Coming Off Of Its Best Game Of The Season, Men's Basketball Travels To Long Beach State & Pacific
Game No. 18
Thursday, February 1, 2001 at 5:30 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Long Beach State 49ers
at LBSU's Pyramid
Note: UCSB-LBSU game will be televised live on Fox Sports Net 2.
Game No. 19
Saturday, February 3, 2001 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at the University of the Pacific Tigers
at UOP's Spanos Center
Nov. 19 - at Pepperdine 64, UCSB 53
Nov. 21 - USF 77, UCSB 74 (OT)
Nov. 25 - at BYU 67, UCSB 53
Nov. 29 - at UCLA 83, UCSB 77
Dec. 2 - UCSB 57, Westmont College 50 (OT)
Dec. 6 - UCSB 80, San Diego State 77 (3 OT)
Dec. 9 - USC 75, UCSB 73
Dec. 22 - at St. Mary's 71, UCSB 63
Dec. 27 - at UC Riverside 63, UCSB 59
Dec. 30 - UCSB 85, Loyola Marymount 69
Jan. 4 - *UCSB 81, Boise State 75
Jan. 11 - *UCSB 74, at Cal State Fullerton 71
Jan. 13 - *at UC Irvine 80, UCSB 56
Jan. 18 - *Long Beach State 76, UCSB 75
Jan. 20 - *at Idaho 68, UCSB 67
Jan. 25 - *UC Irvine 66, UCSB 56
Jan. 27 - *UCSB 94 Cal State Fullerton 69
Feb. 1 - *at Long Beach State - 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 3 - *at Pacific - 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 8 - *Idaho - 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 10 - *Cal Poly - 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 15 - *Utah State - 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 17 - UC Riverside - 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 22 - *at Cal Poly - 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 24 - *Pacific - 3:00 p.m.
Mar. 1 - *at Utah State
Mar. 3 - *at Boise State
Mar. 8-10 - Big West Tournament
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 fourth season as the play-by-play announcer and Don Ford returns for his fifth year as the primary color announcer. Much to the chagrin of the listening public, UCSB Director of Athletic Media Relations Bill Mahoney will handle the color for selected road broadcasts.
The Gauchos On Broadcast.com
In addition to KEYT radio, all UCSB basketball broadcasts can be accessed on the internet at either Broadcast.com or at UCSB's official athletic website, www.UCSBgauchos.com.
UCSB On The Internet
The Official Athletic Site of UC Santa Barbara is www.UCSBgauchos.com. UCSB is part of the FANSonly network.
The UCSB Coaches Show
The Gaucho Coaches Show, hosted by Randy Lee, can be heard every Tuesday night during the basketball season at 6:30 p.m. on KEYT Newsradio, 1250 AM.
The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara enters this week's games with an overall record of 6-11 and a Big West mark of 3-4. On Saturday, the Gauchos snapped a four game losing streak with a resounding 94-69 victory over visiting Cal State Fullerton. The four-game losing streak in Big West play had come on the heels of a perfect 2-0 start to league play.
Gauchos Snap Losing Skid With Blowout Of Titans
On Saturday, UC Santa Barbara ended a four-game losing streak with a 94-69 win over Cal State Fullerton at the Thunderdome. The Titans scored the first basket of the game, but after that it was all Gauchos. UCSB took a 5-2 lead on a three-pointer by Branduinn Fullove and never looked back. The Gauchos led by as many as 29 points (85-56) before settling for a 25-point victory. UCSB was led by freshman forward Casey Cook who had 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field. Fullove and Mark Hull each added 13 points to aid the victory.
Ndiaye Will Redshirt Season
Adama Ndiaye, who was expected to be one of the top frontcourt players in the Big West this season, will redshirt, head coach Bob Williams announced last week. On November 16, Ndiaye fractured the ring finger on his left hand. On November 17, he had a pin placed in the finger, and he has remained sidelined ever since and will be unable to compete for the remainder of the season.
What About Bob?
