Jan. 14, 2004
Game No. 14
Saturday, January 17, 2004 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Cal Poly Mustangs
at Cal Poly's Mott Gymnasium (3,032)
Radio: KTMS 990 AM
UC Santa Barbara enters the week with an overall record of 8-5 and a Big West record of 2-2. The Gauchos split a pair of contests last week, losing to league leading Utah State on Thursday night by a score of 74-67, and then defeating Idaho on Saturday night, 59-47.
After playing four games in eight days, the Gauchos will play just one game this week, but it is an important one. UCSB travels up the coast to take on Cal Poly in a renewal of what is becoming an outstanding rivalry. Last year, the Mustangs snapped UCSB's ten-game winning streak in the series and ultimately won two out of three from Gauchos, including a victory in the second round of the Big West Tournament.
UCSB Gets Defensive In Win Over Idaho
In Thursday night's loss to Utah State, UCSB's defense took a night off, allowing the Aggies to shoot 56.6%. The Gauchos, however, responded on Saturday night with one of their best defensive efforts of the season. UCSB balanced its Big West books at 2-2 with a 59-47 win over Idaho. Santa Barbara held the Vandals to just 32.6% shooting, the second lowest mark by an opponent this season. In fact, the defense tightened-up even more in the second half as Idaho could muster just 26.9% shooting overall, hitting only 2-of-12 shots from inside the three-point arc. Interestingly, the Gauchos built an 18-point lead and then played reserves for the final ten minutes of the contest. Junior forward Casey Cook led the way with 12 points and six rebounds, both team-highs. He hit 5-of-6 shots from the floor. The total of 12 points was his highest total at the Thunderdome this season. Sophomore forward Cameron Goettsche added ten points and five rebounds and senior guard Jacoby Atako had his best game in league play with eight points, five assists, four steals and four rebounds. Guard Tanoris Shepard led the visitors with 12 points.
Balanced Attack Helps UCSB Get Back On Track
On Saturday night, a loss at Long Beach State, UCSB gave-up a 21-point lead in the final 15 minutes, losing 63-62 on a three-pointer at the buzzer. On Monday night the Gauchos bounced back as Branduinn Fullove scored 17 points and Cecil Brown came off the bench to add 15, to lead UCSB past UC Irvine 84-77 at Irvine. In all, four Gauchos scored in double-figures and seven players tallied seven or more points. Joe See and Cameron Goettsche each added 11 points in the win and See's three-point basket with 2:08 to play in the first half gave UCSB a lead that it never relinquished. The Gauchos built the advantage to as many as 12 points late in the second half and then made most of their free throws down the stretch to secure the win. The UCSB bench scored a season-high 46 points in the victory.
Leg Injury Sidelines Cook For Saturday
Junior forward Casey Cook will miss Saturday's game at Cal Poly with a severe strain of the right quadricep muscle. His condition will be reevaluated on Monday, January 19. Cook, who is second on the team in scoring (10.8 points per game) and first in rebounding (5.5 per game), is one of just two Gauchos to have started every game this year.
Possible Starters - Notes
G - Jacoby Atako - 348 assists and 107 steals rank him seventh on both all-time school lists.
G - Branduinn Fullove - With 1,255 career points, he now ranks seventh on school's all-time list.
G - Nick Jones - Has scored in double-figures just one time in his five games this year.
F - Cameron Goettsche - For the first time, he has scored ten or more in three straight games.
F - Bryan Whitehead - Has 48 field goal attempts and 68 rebounds.
Probable Reserves - Notes
G - Josh Davis - Played 11 minutes in win over Idaho, his highest total in the last four games.
G - Cecil Brown - Has made at least one three-point basket in seven of his 12 games.
G - Joe See - After tying season-high with 15 points vs. Utah State, he was scoreless vs. Idaho.
G - Chrismen Oliver - Has not played in the last two games.
F - Casey Cook - Sidelined for Saturday's game at Cal Poly with a strained right quadricep.
F - Bray Skultety - Has averaged 7.0 points and 5.2 rebounds in the last three games.
F - Glenn Turner - He has attempted just three shots in 31 minutes this season.
F - David Kennedy - Walk-on forward has played in three games this season.
F - Derek Wheeler - Has yet to play in a game.
In a series that dates back to 1938, UCSB holds a 53-27 edge on Cal Poly. The Mustangs, however, won two of three games from the Gauchos last season. After UCSB won at the Thunderdome, 70-61, Cal Poly won at Mott Gymnasium, 66-63, snapping a ten-game Santa Barbara winning streak in the series. Cal Poly then knocked the Gauchos out of the Big West Tournament, 67-52 in the second round.
