC Santa Barbara's all-time Top 10 list in career scoring, is now leading the team in scoring with an average of 11.6 points per game. He has started the last five games and has begun to heat up offensively, however, he is struggling from behind the arc where his shooting percentage drops from .452 to .300. Fullove is the team's leading scorer in league games as well, and played great Thursday night against Utah State, scoring 19 points and moved himself from tenth to eighth place all-time on UCSB's career scoring list. Jones is averaging 7.2 points per contest and is still trying to get back into the swing of things after missing most of the pre-season. Starting on the blocks for the Gauchos will be Cameron Goettsche and Casey Cook. Goettsche is averaging 7.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game for Santa Barbara. In Big West play, Goettsche leads the Gauchos in rebounding with an average of six boards a game. Cook has begun to slow down a bit after coming out on fire during pre-season play. The junior is now second on the team in scoring with 10.7 points per game and leads the team with 5.4 rebounds per game.
Idaho Probable Starters
Starting in the backcourt for the Vandals will be Tanoris Shepard and Dandrick Jones. Shepard is averaging 7.5 points and 2.2 rebounds per game on the season. He is second on the team with 16 assists. Jones is scoring 9.7 points per game, the second most on the team, and is also grabbing 3.9 rebounds per contest. He is shooting 39% from the floor but falls off considerably when he steps behind the arc, where his three-point percentage drops to .174. The starting forwards for Idaho will be Anton Lyons and Tyrone Hayes. Lyons is scoring just over four points per game and is second on the team in rebounding with an average of 4.3 per game. Hayes is the team leader in both scoring and rebounding. He is averaging 12.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. His numbers have fallen off in league play. In two Big West games, he is averaging just 7.5 points. Starting at Center for Idaho will be Lionel Davis. Davis is scoring 5.3 points per game and is pulling down 4.1 rebounds.
Scouting the Gauchos
The Gauchos will come out angry tonight after letting the game against Utah State slip away. With little over five minutes to play, Santa Barbara had a six-point lead and seemed poised to come away with a win. However, the tides turned and Utah State went on a game-ending run to put UCSB away. Undoubtedly, the Gauchos will look to redeem themselves tonight and get back to .500 in league play. The return of Jones and Fullove, has made Santa Barbara more dangerous than ever from the guard position, but it's the bench players that appear to be carrying the team on their backs. Cecil Brown, Joe See, Josh Davis, and Chrismen Oliver are coming off the bench and making immediate impacts in each game. Brown is the second leading scorer on the team during Big West play at ten points per game, and is third overall with 9.2 points. Davis has been a key defensive component for Coach Williams, consistently defending bigger forwards and making his assignments look easy. See has shot the lights out from behind the three-point line, making 19-of-46 three-pointers on the season, 12 more than any other Gaucho. See brought the Gauchos back against Utah State and did his best to try and earn Santa Barbara the victory, virtually by himself, by knocking down five three-pointers, four during the second half. Oliver has done a good job behind Atako, dishing out 19 assists on the season. In past years, teams recognized Santa Barbara's dominance in the backcourt and forced the Gaucho forwards to beat them. This year, they're doing just that. Cook has played very well, leading the team in scoring and rebounding, while Goettsche follows close behind. Bryan Whitehead has been great off the bench and Bray Skultety has provided quality minutes as well. All in all, the Gauchos are very hard to defend at this point in the season. The team has its stars back and the role players are playing past their expectations.
Scouting the Vandals
Unlike Santa Barbara, Idaho relies mostly on its forwards to do the scoring. While UCSB has been known to fire away from outside, giving the guards a lot of freedom on the floor, Idaho looks to pound the ball inside and let Hayes and the other big men create the offense. Indeed Hayes is just 6-foot-4, thus he could be a guard in this league, however, he chooses to get his points inside. Rashaad Powell, a fellow 6-foot-4 senior forward, is the same way, and his seven points a game will come from inside. On the season, the Vandals are averaging 66.4 points per game and are shooting 41% from the floor. They are third in the Big West in rebounding with 35.8 boards per game and are also third in offensive rebounds, with an average of 12 per contest. The problem for Idaho is that they rank 10th in the Big West in three categories overall and 10th in 11 categories considering just conference games. Clearly the Vandals have struggled in their two Big West losses, but if the Gauchos take them lightly, they have the talent to cause an upset.
Key Match Up
The key match-up for tonight's game will be the Gaucho forwards against Tyrone Hayes. Likely Casey Cook will start on Hayes, but numerous players will take turns trying to slow him down. Most notably may be Josh Davis. Davis is most valuable defensively where he has earned his stripes shutting down opposing forwards. If Davis is healthy enough to play extended minutes, he will likely go toe-to-toe with Hayes for most of the night.
What To Look For
Look for Santa Barbara to come out with the sole purpose of making sure the loss to Utah State does NOT turn into two losses. UCSB must put Thursday's game out of their minds in order to take care of business in the Thunderdome tonight. Idaho is no pushover, despite being 0-2 in league, they trail the Gauchos by just one win, and Coach Leonard Perry knows how to prepare his teams for big games. Getting a first league win against Santa Barbara would be great for Idaho so look for the Vandals to come out fired up as well.