Bob Williams is in his third season as head coach at UCSB. Last year he guided the Gauchos to a 14-14 overall record and a solid 10-6 mark in Big West play. He is the first coach in UCSB history to open his career with back-to-back seasons of .500 or better. In addition, he led the Gauchos to a record of 22-10 in league play in his first two seasons, a winning percentage of .687, the best two-year league mark in school history. In his first season, Williams led UCSB to the Big West's Western Division championship, a 15-13 record overall and a 12-4 record in league. He was named Big West Coach of the Year in 1999. Williams has posted a 35-38 overall record as head coach of the Gauchos. Including this year, his Big West record is 25-14 (.641). In his career, which includes stops at UC Davis and Menlo College, he now has a 224-138 record.
Probable Starters - Notes
G - Jacoby Atako - Has made just 5-of-29 shots (17.2%) in his last five games.
G - Branduinn Fullove - Leads UCSB with 29 assists in seven Big West games.
G - Nick Jones - Has scored in double-figures in six of the last nine games.
F - Mark Hull - Played season low 23 minutes vs. CSUF, but tied season high in assists (4).
F - Mike Vukovich - Has played only 29 total minutes in the last two games.
Possible Reserves - Notes
G - B.J. Ward - Fouled out in 15 minutes vs. CSUF, his second disqualification vs. the Titans.
G - LaRon Bryant - Tied for team lead in three-pointers (25) despite missing five games.
F - Juliano Jordani - Has averaged 7.7 ppg in the last three and has shot 64.3% in last four.
F - Casey Cook - Scored a career-high 14 points in win over Cal State Fullerton.
F - J.J. Todd - Had six boards vs. CSUF, doubling his total for the season.
G - LaDonte King - Went 3-for-3 from floor with career-high seven points vs. CSUF.
UCSB lost a heartbreaker to Long Beach State on January 18. With the Gauchos trailing by three points in the final seconds, freshman guard Branduinn Fullove attempted a three-pointer at the buzzer. The shot missed, but Fullove was fouled and went to the line to shoot three free throws. He made the first two, but the third attempt didn't drop and the 49ers walked away with a 76-75 win. Long Beach leads the all-time series, 46-41, and they have won the last three. Pacific leads its all-time series with the Gauchos by a 41-38 count. UCSB, however, has won the last four in a row, including both games last season. The Gauchos won at Stockton, 69-54 and in Santa Barbara they recorded a 58-53 victory.
In Saturday's win over Cal State Fullerton, UCSB had five players score in double-figures for the first time this year. The Gauchos were paced by freshman Casey Cook who dropped in 14. In addition, Branduinn Fullove and Mark Hull each added 13 while Juliano Jordani and LaRon Bryant had 11 apiece. Prior to the game against the Titans, UCSB had seen four players score in double-digits five times, but never five. Ironically, the last time the Gauchos had five players score in double-figures was on February 10, 2000 when they also did so in a home victory over Cal State Fullerton. In the game prior to Cal State Fullerton, vs. UC Irvine, the Gauchos had just one player score in double-figures, Fullove with exactly ten.
Making A Point
UCSB eclipsed the 90 point barrier for the first time this season in its win over Cal State Fullerton on Saturday. The Gauchos scored 94 points against the Titans, nine more than their previous high of 85 in a win over Loyola Marymount. In Big West games, the Gauchos' previous high total was the 81 they notched in a league-opening win over Boise State. In addition, the 94 points marked the first time UCSB had scored 90 or more since they had exactly 90 in a win over Western Colorado State in December of 1998. Finally, 94 as the most scored by a Bob Williams-coached Gaucho team and the highest point total since the team scored 99 in a win over Nevada during the 1997-98 season.
In the win over Cal State Fullerton, the Gauchos assisted on 26 of 34 baskets. The 26 assists ties the eighth highest total in school history and it was the most since UCSB came up with 27 in a game against San Francisco State in December of 1997. Most impressively, the Gauchos were paced by Branduinn Fullove who had six, but in all, they had six players with three or more. In addition to Fullove's six, Mark Hull and B.J. Ward each had four and Jacoby Atako, Nick Jones and LaRon Bryant each had three. With his game-high six assists, Fullove is now averaging a team-leading 3.4 assists per game. Fullove is one of three Gaucho players averaging more than three assists per game. Sophomore guard B.J. Ward is passing off for 3.2 assists per game while freshman guard Jacoby Atako is averaging 3.1 per contest.