UCSB On The Road
UCSB is a solid 3-1 in true road games this season and 4-4 in games away from the Thunderdome. The Gauchos have won road games at Hawaii, UCLA and UC Irvine this year with the lone true road loss coming at Long Beach State. 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, thus, in the last two seasons, UCSB has gone 9-7 in true road games.
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-plus seasons in Santa Barbara, Williams' teams have posted an 88-72 overall record and a 57-29 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 277-172 at four-year schools.
Hanging In The Balance
Entering the game at Cal Poly on Saturday, UCSB has just two players averaging in double-figures and only one of those players has played in all 13 games. While senior guard Branduinn Fullove leads the team in scoring at 11.0 points per game, he has played in just eight of the 13 games, missing the first five full games while recovering from a left ankle injury. Junior forward Casey Cook is averaging 10.8 points per outing and he leads the team with 140 total points. While the Gauchos have just two players averaging ten or more points, they have ten players averaging 3.5 or more, eight players averaging 5.5 or more and six players averaging 7.5 or more. Balance has been the operative word for UCSB on the offensive end. Nine Gauchos have had double-figure scoring efforts this season and seven have scored ten or more in two or more games. Finally, only one player has scored more than 17 points in any one games this season. Fullove went for a season-high 23 points in a December 21 win over Alabama State. He also had 19 last week against Utah State, but those are the only two single-game performances that have exceeded 17. The highest scoring non-Fullove effort? Sophomore forward Cameron Goettsche tallied 17 in a December 13 win over San Diego.
Scoring is not the only area of big-time balance for the Gauchos. UCSB has been distributing the playing time pretty equally too. Branduinn Fullove and Casey Cook lead the team with an average of 25.0 minutes per game, but they are just two of eight players who are averaging 20.4 minutes or more per game. Taking things a step further, Santa Barbara has 11 players averaging at least 10.7 minutes per game.
In the last three games, two wins and a loss, UCSB's bench has started to emerge as a key factor. In the first of the three games, a win at UC Irvine, the Gaucho bench scored a season-high 46 of the team's 84 points. In the game against the Anteaters, three players, Cecil Brown, Cameron Goettsche and Joe See, came off the pine to score in double-figures. In last week's loss to front-running Utah State, the bench scored 38 of UCSB's 67 points and two players, See and Goettsche, tallied in double-figures. Finally, in Saturday's win over Idaho, the bench scored 21 points. In all, over the last three games, the Gaucho bench has combined to score 105 of the team's 210 total points and you don't need to reach for a calculator to figure out that represents 50.0% of the offense.
A True Defensive Rebound
During Bob Williams' tenure as UCSB's head coach, the Gauchos have earned the reputation as one of the best defensive teams in the Big West. In each of the last two seasons Santa Barbara has ranked among the nation's top-15 teams in field goal percentage defense. This season, however, things have not gone as smoothly on the defensive side of the court. Through 13 games overall, Gaucho opponents are shooting 43.1%. In four Big West games, opponents have made 47.1% of their shots. Saturday, in the victory over Idaho, UCSB took a page out of its basketball history book and held the Vandals to 32.6% shooting from the field overall and 26.9% in the second half. In three games prior to the Idaho game, UCSB opponents had made 81-of-158 from the field, 51.3%. In fact, Utah State's 56.6% was the highest percentage allowed by the Gauchos this season, but it marked the fourth time that a team had made more than half of its shots.
On The Rebound
A UCSB player has recorded double-figures in rebounds only twice this season. In the season-opener at Hawaii, Casey Cook had a career-high 12 rebounds and in a December 13 win over San Diego, Cameron Goettsche had 11. Despite not having any single player with big rebound numbers, the Gauchos have are solidly outrebounding the opposition this season. UCSB has been outrebounded just three times and on two of those occasions the margin was just two. Overall, Santa Barbara's rebound margin is a solid 4.3 rebounds per game, and while no player is averaging more than Cook's 5.5 per game, three players are averaging 5.2 per game or more and nine players are averaging at least 2.0 rebounds per game or more.
