Men's Basketball Travels To Utah State & Idaho For Longest Road Trip Of The Season

Jan. 28, 2002

Game No. 19
Thursday, January 31, 2002 at 6:00 p.m. (PST)

UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Utah State Aggies
at USU's Dee Glen Smith Spectrum

Game No. 20
Saturday, February 2, 2002 at 7:00 p.m.

UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at the University of Idaho Vandals
at Idaho's Cowan Spectrum

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 in his fifth season as the play-by-play announcer and Don Ford is in 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 www.UCSBgauchos.com. 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.

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 air every Tuesday night for the remainder of the season.

The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara enters this week's games at Utah State and Idaho with an overall record of 12-6 and a Big West record of 6-3. The Gauchos are in a third-place tie with the Aggies, who are also at 6-3 in league. Both teams trail first-place UC Irvine and Cal State Northridge by one game. UCSB split a pair of games last weekend, dropping an 81-70 decision to UC Irvine on Thursday night, but then bouncing back with a resounding 82-50 win over Long Beach State on Saturday night. With the victory over Long Beach, the Gauchos avoided back-to-back losses again. UCSB has yet to lose two games in a row this season. Interestingly, the in the last nine games, Santa Barbara is 5-4 and they have alternated wins and losses since a December 28 win over Detroit Mercy in the first round of the Cable Car Classic.

Gauchos Do Almost Everything Right In Win Over 49ers
UC Santa Barbara needed a good game to bounce back from a tough Thursday night loss to UC Irvine. They got a great game. The Gauchos, who allowed 52 points in the second half of their loss to the Anteaters, allowed just 50 in walloping the 49ers by a score of 82-50. The 32-point margin was the largest in the 87-game history of the series between the schools. UCSB piled-up a 46-17 halftime advantage, holding Long Beach to just 16.7% shooting from the field, and the game never got closer than 20 points after that. For the game, the Gauchos held the 49ers to 27.1% shooting from the floor, they won the rebounding battle by a 50-30 margin and they hit a season-high ten three-point baskets. In the end, it not only meant the largest margin of victory in a game against Long Beach State, it was the largest margin for the Gauchos this season and in Bob Williams' tenure as UCSB's head coach and the largest since a 42-point win over Division II San Francisco State during the 1997-98 season. It was the largest margin over a Division I opponent since December of 1994 when the Gauchos defeated Cal Poly by 33 in the Mustangs first year as a Division I program. Finally, it was the largest margin in a Big West games since a 93-60 win over Nevada during the 1992-93 campaign.

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 12-6. 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 54-48 record. The 54 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 under his guidance, UCSB has logged a 37-20 record in Big West games, a winning percentage of .649, 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. Since that 0-8 start in 1998-99, Williams' Gauchos have gone 54-40. 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 242-148 (.621) record.

Casey Cook 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 two games this weekend, Cook will have missed 14 successive contests.

The Gauchos On The Road
UCSB has won two of its last three true road games and all three games were decided by seven points or fewer with the Gauchos posting wins over Cal Poly and Cal State Northridge and losing at Pacific. UCSB is 5-4 overall on the road and 4-1 on the road in Big West play. In addition to the wins over Cal Poly and Cal State Northridge, the Gauchos have won league road games at UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton. If you include a neutral court win over Detroit Mercy, the Gauchos have recorded a solid 6-4 mark away from the Thunderdome this year. Since the arrival of Bob Williams in 1998, UCSB has posted a Big West road record of 18-11.

The Opponents
UCSB and Utah State have played 48 times over the years with the Aggies holding a 28-20 advantage. Utah State has already beaten the Gauchos once this season, posting a 60-56 win in Santa Barbara on January 5. The Aggies, in fact, have won the last five games in a row over UCSB. USU easily beat the Gauchos in Logan last season by a score of 83-50, the worst defeat suffered by a UCSB team since the arrival of Bob Williams. Santa Barbara and Idaho have played 13 times with the Gauchos holding a 9-4 advantage. UCSB defeated the Vandals in Santa Barbara on January 3 by a score of 76-53. The Gauchos, however, have not won in Moscow, Idaho since the Vandals joined the Big West Conference. Last year, Idaho edged UCSB in Moscow 68-67.

Possible Starters - Notes
G - Jacoby Atako - In his last four games, he has averaged 8.5 points and shot 56.5% from the field.
G - Nick Jones - Has paced UCSB in scoring in each of the last two games, averaging 21.0 points.
G - Branduinn Fullove - Enters the week having made 21 consecutive free throws.
F - Mark Hull - Needs 42 points to become second junior in school history to hit 1,000 point plateau.
F - Adama Ndiaye - Has averaged 20.0 points and 10.0 rebounds in his last three games.

