Injury-Plagued Men's Basketball Travels To Cal Poly For Key Big West Showdown On Saturday

Jan. 17, 2002

The Schedule
Game No. 16
Saturday, January 19, 2002 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Cal Poly Mustangs
at Cal Poly's Mott Gymnasium

Game No. 17
Thursday, January 24, 2002 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. UC Irvine Anteaters
at UCSB's Thunderdome

Game No. 18
Saturday, January 26, 2002 at 7:00 p.m.

UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Long Beach State 49ers
at UCSB's Thunderdome

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 fifth season as the play-by-play announcer and Don Ford returns for his sixth year as the primary color announcer. Much to the disgust of the listening public, UCSB Director of Athletic Media Relations Bill Mahoney will handle the color for selected road broadcasts.

UCSB On The Internet
The Official Athletic Site of UC Santa Barbara is Game recaps, weekly releases, boxscores, statistics and the occasional feature can all be found on the web. UCSB is proud member of the FANSonly network.

The Bob Williams Show
The Bob Williams airs Tuesday nights from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on KEYT NewsRadio 1250 AM. The Voice of the Gauchos, Randy Lee, co-hosts the show with Williams. In addition to men's basketball, the show will feature other UCSB athletes and coaches. The Bob Williams show will not air on January 15 because of a UCSB women's basketball game. It will air two more times in January (22nd and 29th), four times in February (5th, 12th, 19th and 26th) and three times in March (5th, 12th and 19th).

The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara enters its game at Cal Poly with an overall record of 10-5 and a Big West mark of 4-2. The Gauchos are in a second-place tie in the Big West, one-and-a-half games behind unbeaten UC Irvine. Last weekend, UCSB split its trip to Cal State Northridge and Pacific, winning on Thursday at Northridge, 57-54, and losing at Pacific on Saturday, 73-70.

Fullove Doubtful, Vukovich Out At Cal Poly After Suffering Injuries In Practice
Sophomore guard Branduinn Fullove suffered a severe contusion on his right thigh in practice on Thursday and is very doubtful to play in Saturday's game at Cal Poly. Fullove is averaging 14.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. He is leading the team in three-point field goal percentage at 43.1% and in league games he is the team's leading scorer at 14.7 points per game. Senior forward Mike Vukovich suffered a subluxation of his right patella in practice on Wednesday and will definitely miss Saturday's game at Cal Poly. Vukovich was examined by a team doctor on Wednesday night and while it was determined that the injury was not serious, it will cause him to miss at least one game. Vukovich has played in all 15 of UCSB's games this season, starting six. He is averaging 3.8 points and 2.2 rebounds per game while shooting 53.1% from the field.

Banged-Up Gauchos Can't Hold On At Pacific
UC Santa Barbara dropped a narrow 73-70 decision at Pacific on Saturday. The Gauchos led by six points, with possession of the ball, midway through the second half, but starting forward Adama Ndiaye went down with a shoulder injury and while he tried to give it a go in the closing minutes, he was unable to do so and the Tigers came back for the win. There were a couple of bright spots in the loss. First off, Mark Hull, who had been in a bit of a shooting slump, had a very good second half, finishing with a team-high 18 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field. Ndiaye, prior to the injury, had a season-high 17 points, including 5-of-6 from the floor. Point guard Jacoby Atako tallied a career-high 13 points, making 5-of-8 shots from the field.

What About Bob?
Bob Williams is in his fourth season as head coach at UCSB. The Gauchos are off to their best start under Williams at 10-5. Last year he guided the Gauchos to a 13-15 overall record and a solid 9-7 mark in Big West play. In his first three-plus seasons, Williams has led the team to a 52-47 record. The 52 victories are the most by any UCSB coach over that period of time. In addition, the 42 wins in the first three campaigns were 12 more than the team had in the three seasons prior to his arrival. Each year under Williams, the Gauchos have progressively gotten better and better, playing their best basketball late in the season. In fact, in three years-plus campaigns under his guidance, UCSB has logged a 35-19 record in Big West games, a winning percentage of .655, and among the top three in league over that span. In his first season, Williams guided UCSB to the Big West's Western Division championship, a 15-13 overall record and a 12-4 mark in league. After an 0-8 start that first year, the Gauchos went 15-5. He was named Big West Coach of the Year in 1999. Two years ago, they went 14-14 overall, and 10-6 in league. In his career at four-year schools, which includes stops at UC Davis and Menlo College, he now has a 241-147 (.622) record.

