UCSB Looks to Get Back On Track, Hosts UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton

UCSB Looks to Get Back On Track, Hosts UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton

Jan. 27, 2004

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The Schedule
Game No. 17
Thursday, January 29, 2004 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. UC Riverside Highlanders
at UCSB's Thunderdome (6,000)
Radio: KTLK 1340 AM

Game No. 18
Saturday, January 31, 2004 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Cal State Fullerton Titans
at UCSB's Thunderdome (6,000)
Radio: KTLK 1340 AM

Gaucho Update
UC Santa Barbara enters the week with an overall record of 10-6 and a Big West mark of 4-3. The Gauchos had a three-game winning streak snapped on Saturday afternoon at Pacific, losing to the Tigers by a score of 76-56. The 20-point margin matched the largest margin of defeat for UCSB this season. Despite the loss, the Gauchos have still won three of their last four and, since opening the season with a 1-2 record, they have gone 9-4.

UCSB Struggles All-Around In Loss At Pacific
On Saturday at Pacific, everything that could go wrong did go wrong for UCSB. After Jacoby Atako hit a three-pointer to open the game, things went downhill in a big way as the Tigers handed the Gauchos their worst defeat of the season, 76-56. Leading 7-4 with 15:07 to go in the first half, UCSB was outscored 22-1 to fall behind 26-8. In the second half the Gauchos never got closer than 17 points. Pacific had the edge in virtually every statistical category. The Tigers shot 58.1% from the field, the highest mark by a UCSB opponent this season, and the Gauchos shot just 36.5%. UOP also hit seven three-pointers to the Gauchos three. UCSB was outrebounded 31-27 and had 19 turnovers. The one positive that came out of the game was that the Gauchos did make 13-of-16 free throw attempts. Senior guard Nick Jones led UCSB with a season-high 14 points.

Possible Starters - Notes
G - Jacoby Atako - His field goal percentage of 50.0% is nearly 15.0% better than his career mark.
G - Nick Jones - Scored a season-high 14 points in the loss at Pacific.
G - Branduinn Fullove - Has 1,272 career points and needs 28 to become seventh Gaucho over 1,300.
F - Cameron Goettsche - Has scored in double-figures in four of the last six games.
F - Bryan Whitehead - Missed all four of his field goal attempts at Pacific.

Possible Reserves - Notes
G - Cecil Brown - Has scored in double-figures six times and Gauchos have won all six.
G - Josh Davis - Scored five points, a high in Big West games, at Pacific.
G - Joe See - Played a season-low 12 minutes and went scoreless at Pacific.
G - Chrismen Oliver - Made two three-point baskets in the loss to Pacific.
F - Bray Skultety - Had five rebounds in just nine minutes against Pacific.
F - Casey Cook - Has missed the last three games and is questionable for this weekend.
F - Glenn Turner - Played a career-high ten minutes at Pacific.
F - Derek Wheeler - Has yet to play in a game this season.
F - David Kennedy - Has played in three of the last four games.

Cook Status Still Unclear
Junior forward Casey Cook has missed the last three games with a partially torn right quadriceps muscle (thigh). He did not play at Pacific on Saturday, nor did he play in wins over Cal State Northridge and Cal Poly. Cook originally suffered the injury in warm-ups prior to the Gauchos' January 8 game against Utah State. He played against the Aggies and then again on January 10 against Idaho, but has been out since. It was originally thought that he would be available for the game against the Tigers, but he was still experiencing pain and the decision was made to hold him out for at least one more. His status will be reevaluated on Wednesday. Cook leads the Gauchos in both scoring (10.8 points per game) and rebounding (5.5 rebounds per game).

The Opponents
UCSB and UC Riverside have played 12 times in a series that dates back to 1955. The Gauchos lead the all-time series with an 11-1 record. Santa Barbara won both games played between the schools last year, defeating the Highlanders in Riverside by a score of 70-55 and in Santa Barbara by a score of 65-49. UCSB and Cal State Fullerton have played 52 times in a series that dates back to 1977. The Gauchos lead the all-time series with a record of 29-23. In 2002-03, the teams split a pair of games with each team winning on the other teams floor. The Titans posted a come-from-behind 57-55 overtime win over the Gauchos in Santa Barbara and UCSB turned the tables in Fullerton, winning a 63-60 decision.

UCSB At Home
With its win over Cal State Northridge on January 22, UCSB is now 5-1 at home this year. The Gauchos' lone defeat came at the hands of Utah State on January 8. In addition to Cal State Northridge, UCSB has defeated Idaho, Pepperdine, San Diego and Westmont. 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 27-5 at home over the last 32 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 90-73 overall record and a 59-30 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 279-173 at four-year schools.