Probable Reserves - Notes
F - Mike Vukovich - Has played just 11 minutes in two games since returning from right knee injury.
F - Bryan Whitehead - Came off the bench against Long Beach State, his first non-start since December 5.
G - B.J. Ward - In his last 15 games, he has 49 assists and just 19 turnovers.
F - Casey Cook - Thumb injury on shooting hand will sideline him indefinitely.
F - Bray Skultety - Had career-highs of eight points and ten rebounds in 15 minutes vs. Long Beach State.
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 - Played a season-high three minutes in win over Long Beach State.

Balancing Act
Saturday night's win over Long Beach State marked the first time this season that all five UCSB starters scored in double-figures. Nick Jones, making his third consecutive start, led the Gauchos in scoring for the second straight game with 19 points. Adama Ndiaye added 14, Mark Hull and Branduinn Fullove tallied 13 apiece, and Jacoby Atako scored ten. On the season, Santa Barbara now has three players solidly averaging in double-figures. Hull leads the way at 15.5 points per game followed by Fullove (14.1 points per game) and Ndiaye (11.8 points per game). With his recent spurt of 42 points in the last two games, Jones is now averaging 8.9 points per game, an average that is at its highest point all season. Last year, UCSB had three players average in double-figures (Hull, Fullove and Mike Vukovich) and one other (Jones) who averaged just under at 9.8. In Big West games this season, UCSB does have four players over the 10.0 points per game mark. Hull is at 14.6 per game, Ndiaye at 14.1 per game, Fullove at 13.6 per game and Jones is at 10.2 per game.

Getting Defensive
UCSB bounced back from its worst defensive effort of the season with one of its best. In Thursday's loss to UC Irvine, the Gauchos allowed the Anteaters to make 53.7% of their shots, a season-high, to score 82 points for the game, a season-high, and 52 points in the second half, also a season-high. In Saturday's win, they held Long Beach State to 27.1% from the field, the third lowest mark by an opponent this season, they allowed just 50 points, also the third lowest this season, and the 17 points they allowed in the first half of the game was not only the lowest total this season, but it was also the fifth lowest single half total in school history and the fourth lowest first half in school history. UCSB continues to lead the Big West in field goal percentage defense with a mark of 37.0% as a team. The Gauchos have limited 11 of 18 opponents to less than 40.0% shooting and five opponents (Long Beach State, 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 four halves this season and only UCI has made 50.0% for an entire game. In 36 halves this season, UCSB has limited the opposition to below 20.0% one time, below 30.0% ten times, below 40.0% 22 times, below 45.0% 26 times and below 50.0% 32 times.

The Other Basket
As a team, UCSB is shooting 45.8% from the field. On Saturday they made 28-of-58 shots, 48.3%. The Gauchos have shot 45.0% or better in four of the last five games and ten times this year. They have been over the 50.0% mark seven times on the year, all within the last 14 games. Santa Barbara's best shooting performance this season came in a January 3 win over Idaho when they hit 31-of-54 shots, 57.4%.

Three-Point Frenzy
In the win over Long Beach State, the Gauchos made a season-high ten three-point baskets. Prior to the ten three-point performance on Saturday, their season high had been nine, a number they have recorded three times this season, including the loss to UC Irvine on January 24. In the last two games, UCSB has made 19 three-point baskets. The Gauchos are hitting 39.6% from three-point territory this season, 41.9% in Big West games. Santa Barbara has made 40.0% or better of its three-pointers in five straight games and eight times in the last ten. In the last five, the Gauchos have hit 43.5% from three-point range and in the last ten they have made 42.0%.

Win Big, Lose Small
In their 12 wins, the Gauchos have outscored the opposition by a total of 173 points, an average of 14.4 points per game. They have won eight games by ten or more points. UCSB has lost its six games by a total of 38 points, an average of 6.3 per game. The last five losses have come by a combined 27 points, an average of 5.4 per game. In 18 games this season, the Gauchos have had eight double-figure margins of victory and they have lost just two games by double-digits. UCSB's two double-figure defeats, each 11-point games, came at the hands of USC and UC Irvine.

On The Rebound
Saturday's win over Long Beach helped the Gauchos bounce back in a number of ways, not the least of which was rebounding. After being outboarded by UC Irvine, UCSB pulled down 20 more rebounds than the 49ers, equaling the largest rebounding margin this season. The Gauchos are outrebounding opponents by an average of 5.2 rebounds per game. UCSB has been outrebounded just two times in the last 17 games, winning 13 rebounding battles and tying two others. On the season, only Westmont, Utah State and UC Irvine have won the rebounding battle with UCSB and they did so by just two, three 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 8.3 rebounds per game, three other Gauchos are averaging 4.0 or more. Mark Hull is at 5.1 per game, Bray Skultety is at 4.5 per game and Branduinn Fullove is at 4.4 per game.