Casey Cook Remains Out Indefinitely
Sophomore forward Casey Cook remains sidelined indefinitely with ligament damage in his right thumb. Cook originally suffered the ligament damage during the preseason. He sat out the team's two exhibition games, but played in the first six games of the season. Prior to UCSB's December 8 win over Pepperdine, Cook re-injured the thumb and did not play in the victory. Doctor's have determined that the thumb has not sufficiently improved and that Cook should not take part in practice or games for an indefinite period of time. If, as expected, he misses the game this weekend, Cook will have missed nine successive games.

Possible Starters - Notes
G - Jacoby Atako - Had career-high 13 points vs. Pacific. Five FGs equaled total in prior five games.
G - Branduinn Fullove - Led the team with five assists at Pacific.
G - Mark Hull - Needs 87 points to become the second junior in school history to hit the 1,000 mark.
F - Adama Ndiaye - Scored 17 at Pacific, his second highest total of the season.
F - Bryan Whitehead - Has more offensive rebounds (22) than defensive (21).

Probable Reserves - Notes
F - Mike Vukovich - Has made 22-of-38 shots over the last 11 games, 58.0%.
G - Nick Jones - Scored a season-low two points in the loss at Pacific.
G - B.J. Ward - In his last 12 games, he has 39 assists and just 15 turnovers.
F - Casey Cook - Thumb injury on shooting hand will sideline him indefinitely.
F - Bray Skultety - He is averaging 17.1 rebounds for every 40 minutes played, tops on the team.
G - Chrismen Oliver - Played a season-high seven minutes, with four points and two assists vs. Detroit.
G - Chris Newell - Played one minute at USF, his first career action.
F - J.J. Todd - Has played a total of three minutes in two games this season.

Getting Defensive
UCSB continues to lead the Big West in field goal percentage defense with a mark of 36.2% as a team. In Saturday's loss at Pacific, however, they got a taste of how the other half lives. In the first half, they held the Tigers to 36.7% shooting, not the lowest mark of the season, but not bad. In the second half, UOP made a sizzling 14-of-24 from the field, 58.3%, the highest mark by a UCSB opponent this season. Pacific shot 46.3% for the game, the second highest percentage by an opponent this season. In fact, the two highest marks by opponents this season have come in the last three games. On January 5, Utah State made a season-best 46.7%. Sandwiched in between the two highest percentages was one of the lowest, a 29.1% effort by Cal State Northridge. The Gauchos have limited ten of 15 opponents to less than 40.0% shooting and four opponents (Cal State Northridge, Pepperdine, USF and Westmont) have shot below the 30.0% mark. UCSB has allowed opponents to shoot better than 50.0% in just three halves this season. In addition to the Pacific's second half, Santa Clara shot exactly 50.0% in the second half on December 29 and BYU made 53.8% in the first half on November 28. In 30 halves this season, UCSB has limited the opposition to below 30.0% nine times, below 40.0% 19 times, below 45.0% 23 times and below 50.0% 27 times.

That 70s Show
UCSB allowed Pacific to score 73 points on Saturday. It was just the third time this season that an opponent had scored 70 points or more against the Gauchos, and all three times have resulted in UCSB defeats. The 73 points scored by UOP equaled the second highest total by an opponent this season. Loyola Marymount (77) and USC (73) are the only other teams on the short list of teams that have eclipsed the 70 point mark against the Gauchos. UCSB is, in fact, 10-2 in games when the opponent scores fewer than 70.