On Balance
In 2002-03, UCSB had three players who averaged 12.4 points per game or more. This season, the Gauchos leading scorer, junior forward Casey Cook, is averaging just 10.8 points per game. If we reach the end of the season and that statistic or something close remains the team's leading scorer, it would be the lowest scoring average to lead the team in more than 40 years. The lowest in the last 40 seasons was when Doug Muse paced the team at 11.2 points per game in 1993-94. There is a bright side to the story. While UCSB has just one player scoring in double-figures, the Gauchos have six averaging 7.7 points per game or more and two others who are averaging 5.1 per game or more. By contrast, last year's Gauchos had the three players over 12.4, but nobody else on the team averaged more than 5.2 per game.

Take Me To Your Leaders
Along with the scoring balance has come several scoring leaders. When Nick Jones led the team in scoring with a season-high 14 points at Pacific, it was the first time this season he had paced the way. Jones became the seventh different player to lead the team in scoring in at least one game this season. In 2002-03, the Gauchos had just four different players lead the way in scoring and one, Cecil Brown, turned the trick just once. This year, nine different UCSB players have scored in double-figures and eight have scored in double-figures two or more times. Six players have scored 15 or more points in a game. The highest single scoring total by a Gaucho this season was the 23 points scored by Branduinn Fullove on December 21 in a win over Alabama State.

On The Rebound
In Saturday's loss at Pacific, UCSB was outrebounded by four rebounds, 31-27. The rebounding deficit snapped a streak of four games in a row in which the Gauchos had outrebounded opponents. Despite losing the battle of the boards on Saturday, UCSB is still outrebounding its opponents this season by a 34.6 to 29.3 count. The 5.3 per game rebounding edge is a significant change from last season when the Gauchos were outrebounded by an average of 0.7 rebounds per game. In Big West games, Santa Barbara's rebound margin is even more significant. In the seven league contests, the Gauchos, on average, outrebound the opposition by 7.5 rebounds per game. Overall, UCSB has outrebounded 12 of 16 opponents this season and in five games the Gauchos have outrebounded their opponents by ten or more. UCSB's season-high rebounding margin was 22 in a January 17 win at Cal Poly.

In the last six games, four wins and two defeats, UCSB's bench has emerged as a key factor. In the first of the six 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 a loss to front-running Utah State, the bench scored 38 of UCSB's 67 points and two players, See and Goettsche, tallied double-figures. In a win over Idaho, the bench scored 21 points. In a January 17 win at Cal Poly, the bench scored 36 of 78 total points. Last Thursday, against Cal State Northridge, the bench tallied 24 points and then on Saturday at Pacific, the reserves scored 26 of 56. In all, over the last six games, the UCSB bench has combined to score 188 of the team's 403 points, 46.7% of the total.

The Defense Rests
UCSB's streak of holding opponents below 40.0% shooting from the field came to an end on Saturday at Pacific. Actually, it came to a resounding end as the Tigers made 25-of-43 shots from the field, 58.1%. The 58.1% was the highest percentage recorded by a Gaucho opponent this season, bettering, or worsening, the 56.6% that Utah State shot on January 8. The game at Pacific marked the fifth time this season that an opponent has eclipsed the 50.0% mark for a game. In three games prior to the Pacific game, UCSB had picked-up the pace defensively, allowing Idaho, Cal Poly and Cal State Northridge to make just 52-of-143 shots from the field, 36.4%. In fact, when the Gauchos have limited a league opponent to below 50.0%, they have gone 4-0. Overall, in 16 games, Santa Barbara has allowed its opponents to shoot 45.0% or better seven times and in those seven games the Gauchos have gone 3-5. When UCSB holds opponents under 45.0%, they are 7-1 with the lone loss coming at the hands of Kansas, which shot 40.9%. UCSB has held seven opponents below 40.0% and it has gone 7-0 in those games.

Turning Over A New Leaf, And The Basketball
UCSB is turning the ball over at an alarming rate. The Gauchos have committed 247 turnovers in 16 overall games, an average of 15.4 per game. In seven league contests the figure is slightly higher at 15.6 per game. On Saturday, UCSB turned the ball over 19 times, including 13 times in the first half. In the last three games, the Gauchos have had 18, 17 and 19 turnovers, an average of 18.0 per game.