Fullove Rounds Into Form
Senior guard Branduinn Fullove, the 2002-03 Big West Player of the Year, injured his left ankle in UCSB's second exhibition game. Originally, it was feared that he would be lost for the season, but he wasn't. Fullove missed the Gauchos' first five games of the year, returning for a December 13 victory over San Diego. In his first three games, however, Fullove struggled mightily. He just didn't seem to have his legs or his timing. In his first three games, against San Diego, UCLA and Kansas, he averaged 18.7 minutes per game, scored a total of 12 points (4.0 per game), made just 3-of-18 field goal attempts (16.7%), and missed all five of his three-point attempts. In his last five games, however, Fullove has started to return to form. In the last five contests, he has scored in double-figures four times, including a season-high 23 on December 21 against Alabama State. The 23 points equaled Fullove's second-highest total ever. In the last five, he has averaged 15.2 points per game, hitting 26-of-47 shots from the field overall, 55.3%. Although he has been much better in the last five games, Fullove has yet to regain his three-point shooting touch. On the year he is 6-of-22 from three-point range. In the last five games he has been a bit better, going 6-of-17, 35.3%. With his 88 points on the season, Fullove has upped his career total to 1,255, seventh on the school's career list. He needs 96 points to move past Scott Fisher into sixth-place and he needs 145 to hit the 1,400 point mark and move past York Gross into fifth on the list. Finally, Fullove has edged onto the school's top-ten list for career assists with 233, a statistic that ranks him ninth all-time. He joins former UCSB guards Carrick DeHart and Conner Henry as the only players to rank among the top-ten in both categories.
Jones Slowly Re-Emerges
Senior guard Nick Jones has not found the going easy since his return from suspension five games ago. On December 21, in his first game back after an eight-game suspension, he scored 12 points in a win over Alabama State, but he has not recorded double-figures in scoring since then and he still seems to be trying to fit back in. In five games, Jones has averaged 7.6 points and 2.0 rebounds per game. In the last four games, he is averaging just 6.5 points and 1.8 rebounds per outing, a far cry from the 12.4 points and 4.3 rebounds he averaged last season. Also, since making 5-of-10 shots in his first appearance, Jones has hit just 10-of-23 shots from the field overall, 43.5%, and 4-of-9 from three-point range, 44.4%. On the bright side, in UCSB's January 5 win at UC Irvine, Jones became the 20th player in school history to score 1,000 or more points. He enters Saturday's game at Cal Poly having scored 1,015 career points, the 19th highest total of all-time. His six three-point baskets gives him 108 for his career, a figure that ranks him seventh all-time.
Just In Casey
Junior forward Casey Cook, who will miss Saturday's game at Cal Poly with a strained right quadricep muscle, was one of the main reasons that UCSB was able to stay afloat during the absence of Branduinn Fullove and Nick Jones. He 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 December 17, 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. In addition, as the seconds ticked down in the win over the Bruins, Cook stole an inbounds pass and lobbed the ball into the backcourt as the horn sounded. He finished with game-high totals of 15 points and six rebounds. Cook ranks second on the Gauchos in scoring at 10.8 points per game and he paces the team in rebounds at 5.5 per outing. In Saturday's win over Idaho, Cook scored 12 points, marking the first time in five home games this season which he has scored in double-figures. In the game against the Vandals, he also made 5-of-6 shots from the field. His other six double-figure scoring efforts have all come either in true road games or in neutral site games. In the five games at home, he has averaged 7.2 points per game while making 15-of-30 shots from the floor, 50.0%. By contrast, in four neutral site games and four true road games, Cook has averaged 13.0 points per game and he has made 40-of-80 shots from the field, also 50.0%. Cook has tied his career-high of 16 points three times this season and in recording the first double-double of his career in the season-opener at Hawaii, he set a career-high with 12 rebounds, the highest total by any Gaucho this season. Cook has had five or more rebounds nine times this year.
Help Cecil! Help!
Since the return of senior guards Branduinn Fullove and Nick Jones, sophomore Cecil Brown has gone back to his role as one of the Gauchos' sparks off the bench. In fact, he is a primary reason that UCSB's bench production has increased in recent games. As mentioned earlier in this release, the Gaucho bench has scored 105 of the team's 210 points in the last three games. Brown has scored 24 points in the last three games, 8.0 per game. In UCSB's win at UC Irvine on January 5, he came off the bench to score 15 points in just 18 minutes of action. On the year, Brown is now averaging 8.8 points per game. He has scored in double-figures five times, in fact he has scored 13 or more five times and the Gauchos have gone 5-0 in those games. His double-digit efforts, include a career-high 16 points in consecutive wins over Pepperdine, Westmont and San Diego. He is averaging 11.4 points per game at home and he has made 21-of-44 shots at the Thunderdome, 47.7%. He still ranks third on the team in scoring and second in three-point baskets and Brown has made at least one three-point basket in seven of the 13 games and two or more four times.