Charity Begins At Home
Charity? I beg to differ. UCSB works for its free throws. Either way, the Gauchos have been very good from the free throw line this season. On Saturday at Pacific, UCSB drained 17-of-20, 85.0%, improving to a Big West-leading 75.8% on the season. If the Gauchos could somehow maintain their 75.8% mark, it would be the third highest percentage in school history. Perhaps the most encouraging thing about the free throws is that there is no one player carrying the load. B.J. Ward (89.2%), Branduinn Fullove (87.3%) and Mark Hull (82.0%) are all making more than 80.0%. Jacoby Atako is at 77.8% and while Adama Ndiaye has made just 69.5%, he has drilled an impressive 25-of-30 over the last six games, an outstanding 83.3%. As a team, UCSB has made 75.0% or more of its free throws in eight out of 15 games, but amazingly, the Gauchos are 5-0 in games when they hit below 70.0%.

Forced Turnovers Are A Key
UCSB has forced 182 turnovers this season, an average of 12.1 per game. On the other side of the coin, the Gauchos are committing 14.7 turnovers per outing. Interestingly, UCSB has turned the ball over 20 or more times on three occasions, once each against Pepperdine, Westmont and Cal State Northridge, and won each game. Defensively, the number of turnovers forced by the Gauchos is a pretty solid gage of success. In five losses, UCSB has forced a total of 49 turnovers, an average of 9.8 per game, and in three of those five losses, they forced fewer than ten. In the last two games, one win and one loss, UCSB's opponents turned the ball over a total of 13 times. On Saturday, Pacific had just six turnovers, a season-low by an opponent.

General Assistance
On the season, UCSB has assisted on 211 of 314 field goals, 67.2%. The Gaucho opponents have assisted on 149 of 265, 56.2%. In the last three games, UCSB has had the long and the short of it on the assist front. In a win over Idaho on January 3, they passed off for a season-high 24 assists, but in the loss to Utah State, they had a season-low nine assists. On Thursday, they had just ten, equaling the second-lowest total of the year.

The Gauchos On The Road
UC Santa Barbara enters its game at Cal Poly with a road record of 4-4 on the season and a record of 5-4 away from the Thunderdome. The Gauchos are 3-1 in Big West road games, recording wins at UC Riverside, Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Northridge before losing at Pacific last week. Since the arrival of Bob Williams, UCSB has posted a Big West road record of 17-11.

The Gauchos & Mustangs
UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly have played 74 times in a series that dates back to 1938. The Gauchos hold a 49-25 advantage in the series. Last year, the Gauchos swept the two games between the schools, winning 95-88 in Santa Barbara and 84-77 in San Luis Obispo. UCSB has won six straight games against the Mustangs, including three in a row at Mott Gymnasium. Not coincidentally, head coach Bob Williams has logged a 6-0 record against Cal Poly since arriving at UCSB.

On The Rebound
UCSB is outrebounding opponents by an average of 4.5 rebounds per game. The Gauchos have been outrebounded just one time in the last 14 games, winning 11 rebounding battles and tying two others. On the season, only Westmont and Utah State have won the rebounding battle with UCSB and they did so by just two and three rebounds respectively. After being outrebounded in the season-opener by Westmont, the Gauchos went the next 11 games without being outrebounded. UCSB has had good rebounding balance this season. While Adama Ndiaye leads the team at 8.0 rebounds per game, three other Gauchos are averaging 4.4 or more. Mark Hull is at 4.9 per game, Branduinn Fullove is at 4.7 per game and Bray Skultety is at 4.4 per game.

Win Big, Lose Small
In their ten wins, the Gauchos have outscored the opposition by a total of 134 points, an average of 13.4 points per game. They have won seven games by ten or more points. UCSB has lost its five games by a total of 27 points, an average of 5.4 per game. The last four losses have come by a combined 16 points, an average of 4.0 per game. While we're at it, lets take it one more step, UCSB has lost the last three by two, three and four points, an average of 3.0 per game.