Branduinn Irons It Out
Branduinn Fullove epitomized UCSB's struggles in Saturday's loss at Pacific. The senior guard played 20 minutes and scored just one point. He missed all four of his field goal attempts, including all three of his three-point attempts. Fullove did have three rebounds and a pair of assists, but, with the exception of when he went scoreless in one minute of play at Pacific in 2003, his total of one point was the lowest scoring effort of his career. In the 11 games since returning from an ankle injury, Fullove is averaging 9.5 points per game. He has scored in double-figures five times, but just once in the last four games. In the last four contests he has scored a total of 24 points, an average of 6.0 per game. In addition to the 24 total points over the last four games, Fullove has played a total of 101 minutes and attempted just 16 shots. He did score 13 points in UCSB's win over Cal State Northridge last Thursday night. The four-game offensive drought for Fullove comes on the heels of his best four-game run of the season. The four games prior to the last four games (Try saying that four times fast.), he scored in double-figures all four times, made 25-of-44 shots (56.8%) and averaged 17.2 points per game. In the last four, he has gone 6-of-16 from the field, 37.5%, 1-for-8 from three-point range, 12.5%, and he has averaged 6.0 points per game. He has also had 12 assists in the last four games. Fullove scored a season-high 23 points on December 21 against Alabama State, the highest total by any Gaucho this year. He enters the week with 1,272 career points, a figure that ranks him seventh on UCSB's all-time list. He needs 80 to pass Scott Fisher and move into sixth-place all-time. His 12 assists in the last four games have boosted Fullove's career total to 241, ninth all-time.

Casey At The Bat
A partial tear in a right quadriceps muscle has sidelined Casey Cook for the last three games. He remains doubtful for Thursday's game against UC Riverside. Cook is averaging a team-leading 10.8 points per game. He is also leading the team in overall rebounding at 5.5 per outing. The emergence of Cook has been one of the most pleasant surprises for the Gauchos this season. He has not only put up solid numbers, but he has become one of the team's top clutch players. He opened the season by posting the first double-double of his career in a win at Hawaii. In a narrow home win over Pepperdine, Cook drilled a three-pointer with less than a second to play to give his team the win. 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 their first-ever win over UCLA, 61-60 at Pauley Pavilion. Cook also sealed that win with a steal of an inbounds pass in the final seconds. In his last game, a home win over Idaho, Cook had 12 points and six rebounds. The 12 points marked the first time that he had scored in double-figures in a UCSB home game. Cook has been dynamite away from home, scoring 13 or more six times, averaging 13.0 points per game and hitting 40-of-80 shots from the field, 50.0%. In addition to recording the first double-double of his career in the opener at Hawaii, Cook's total of 12 rebounds against the Warriors was a career-high. He has tied his career-high of 16 points three times this season. Finally, Cook's 5-of-6 shooting effort against Idaho improved his shooting percentage for the season to 50.0%.

In The Nick Of Time
Senior guard Nick Jones scored a season-high 14 points in Saturday's game at Pacific. Jones' 14 points led the team and it was the first time he had paced the team in scoring this year. While Jones is now averaging 9.0 points per game overall, he has picked things up offensively in the last three games. In the last three, he has averaged 11.3 points per outing. In each of the last two games, Jones has collected a season-high four rebounds. In UCSB's January 5 win at UC Irvine, Jones scored nine points and became the 20th player in school history to hit the 1,000 point mark. He now has 1,049 career points, 18th all-time. He needs just two more points to move into 17th all-time. Jones career total of 111 three-point baskets ranks him seventh on the all-time list.

The Brown-O-Meter
Sophomore guard Cecil Brown played 25 minutes at Pacific on Saturday. He scored eight points and had a pair of steals. He is now fourth on the team in scoring at 8.3 points per game. In UCSB's January 17 win at Cal Poly, Brown scored 11 points and it marked the sixth time this season that he had scored in double-figures and UCSB has gone 6-0 in those games. Brown twisted his right ankle in practice prior to the Gauchos' December 17 win at UCLA. He re-twisted it against the Bruins, struggled the rest of that game, played 17 minutes against Kansas and then sat out a December 21 game against Alabama State. He again tweaked his ankle in the second half of last Saturday's game against the Mustangs, but he has played significant minutes in the last two games. Since going from the starting lineup to the bench after the return of Nick Jones, Brown has become a key player for a group of reserves that has become more and more valuable. In addition to his 11 points in the win over Cal Poly, he scored 15 in a road win at UC Irvine on January 5. In fact, Brown has scored in double-figures three times on the road and each time UCSB won in a difficult road venue. In addition to Cal Poly and UC Irvine, he scored 13 points in the season-opener at Hawaii. Brown also recorded his career-high of 16 points in consecutive home games against Pepperdine, Westmont and San Diego. His single-game high for last season came in UCSB's win at Pacific on February 13 when he scored 16.