Atako Making His Point
In the past two seasons, Jacoby Atako's ability to handle the ball has been a major reason for UCSB's success. As Atako improved throughout the year, so to did the Gauchos. This season, through 13 games, the senior point guard has collected 38 assists and 33 turnovers, a far cry from his totals of the past two seasons. If you look closer, however, Atako is improving that ratio as the season progresses. In the last four games, he has recorded 18 assists and just seven turnovers, a better than two-to-one assist to turnover ratio. Atako leads UCSB in both assists and steals (15). In fact, with 348 career assists and 107 career steals, he now ranks seventh on both of those all-time lists. Atako had a solid all-around game on Saturday as UCSB defeated Idaho. He had eight points, five assists, four steals and four rebounds against the Vandals, all personal bests in UCSB's four Big West games. Atako scored a career-high 23 points on November 30 against Southeast Missouri and he is averaging 6.3 points per game overall, a figure that would be his career-best if it were to hold. On the year he has made ten three-pointers, just one fewer than he made all of last season. Finally, Atako is shooting 47.3% overall, a huge jump from his 35.9% career mark entering the year. In fact, he has never shot better than 38.7% in any single season.
Cam I Am
Sophomore forward Cameron Goettsche is becoming a bigger and bigger part of the UCSB scheme. During the recent outstanding run by the Gaucho reserves, Goettsche has emerged as a key frontcourt player off the bench. In each of the last three games, he has scored in double-figures, averaging 10.3 points and making 11-of-17 shots (64.7%) over that span. He has now scored in double-digits four times this season, all in the last eight games and he is now fourth on the team in scoring at 7.9 points per game. In addition, Goettsche is second on the team in rebounding at 5.4 per outing and he has had four or more rebounds nine times, including each of the last five games. He is one of two UCSB players, Casey Cook being the other, to have recorded ten or more rebounds in a game this season. He had a career-high 11 boards against Westmont. Finally, since bottoming out at the free throw line with an 0-for-5 performance against Kansas, Goettsche has started to make inroads there as well. In the last five games, he has hit 19-of-21 shots from the charity stripe, 90.5%.
Look And See
Sophomore guard Joe See went scoreless in the win over Idaho, marking the first time this season that he had not recorded at least one point. His scoreless game against the Vandals came on the heels of one of his best offensive games of the season. In last week's loss to Utah State, See tied his season-high with 15 points, making a career-high five three-point baskets. In fact, in the two games prior to the win over Idaho, See averaged 13.0 points and went 8-of-12 from beyond the three-point arc, an outstanding 66.7%. On the year, he leads UCSB in three-point baskets with 24, exactly double Cecil Brown's total. Brown ranks second. See has made at least one three-point basket in ten games, two or more in seven games and three or more in five games. He is also playing more at the point guard position and he now ranks second on the team with 26 assists, 23 of which have come in the last nine games.
Skultety Returns To Form
Two years ago, forward Bray Skultety was UCSB's best rebounder. Although he played little early in the year, he emerged by the end of the season as one of the Gauchos' top reserves. Last year, he suffered a knee injury that shelved him for the season. After redshirting last year, he started off slowly this year, but in a mirror of his junior season, he is again starting to emerge. While he is averaging 3.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game, Skultety has averaged 5.6 points and 5.4 rebounds in the last five games. In four of the last five contests he has had five or more rebounds and in the loss to Utah State last week, Skultety recorded a season-high seven rebounds in just 18 minutes of action. Also in a mirror of his junior season, Skultety's shooting from the field has improved as the year has progressed. In the last ten games he has made 18-of-29 shots, 62.1%.
After missing a game and then playing just three minutes against Utah State, sophomore guard Josh Davis seems to have bounced-back from his bout with the flu. He played 11 minutes in Saturday's win over Idaho, and although he scored just two points, he had a season-high three steals. Davis is now averaging 5.5 points per game on the year. He scored a season-high 13 points, including a career-high three three-pointers, in UCSB's December 17 win at UCLA. Since starting the season by missing his first five three-point shots, Davis has gone 7-of-10 from beyond the arc, an outstanding 70.0%.
The Life Of Bryan
Senior forward Bryan Whitehead would rather be grabbing the basketball than shooting it. In 236 minutes, Whitehead has attempted just 48 shots, an average of one shot every 5.0 minutes of play. He did have a season-high seven attempts on Saturday against Idaho. On the other hand, while he has attempted just 48 field goals, he has collected 68 rebounds. Whitehead is averaging 3.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. He has had at least three rebounds in every game and five or more eight times. Whitehead had a season-high eight rebounds in a December 3 win over Pepperdine.