The Hull Truth, Nothing But
Junior Mark Hull remains UCSB's leading scorer with a scoring average of 15.5 points per game. In Saturday's win over Long Beach State, he scored 13 points, making 5-of-13 shots overall and 3-of-7 from three-point range. Interestingly, Hull has had two distinct seasons this year, the one he has had at home and the one he has had away from home. In eight home games this season, Hull has made 32-of-92 shots from the field overall, 34.8%, and he has hit 13-of-36 from three-point range, 36.1%. In those eight games, he has scored 95 points, an average of 11.9 per game. In road games, on the other hand, the junior out of Glendale's Hoover High School has made 57-of-118 shots from the field overall, 48.3%, 35-of-82 from three-point range, 42.7%, and he has scored a total of 184 points in ten games, an average of 18.4 points per game. Six of Hull's seven highest scoring efforts have come away from home. In the last two road games (at Cal Poly and at Pacific), Hull averaged 20.0 points per game while making 12-of-24 shots overall and 7-of-11 (63.6%) from three-point range. 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 15 of 18 games. He has also made at least one three-point basket in all 18 games, easily the longest stretch of his career, he has made two or more 13 times, including the last five in a row, and five or more three times. He drained a career-high seven three-pointers 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 five times this season, going for 27 on December 5 at Loyola Marymount, 23 on November 28 against BYU, 22 at Cal Poly on January 19 and 20 on December 29 at Santa Clara. Finally, he enters Saturday's game against Long Beach State with 958 career points and needs 42 to hit the 1,000 point mark. If he does get those 42 points this season, Hull would join DeHart as the only two players in school history to hit the 1,000 point mark during their junior seasons. Hull has also made 117 career three-point baskets, the fifth highest career total and his 48 this season is a career-high. If he makes two more, he would move into the UCSB single-season top-ten.

Ndiaye Becomes An Offensive Force
Adama Ndiaye continues to emerge as one of the best frontcourt players in the Big West Conference. On Saturday, he recorded his fourth double-double of the season going for 14 points and 11 rebounds in a win over Long Beach State. One wee earlier, Ndiaye had the best game of his career in a road win over Cal Poly. Against the Mustangs the 6-foot-9 native of Dakar, Senegal, made 13-of-18 shots from the field, all five of his free throw attempts, and scored a career-high 31 points. In addition, Ndiaye had 13 rebounds and three blocked shots. In his last four games, he has made 28-of-44 shots, 63.6%, and averaged 19.0 points. Ndiaye has scored in double-figures in four straight games, the longest streak of his career. With his 14-point performance against the 49ers, Ndiaye is now averaging 11.8 points per game, third on the team, and the highest average of his career. In nine Big West games, he is averaging 14.1 points per game, second on the squad. Overall, Ndiaye has his field goal percentage up to 53.0% and in Big West games he is shooting an outstanding 60.5%. In fact, since opening the season by making 11-of-30 shots in the first four games, he has drained 68-of-119, 57.1%. Ndiaye's 11 rebounds against LBSU marked the seventh time he has had ten or more rebounds in a game this season. He has now scored in double-figures ten times, all during the last 13 games, a period over which he has averaged 13.6 points per game. He leads the team in both rebounding (8.3 per game) and blocked shots (31). Ndiaye is also at a season-high in free throw percentage at 75.0%. In the game against LBSU, he nailed 4-of-4 and has now hit his last 19 in a row. In the last nine games Ndiaye has canned 38-of-43, 884%. Finally, he has blocked at least one shot in 17 of 18 games, including each of the last 15, and he has two or more blocks ten times. Ndiaye has blocked a career-high five shots twice, both times during his junior season. In his career, he has now swatted 104 shots. He is one of three Gauchos with more than 100 in his career.

Fullove's Full Plate
Sophomore guard Branduinn Fullove returned to the court on Thursday after missing a week of practice and games with a severe contusion on his upper right thigh. Fullove came off the bench to play 25 minutes, but he had trouble pushing off with his right foot and took just five shots, scoring eight points. In Saturday's win over Long Beach State, Fullove returned to the starting lineup and looked more like his old self, scoring 13 points, passing off for six assists and pulling down four rebounds in 24 minutes of action. He remains second on the team in scoring at 14.1 points per game. Fullove has struggled with his overall shooting in his last three games, making 8-of-21 shots overall, 38.1%. Over that same span, he has continued to shoot well from three-point territory hitting 6-of-13, 46.2%. In fact, going back further, Fullove has made 10-of-19 shots from three-point range in the last four games, 52.6%. His six assists on Saturday equaled his season-high and over the last three games, Fullove has averaged 5.0 assists per game, improving to a season-high 3.1 per game, second on the team. He has had five or more assists in five games this season. In his last 11 games, including the three-game slump, Fullove has made 49-of-98 shots from the field, 50.0%, and 26-of-53 from three-point range, 49.1%. In Big West games he is averaging 13.6 points per game, third on the team. Fullove has paced the team in scoring in three of his last six games and he has been in double-figures 13 times in 17 outings. He has scored 20 or more points in four games this season, including three times in his last eight 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. He is second on the team with 36 three-pointers and made a season-high five on January 3 against Idaho. His total of 36 threes are eight more than he made all of last year. Fullove has now made 64-of-157 three-pointers as a Gaucho, 40.8%, a mark that would place him fourth 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 every game he has played. He is fourth on the team in rebounding at 4.4 per game and he had a season-high eight in a December 29 game at Santa Clara. Fullove is also arguably the team's most dependable threat from the free throw line, making 88.1% and hitting 26 in a row at one point. He currently holds a streak of 21 consecutive successful free throws. In fact, he has not missed a free throw in the year 2002.