Pointing The Way
Senior point guard Jacoby Atako scored eight points, had one assist and a pair of steals in the loss at Pacific. He is now averaging 6.2 points per game on the year. Atako hit 3-of-4 shots in the game against the Tigers, improving his field goal percentage for the year to 50.0%, a major improvement over his career mark of 35.9% and a huge improvement over his previous career-best 38.7%, achieved during his sophomore season in 2001-02. In the last two games, Atako has hit 5-of-6 shots, 83.3%. He also made his 12th three-point basket of the season on Saturday, one more than he hit all of last season. Atako leads the team with 41 assists and 19 steals. He has paced the team in those categories each of the last two seasons. Atako scored a career-high 23 points against Southeast Missouri State on November 30 and he has been in double-figures three times this year. Finally, with career totals of 351 assists and 111 steals, he ranks seventh and eighth all-time at UCSB in those categories.

Wait And See
Sophomore guard Joe See played a season-low 12 minutes at Pacific on Saturday, attempted just one shot and went scoreless. On the year, See is still averaging 7.7 points per game, sixth on the team. Despite his struggles on Saturday, See has scored in double-figures four times in the last six games. In other two games, he went scoreless. Still, in the last six, See has averaged 8.0 points per game, made 17-of-31 shots overall, 54.8%, and 13-of-23 from three-point range, 54.8%. He leads the team in three-point baskets with 29, 14 more than the next closest player. Since going 3-of-13 from the field in the first two games of the season, See has hit 40-of-78, 51.3%. He has scored a season high 15 points three times, including twice in the last five games. See a season-high of six assists against Cal State Northridge last Thursday and a season-high five rebounds against Cal Poly on January 17.

Cam I Am
After scoring ten or more points in four straight games, sophomore Cameron Goettsche has averaged 4.5 points per game in the last two. On the year, he is now averaging 7.9 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. Goettsche is shooting 47.4% for the season, but since making 10-of-31 shots (32.3%) in the first four games, he has made 35-of-64 shots, 54.6%. Goettsche has been even hotter from the charity stripe. On the season, he has connected on 71.7% of his free throws, the highest percentage of any player that has been active in all 16 games. In Big West games, he has been even more consistent, making 21-of-25, 84.0%. Goettsche also makes his presence felt on the boards, where he is averaging 5.2 rebounds per game. In non-conference games, Goettsche averaged 5.4 rebounds per game, but that number has dropped off slightly in conference as Goettsche is grabbing an even 5.0 per contest.

The Life Of Bryan
Senior Bryan Whitehead has had one of the most consistent seasons of any Gaucho. Despite bouncing in and out of the starting lineup, Whitehead has been a mainstay on the glass where he earns his playing time by pulling down 5.1 rebounds per game. In Saturday's game at Pacific, he had a season-low one rebound and it marked the first time this year that he had collected fewer than three rebounds in a game. He has, in fact, had four or more 11 times in 16 games. In the two games prior to Saturday's loss to Pacific, victories over Cal Poly and Cal State Northridge, Whitehead contributed more than just rebounds as he averaged 8.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game while shooting 70.0% from the floor.

Skultety Rebounds
After the victory over Cal State Northridge, senior Bray Skultety, for the first time in his career, had has more points than rebounds. He has barely managed to keep that stat alive as his totals have increased to 62 points, 3.9 per game, and 61 rebounds, 3.8 per game. Skultety makes a point of crashing the boards each time a shot goes up, whether it be offensively or defensively. Skultety leads the team by a long-shot in field goal percentage at 59.5%. Two other players, Casey Cook and Jacoby, are at 50.0% on the button. While Skultety is evolving offensively, rebounding is his forte. He ranks fourth on the team in rebounding despite ranking tenth in average minutes played. His overall average of 12.2 rebounds per 40 minutes played is tops on the team and his Big West average of 13.9 rebounds per 40 minutes of play is easily the best on the team. In the last eight games, Skultety has collected 43 rebounds in just 118 minutes. In the seven Big West games, not only has he collected 37 rebounds, 17 of them have come on the offensive end. He had five rebounds in nine minutes at Pacific, nine rebounds in 13 minutes on January 17 at Cal Poly, seven rebounds in 18 minutes on January 8 against Utah State, six rebounds in 18 minutes and five rebounds in nine minutes on January 3 at Long Beach State.

Just Joshing
Prior to Saturday's game at Pacific, sophomore Josh Davis had watched his playing time decrease from starters quantity to around 15 minutes a game during league play. On Saturday, Davis played 21 minutes, his most in a conference game thus far, and he scored five points. His scoring average has been similar to his playing time as he accounted for 7.1 points per game during the preseason, but watched his numbers fall off to 2.0 points per game during conference games. In addition, while his Big West average is just 2.0 points per game, his shot totals have also dropped significantly, from an average of 6.6 per game during the preseason, to 2.1 during conference games.