Youth Is Served
Not only is youth served, the Gauchos are serving it in huge helpings. Through 17 games, UCSB is utilizing its underclassmen (freshmen and sophomores) at a tremendously high rate. Freshmen have recorded 1,506 of the team's 3,525 total minutes, 42.7%. Sophomores have played 976 minutes, 27.7%. Combined, the UCSB underclassmen have played 2,482 minutes, 70.4% of this season's available minutes. The Gauchos' only two seniors have played a total of 660 minutes, 18.7%.
Here is a breakdown of UCSB primary statistics and percentages by class:
A Fresh Approach
UCSB's starting lineup against Loyola Marymount on December 30 included a trio of freshmen. It was the first time on record that a Gaucho basketball team had started three freshmen. They have now gone with the three freshman lineup in their last eight games and after a 3-0 start, they are now 4-4 in those contests.
UCSB is struggling in road games this season. They will embark on this week's two-game road swing with a record of 1-7 away from the Thunderdome. The Gauchos' lone victory away from home was their 74-71 win at Cal State Fullerton on January 11. They have dropped two in a row away from home since the win at Fullerton, losing at UC Irvine and then dropping a tear-jerker at Idaho, 76-75. Overall, in road games, the Gauchos are being outscored by an average of 8.25 points per game. In home games, UCSB outscores its opposition by an average of 4.56 points per contest.
Field Goal Rollercoaster
The Gaucho field goal percentage rollercoaster hit a new high on Saturday when they shot a season-best 55.7% against Cal State Fullerton. The mark was their best since they hit 60.3% in December of 1998 against Western Colorado State. In addition, the outstanding shooting effort came one game after UCSB had hit a miserable 32.8% (19-of-58) in a loss to UC Irvine. Actually, since a horrific beginning to the season, the Gauchos have actually not been too bad with their field goal shooting. The 32.8% against UC Irvine was bad, but it was the only sub-40.0% effort they have had in the last eight games. In the first nine games, UCSB suffered through five sub-40.0% games and made only 201-of-551 shots from the floor, a dismal 36.5%. In the last eight games, they have made 205-of-435, a decent 47.1%. Overall, UCSB is now shooting 41.9%, nothing to declare a national holiday over, but at least the coaching staff doesn't flinch when they read it any more.
Something Is Afoul
Last season, UCSB averaged 18.6 fouls per game. This year, the Gauchos are committing an average of 20.8 fouls per contest. Last season the Gauchos had ten player disqualifications in 28 games. This season, UCSB has had 13 player disqualifications in only 17 games. Leading the way for the Gauchos is junior forward Mike Vukovich who has fouled out of six games. Next in line is sophomore guard B.J. Ward who has fouled out of four games. In fact, Ward has not wasted time in his last two disqualifications. In a pair of wins over Cal State Fullerton, he fouled out in 20 and 15 minutes respectively. Vukovich has also had some quickies, fouling out in 11, 16, 19, and 23 minutes.
Bryant Aids Bench Resurgence
The UC Santa Barbara starters have done a pretty good job this season, particularly in Big West games. The bench, on the other hand, has had trouble cranking it up offensively. In the first five league games, the Gaucho starters scored 305 of the team's 353 points, an average of 61.0 per game. The bench production, which has been hampered by the absence of three-point specialist LaRon Bryant, had scored only 48 points in those five games, an average of 9.6 points per game. With Bryant's return, however, that trend has started to reverse itself in the last two games. In Thursday's loss to UC Irvine, Bryant returned after missing five games with a sprained knee and scored eight points. The bench tallied 27 of the team's 56 in that contest. On Saturday, the bench combined for 47 points, exactly half of the team's total of 94. In fact, five players scored in double-figures on Saturday and three came off the bench. Bryant was again a major factor with 11 points, but the leader was freshman Casey Cook who had 14. Juliano Jordani also added 11. In the last two games, the bench has combined for 74 of the team's 150 points, 49.3%.