In The Nick Of Time
After coming off the bench in the first 15 games of the season, sophomore guard Nick Jones has been in the starting lineup in each of the last three. In the last two games, Jones has looked like the Jones of the second half of last season, leading the team in scoring in each game. In the win over Long Beach State, the native of Oxnard scored a team-high 19 points, making 6-of-13 shots overall and 2-of-5 from three-point range. In the loss to UC Irvine, Jones was the one bright spot as he scored a career-high 23 points on 4-of-10 shooting overall, 4-of-7 from three-point territory and 11-of-16 from the free throw line. In addition to leading the team in scoring in the last two, Jones has played a season-high 31 minutes in each game. Prior to scoring 23 against UCI, he had scored in single-digits in six straight games. In fact, his 42 points in the last two games are two more points than he had scored in the previous six games combined. His six three-point baskets in the last two games equal his total in the 12 games prior to the last two. Also, his 24 free throw attempts in the last two games are three more than he had in the previous nine. Quite a turnaround for Jones. On the season, he is now averaging 8.9 points per game, a figure which is at its highest point all year. In Big West games, he has gone from 7.1 per game through seven games to 10.2 points per game through nine. Two more notes about Jones' recent turn of events are that his four three-pointers against UC Irvine were a career-high and his 16 free throw attempts against the Anteaters were both a career-high and the most by a Gaucho this season. Finally, Jones equaled his career-high with three steals in Saturday's win over Long Beach State.

The Point Guard Tag Team
Sophomore Jacoby Atako and junior B.J. Ward have taken to the role of a point guard tag team quite well. While Atako has started all 18 games, Ward has been an outstanding spark off the bench. Atako is averaging 27.6 minutes per game, a sizable increase over his average of 23.3 minutes per game. While he is shooting just 38.7% for the season, he has improved in the last four games, making 13-of-23 shots overall, 56.5%, and 7-of-14 from three-point territory, 50.0%. Atako is averaging 5.1 points and a team-leading 4.0 assists per game. Atako has passed off for five or more assists in each of the last three games and in those three games he has racked up a total of 17 assists and just three turnovers. On the year, Atako has a 1.76-to-1.0 assist to turnover ratio. He also ranks fourth on the team with 14 three-point baskets, five more than he had all of last season. He scored a career-high 13 points at Pacific on January 12, hitting a career-high three three-pointers in the process. Ward is averaging 17.9 minutes per game and ranks third on the team at 3.0 assists per game. He has a team-best assist to turnover ratio of 2.16-to-1.0. In fact, in the last 15 games the ratio is an even more impressive 2.58-to-1.0 ratio. Ward has had more assists than turnovers in 14 of the last 15 games. He has also become the team's best free throw shooter, making 35-of-39, 89.7%. Combined, the Atako-Ward tandem is averaging 45.5 minutes per game, 8.8 points, 7.0 assists, 1.4 steals, 3.0 rebounds and just 3.7 turnovers per game.

A Rebounding Nut
Walk-on forward Bray Skultety had career-highs of eight points and ten rebounds in Saturday's win over Long Beach State. With his ten rebounds, Skultety is now third on the team at 4.5 per game. He has pulled down 59 total rebounds in just 139 minutes, an average of one rebound ever 2.36 minutes or an average of 16.8 per 40 minutes played. Skultety, who had not played in an organized basketball game since ninth grade when he entered his first game this season, has had five or more rebounds six times on the year. He has scored 34 points, an average of 2.6 per game, making 13-of-17 shots from the field. One more fact, of Skultety's 13 field goals, ten have come by way of the slam dunk.

On The Horizon
After Sunday's eternal trip back to Santa Barbara from Moscow via Spokane via Salt Lake City via Los Angeles, the Gauchos will play five of their final seven games at the Thunderdome. UCSB will return home for games on Thursday, February 7 against Pacific and Saturday, February 9 against Cal State Northridge. Both games will tip-off at 7:00 p.m.