Hull Shakes Shooting Slump, Takes Aim At 1,000 Points
Junior Mark Hull remains UCSB's leading scorer with a scoring average of 15.6 points per game, and in the loss to Pacific, he came alive in the second half, seemingly shaking a three-game shooting slump. Hull finished with 18 points on 5-of-6 shooting overall and 3-of-5 from three-point territory. He scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half. The 18-point effort snapped a streak of three consecutive single-digit performances by Hull. In the previous three games he struggled on the offensive end, averaging just 7.3 points per game and making just 8-of-34 shots from the floor, 23.5%. Hull also played more aggressively on the offensive end against Pacific, and as a result, he shot six free throws, one more than he shot in the previous five games combined. Hull opened the season by scoring in double-figures in 11 straight games, the longest stretch of his career. He has now tallied ten or more points in 12 of 15 games. Hull has also made at least one three-point basket in all 15 games, easily the longest stretch of his career, he has made two or more ten times and five or more three times. He drained a career-high seven three-points in a December 22 win at Cal State Fullerton, finishing with a career-high 32 points, 29 of which were scored in the second half. Hull also went 6-of-15 from three-point territory on December 29 at Santa Clara. The 15 three-point attempts in a game tied a school record also held by former Gaucho guards Brian Johnson and Carrick DeHart. Hull has been over the 20 point plateau four times this season, going for 27 on December 5 at Loyola Marymount, 23 on November 28 against BYU and 20 on December 29 at Santa Clara. Interestingly, five of Hull's top six scoring efforts have come away from home. He is averaging 18.0 points per game away from Santa Barbara and 12.0 per game at the Thunderdome. He is shooting 45.7% away from home and 35.8% at the Thunderdome. Finally, he enters Saturday's game at Cal Poly with 913 career points and needs 87 to hit the 1,000 point mark. If he does get those 87 points this season, Hull would join Carrick DeHart as the only two players in school history to hit the 1,000 point mark during their junior seasons. Hull has also made 108 career three-point baskets, the fifth highest career total.

Fullove's Full Plate
Sophomore guard Branduinn Fullove had his streak of outstanding scoring performances snapped in the loss to Pacific. Fullove made just 2-of-7 shots overall and finished with nine points. He remains second on the team in scoring at 14.5 points per game. In the five games prior to the game at Stockton, Fullove had averaged 18.4 points per game and he had scored 20 or more three times. Like Hull, he suffered through a tough shooting stretch at one point early in the season, but bounced back nicely. Since hitting just 7-of-33 shots over a three game span between November 28 and December 5, he has turned it around. In the last nine games, including the 2-for-7 game at Pacific, Fullove has made 43-of-81 shots from the field, 53.1%, and 21-of-42 from three-point range, 50.0%. In Big West games he is averaging 14.7 points per game, 0.4 points more than Hull. Fullove has paced the team in scoring in three of the last four games and he has been in double-figures a team-high 12 times in 15 games. He has scored 20 or more points in four games this season, including three times in the last six games and, for the first time in his career, he scored 20 or more in two consecutive games, doing so in games against Idaho and Utah State. In the last six games, Fullove is scoring at an 16.9 points per game clip. He is second on the team with 31 three-pointers and made a season-high five on January 3 against Idaho. Fullove has now made 59-of-146 three-pointers as a Gaucho, 40.4%, a mark that would place him fifth on the school's career list. In addition to his scoring exploits, the Simi Valley High School graduate is the only Gaucho player this year to record at least one point, one rebound and one assist in all 15 games. He is third on the team in rebounding at 4.7 per game and he had a season-high eight in a December 29 game at Santa Clara. He is also third on the team in assists at 2.9 per game and his season-high of six assists came in a win over Idaho on December 3. He had five assists at Pacific and has now had five or more in four games. Fullove is also arguably the team's most dependable threat from the free throw line as well, making 87.3% and hitting 26 in a row at one point. He enters the game at Cal Poly with a streak of 17 consecutive makes.