Whole Lotta Fullove
Apologies to Led Zeppelin and those of you who have never heard the classic tune of nearly the same name, but freshman guard Branduinn Fullove is proving to be one of UCSB's best all-around players. He is doing a whole lotta everything. When he led the team with six assists on Saturday, he became the team-leader in assists with an average of 3.4 per game. Fullove is at or near the team-lead in three key categories. He is first in assists, second in scoring (10.9 points per game) and second in rebounding (5.2 per game). In Big West play, Fullove leads the team in scoring (13.1 points per game) and assists (4.14 per game). He has scored in double-figures eight times this season, including six times in the last eight games. In Thursday's loss to UC Irvine, Fullove became the first Gaucho freshman on record to lead the team in scoring (ten points), rebounds (11) and assists (three). He has either led or tied for the team lead in assists eight times in is 14 games this season. He has led the team in scoring three times and he has either led or tied for the team lead in rebounds three times. Fullove is also emerging as an outside shooting threat with 14 three-point baskets. After opening the season by making only 3-of-14 (21.4%), he has made 11-of-23 (47.8%) over the last eight games. In fact, Fullove has made at least one three-pointer in eight straight. Finally, his double-double in Thursday's game against UCI was the first double-double by a Gaucho freshman since Rob Ramaker recorded three of them in the 1993-94 season.
The Hull Truth, Nothing But
Sophomore Mark Hull bounced back from one of his worst performances ever with a solid outing against Cal State Fullerton on Saturday. After going 1-for-11 and scoring only two points in 31 minutes against UC Irvine, his 4-for-7, 13 point effort in 23 minutes on Saturday had to feel like a night off. Hull leads UCSB in overall scoring at 13.9 points per game and he has been extremely consistent, scoring in double-figures 13 times in 17 games, including six of the last seven. He is tied for the team-lead in three-point baskets with 25 and he has made at least one in 13 games, including seven of the last eight. Since a 2-for-12 start from three-point territory, Hull has made 23-of-57, 40.4%, and that includes a two game stretch against St. Mary's and UC Riverside when he was 1-for-13. One recent area of concern regarding Hull was his stamina. He easily leads the Gauchos in minutes played with 575, 152 more than the next closest player (Fullove, who has missed three games, has played 423 minutes). Prior to Saturday's game when he played a season-low 23 minutes, Hull had played 30 or more nine straight games and, in fact, his 23 minute outing against the Titans marked only the second time this season he has played fewer than 30. During UCSB's just-snapped four-game losing streak, Hull scored a total of 51 points, an average of 12.7 per game. Of his 51 points, however, 46 were scored in the first half of those games (11.5) and only five were scored in the second half of the games (1.2 per game). Saturday, he had six in the first half and seven in the second. Early in the season, it was just the opposite for Hull. In the first seven games of the season, Hull averaged 15.9 points per game, 10.4 of which were scored in the first half of games.
The Vukovich File
Junior Mike Vukovich had a run in which he scored in double-digits nine times in ten games and that was after scoring ten or more only twice in the first 54 games of his career. Now, he has been in single-digits three times in the last four games. In the last two games, Vukovich has played only 29 total minutes and that was on the heels of playing 20 or more in seven in row and ten of 11. Still, since being tossed into the fire after the season-ending injury to Adama Ndiaye, Vukovich is having a very good year, averaging 10.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots per game. In the last 12 games, in fact he has been even better, averaging 12.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots per game while shooting 60.0% from the field. Vukovich has recorded a pair of double-doubles on the season (one each against San Diego State and Long Beach State) and he has scored a career-high 20 points twice (vs. Boise State and Long Beach State). Entering the year, he had played 453 minutes in 49 games, scoring 158 points, passing off for 13 assists and coming up with five steals. In 377 minutes over 17 games this season, he has scored 182 points, passed off for 12 assists and produced 15 steals.
Cook Serves Up His Best Effort
For all of the positive things that happened in Saturday's win over Cal State Fullerton, perhaps the most positive, individually speaking, was the play of freshman forward Casey Cook. Not only did Cook lead the team with a career-high 14 points, but he did so by making 6-of-9 shots from the field. Cook's solid shooting effort was the continuation of a trend. While he is hitting only 32.5% of his field goals this season, the 6-foot-8 native of Sacramento has improved lately. In the last two games he has made 8-of-12 field goal attempts (66.7%) and in the last six games he has gone 13-of-24, 54.2%. In fact, his improvement from two-point range is even more significant. In the last two games Cook has made eight out of ten two-pointers (80.0%) and in the last six contests he has hit 13-of-24 shots from inside the three-point line, a very solid 54.2%. On the year, he is now averaging 4.2 points and 4.1 rebounds per game, but in the last five games, he is chipping in 6.0 points and 4.6 rebounds.
The Gauchos are searching for consistency out of their point guard position. Freshman Jacoby Atako, who has started the last nine games, and sophomore B.J. Ward, who started the first eight, are combining for 9.9 points, 6.3 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game. They are also averaging 4.8 turnovers per outing. Ward is averaging 5.5 points per game and shooting 45.3% from the floor while Atako is averaging 4.4 points per game. Atako is really struggling with his shooting, however, hitting only 28.4% from the field. In the last five games, the first-year player out of Santa Monica High School has made just 5-of-29 shots from the floor, 17.2%. In UCSB's one-point loss at Long Beach State on January 18, Atako had a career-high nine assists, the most by a UCSB freshman since Aaron McCarthy set a freshman record by passing off for 13 against the 49ers in February of 1981.
Starting Lineup Rundown
Here is UCSB's record with the various starting lineups this season:
1. Ward, Bryant, Hull, Jordani and Vukovich: 2-5
2. Ward, Bryant, Fullove, Hull and Jordani: 0-1
3. Atako, Fullove, Hull, Jordani and Vukovich: 0-1
4. Atako, Jones, Fullove, Hull and Vukovich: 4-4
Keeping Up With Jones
Freshman Nick Jones is one of four Gauchos averaging at least 11 points per game in Big West play. He enters Thursday's game at Long Beach averaging 11.6 per game in league play and 8.4 per game overall. In the last nine games, of which he has started eight, he has scored at least ten six times and averaged 12.2 points and made 42-of-88 shots, 47.7%. Jones has also picked up the pace on the boards. Although he is averaging 3.6 per game overall, he has had five or more in each of the last four games and five times in the last six games. Over that span, Jones has averaged 5.3 per game. Finally, he played only 113 minutes in the first eight games, an average of 14.1 per game. In those eight games, Jones played a high of exactly 20 minutes twice. In the last nine games, he has played 271 minutes, an average of 30.1 per game and he has played at least 27 in all nine and 30 or more five times.
The Jordani Rules
While his numbers have been modest, senior Juliano Jordani is playing his best basketball as a Gaucho right now. He had 11 points and seven rebounds in 18 minutes on Saturday against Cal State Fullerton and while he is averaging 5.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and shooting 39.2% on the season, he has picked up the pace recently. In the last three games he is averaging 7.7 points per game and in the last four games he has made 9-of-14 shots from the field, 64.3%.
*Last season, in 28 games, the Gauchos had four players score in double-figures a total of six times. After having five players notch double-figures on Saturday, the team has now had four (or more) score in double-digits six times in 17 games this season.
* The Gauchos have committed more fouls than their opponents only five times in 16 games this season. n A freshman (Branduinn Fullove or Jacoby Atako) has either led or tied for the team lead in assists in 12 straight games and in 15 of the last 17 contests.
* Of the five major statistical categories (points, rebounds, assists, blocked shots and steals) a freshman or sophomore has led or tied for the team lead 56 times in 85 opportunities, 65.9%.
* Eight different players have either led or tied for the team lead in scoring this season. On Saturday, J.J. Todd and LaDonte King combined for 11 points and six rebounds. Entering the game, that duo had combined for zero points and sox rebounds in the previous 16 games.
On The Horizon
Following this weekend's games at Long Beach State and Pacific, the Gauchos will return home for four games. They will host Idaho on Thursday, February 8, Cal Poly on Saturday, February 10, Utah State on Thursday, February 15 and UC Riverside on Saturday, February 17. All of the games will begin at 7:00 p.m.