Ndiaye Shoulders The Load
Adama Ndiaye injured his right shoulder in UCSB's win at Cal State Northridge but started the game at Pacific anyway. In the game against the Tigers, Ndiaye scored 17 points, his second highest total of the season, pulled down five rebounds and blocked one shot. He was, however, limited to 24 minutes. With about 12 minutes left in the game, Ndiaye fell to the floor, re-injuring his shoulder, and missed most of the remainder of the game. The injury was not serious, so he is expected to play at Cal Poly. With his 17 points, Ndiaye is now averaging 10.2 points per game, third on the team, and he leads the team in both rebounding (8.0 per game) and blocked shot (25). By making 5-of-6 shots from the floor at UOP, Ndiaye is now hitting 50.5% from the field, his highest mark since the season-opener. He has scored in double-figures seven times this season, all in the last ten games. In fact, in the last ten games, Ndiaye has averaged 12.5 points per game and shot 56.0% from the field. His season-high came in a December 5 loss at Loyola Marymount when he scored 18 points, one-point off of his career-high. Ndiaye has produced two double-doubles on the year, going for 16 points and 13 rebounds in a win over Pepperdine and 14 points and 11 rebounds against Idaho. While he has had ten or more rebounds five times, he has not rebounded as well recently, pulling down a total of 17 in the last three games, 5.7 per game. Ndiaye is also at a season-high in free throw percentage at 69.5%. In the game at Pacific, he nailed 7-of-8 and over the last six games, he has canned 25-of-30, 83.3%. Finally, he has blocked at least one shot in 14 of 15 games, including each of the last 12, and he has two or more blocks eight times. Ndiaye has blocked a career-high five shots twice. In his career, Ndiaye has now swatted 98 shots, needing two to become the third Gaucho in history to eclipse the 100 blocked shot mark.

I'll Take Atako
Jacoby Atako had the best offensive game of his career in the loss at Pacific. Not only did he score a career-high 13 points, but he made 5-of-8 shots overall and 3-of-6 from three-point range. The trio of three-pointers was also a career-high for the sophomore point guard. On the year, Atako is now averaging 4.7 points and a team-leading 3.7 assists per game. His total of ten three-point baskets ranks third. The 13 points he scored against the Tigers was exactly one more than he had scored in the previous four games combined. His five field goals were the same total that he had produced in the previous five games and the three three-pointers equaled his total from the previous seven games. Yeah, it was a pretty good offensive game for Atako, but on the other hand, he only had one assist, snapping a streak of seven games in a row in which he had passed off for two or more assists. In the last two games, Atako has had four assists and seven turnovers, producing more turnovers than assists in both games. Prior to the most recent pair of games, Atako had more assists than turnovers in eight of nine games.

Skultety DOES Windows
Junior walk-on Bray Skultety does not actually do windows, but he does clean the glass. For a guy who didn't even play organized basketball until his third year in college, he is a pretty good rebounder. Pretty good? Try fearsome. Skultety currently ranks fifth on the team in total rebounds with 44, but he has played just 103 minutes, the ninth highest total on the team. His average of 4.4 per game ranks him fourth on the team. Ever since he became a fixture in the rotation, Skultety has been the best rebounder on the team. He has been a regular for nine games now and over that span he has averaged 4.7 rebounds in an average of just 11.1 minutes per outing. He has had four or more rebounds eight times in those nine games, including a high of seven in a win over Idaho and a pair of six rebound games, one each against Idaho and Detroit. In his ten games, overall, Skultety is averaging a rebound every 2.3 minutes of action, easily the best on the team, and he is averaging 17.1 rebounds per 40 minutes played, also the highest figure on the team.

Random Notes
B.J. Ward continues to lead the team in assist to turnover ratio with averages of 2.9 assists and just 1.4 turnovers. In his last 12 games, Ward has averaged 3.3 assists and just 1.2 turnovers per game.

Ward is leading the team in free throw percentage at 89.2%. He has made 14 of his last 15, 93.3%, and if you include his final 14 attempts last season, he has made 46 of his last 51, 90.2%.

Nick Jones has scored in double-figures four times this year, but he has gone the last five without doing so.

UCSB's opponents have attempted 75 more three-pointers than the Gauchos, but they have made just four more, 94-90.

The Gauchos have held the opposition to fewer than 20 field goals seven times this season and in those seven games, they have gone 7-0.

Only three different Gauchos (Hull, Fullove and Ndiaye) have led the team in scoring this season.

Six different players have led the team in rebounding and five different players have led the way in assists.

On The Horizon
UCSB returns home next weekend to host a pair of games. On Thursday, January 24, they host the Big West's defending regular season champion UC Irvine and then on Saturday, January 26, the Gauchos host traditional rival Long Beach State. Both games will tip at 7:00 p.m.