With Win Streak At Five, Men's Basketball Hosts Big West-Leading Utah State On Thursday

Feb. 14, 2001

The Schedule
Game No. 22
Thursday, February 15, 2001 at 7:00 p.m.

UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Utah State Aggies
at UCSB's Thunderdome

Game No. 23
Saturday, February 17, 2001 at 7:00 p.m.

UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. UC Riverside Highlanders
at UCSB's Thunderdome

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 - *UCSB 78, at Long Beach State 71
Feb. 3 - *UCSB 73, at Pacific 67
Feb. 8 - *UCSB 69, Idaho 67
Feb. 10 - *UCSB 95, Cal Poly 88
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 the week with an overall record of 10-11 and a Big West mark of 7-4. The Gauchos have won five games in a row, their longest streak of the season. Since 0-4 and 2-7 starts to the season, UCSB has gone 10-7 and 8-4. Last season, the Gauchos were 9-12 after 21 games overall and 6-5 in Big West play.

Hull Scores Career-High 31 In Win Over Cal Poly
Mark Hull scored a career-high 31 points on Saturday, to lead UC Santa Barbara to a 95-88 Big West win over visiting Cal Poly. The Gauchos piled up a 22 point lead at 69-47 before allowing the Mustangs to close to within two at 75-73. UCSB, however, used key baskets by freshmen guards Nick Jones and Jacoby Atako in the final 5:47, to put the game away. The Jones-Atako duo scored 13 straight points (seven by Jones and six by Atako) after Cal Poly made the score 75-73. When Atako capped the spurt by making a free throw with 1:15 to go in the game, the lead was back up to six and the Gauchos coasted from there. Jones finished with 15 and Atako finished with a career-high 11 in the victory. As he was scoring 31, Hull actually scored 20 straight points for the Gauchos during one stretch that spanned the first and second halves. Another freshman, Branduinn Fullove, also scored in double-figures, finishing with 14.

Shooting Performance Against Cal Poly Was Best In 11 Years
UC Santa Barbara made 29-of-43 shots from the field in Saturday's win over Cal Poly, a 67.4% field goal percentage. The 67.4% equalled the fourth best performance in school history and it was the best since the Gauchos shot 69.8% in a win at the University of San Diego on November 29, 1989. The all-time best mark of 71.0% was set in 1984 against New Mexico State.

Winning Streak Equals Longest During Williams Tenure
UCSB's five game winning streak matches the longest such streak since Bob Williams became head coach before the 1998-99 season. The current streak has included home wins over Cal State Fullerton, Idaho and Cal Poly, and road victories at Long Beach State and Pacific. The Gauchos also won five games in a row last season, logging home victories over Cal State Fullerton and Idaho, and road wins at Cal State Fullerton, UC Irvine and Cal Poly. The last time UCSB posted a six game winning streak when the 1992-93 Gauchos won its first six in succession.

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 39-38 overall record as head coach of the Gauchos. Including this year, his Big West record is 29-14 (.674), the third best mark in the league over that span. In his career, which includes stops at UC Davis and Menlo College, he now has a 228-138 record.

Probable Starters - Notes
G - Jacoby Atako - Has had 14 assists and only four turnovers in last three games.
G - Branduinn Fullove - Has made 9-of-15 three-pointers (60.0%) in last five games.
G - Nick Jones - Has made 21-of-38 field goals (55.3%) and 13-of-14 free throws (92.9%) in last four.
F - Mark Hull - 31 points vs. Cal Poly was career-high and most by Gaucho since 1998-99 season.
F - Mike Vukovich - Averaging 15.3 points per game and shooting 76.7% in the last four games.

Possible Reserves - Notes
G - B.J. Ward - Has shot 70.0% from the field in the last seven games.
G - LaRon Bryant - Went without a field goal (0-for-3) vs. Cal Poly, the first time this season.
F - Juliano Jordani - Has hit 13-of-23 (56.5%) field goal attempts over the last eight games.
F - Casey Cook - Has made 14-of-26 shots from the field in the last six games, 53.8%.
F - J.J. Todd - The 11 minutes he played vs. Cal Poly was his longest outing of the season.
G - LaDonte King - Went 3-for-3 from floor with career-high seven points vs. CSUF.

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 has remained sidelined ever since, unable to compete for the remainder of the season.

The Opposition
Utah State is the only Big West opponent that the Gauchos have yet to play this season. UCSB has played the Aggies 45 times over the years and the series dates back to 1970. Utah State holds a 28-21 advantage over the Gauchos and they won the only meeting between the schools last season, 61-57 at the Thunderdome. In that game, UCSB led by six with two minutes left, but the Aggies went on a 10-0 run to end the game. The Gauchos have already played UC Riverside once this season, losing 63-59 in Riverside on December 27. The victory by the Highlanders was their first ever over UCSB. The Gauchos hold a 6-1 advantage over UCR. While Riverside is a non-conference foe this season, they will join the Big West for the 2001-02 season.

Fabulous Februarys
Since Bob Williams arrived at UCSB for the 1998-99 season, the Gauchos have been pretty tough to beat in the month of February. This year, Santa Barbara has jumped to a 4-0 mark in the second month of the year, last year they went 7-1 in February and in Williams' first season, they were 6-2. For those of you who struggle with simple addition, that would add up to an outstanding 17-3, a winning percentage of 85.0%. In the three Februarys, the Gauchos have gone 8-2 on the road and 9-1 at home.

Shooting Stars
The Gaucho field goal percentage continues to progress upward. In Saturday's win over Cal Poly, they shot 67.4%, the school's fourth best percentage in history and the best in more than 11 years. On Thursday, against Idaho, they made 53.1% and on February 3 at Pacific, they shot 54.9%. Over the last three games, UCSB has made 83-of-143 shots from the floor, an outstanding 58.0%. In the first nine games of the season, Santa Barbara made better than 45.0% from the field only one time, a 49.1% effort at UCLA. In those first nine games, they made less than 40.0% five times and they really bottomed-out with a 29.4% performance at BYU. In the first nine, UCSB shot a combined 201-of-551, 36.5%. In the last 12 games, they have been over 60.0% once, over 50.0% six times, over 45.0% nine times and over 40.0% 11 times. In the last 12, they have made 312-of-631, 49.4%. In fact, as a team, the Gauchos are now shooting 44.0% overall and 49.1% in Big West games. By contrast, last year's version of the Gauchos shot only 41.4% overall and 43.7% in Big West games.

Youth Is Served
Not only is youth served, the Gauchos are serving it in huge helpings. Through 21 games, UCSB is utilizing its underclassmen (freshmen and sophomores) at a tremendously high rate. Freshmen have recorded 1,902 of the team's 4,325 total minutes, 44.0%. Sophomores have played 1,160 minutes, 26.8%. Combined, the UCSB underclassmen have played 3,062 minutes, 70.8% of this season's available minutes. The Gauchos' only two seniors have played a total of 785 minutes, 18.2%.

Class War
Here is a breakdown of UCSB primary statistics and percentages by class:

LaRon Bryant and Juliano Jordani
244 points - 16.4%
137 rebounds - 19.3%
30 assists - 9.7%
18 steals - 13.6%

Mike Vukovich and LaDonte King
250 points - 16.8%
118 rebounds - 16.6%
20 assists - 6.5%
18 steals - 13.6%
31 blocks - 59.6%

Mark Hull and B.J. Ward
400 points - 26.8%
142 rebounds - 20.0%
94 assists - 30.5%
48 steals - 36.4%

Branduinn Fullove, Jacoby Atako, Nick Jones, Casey Cook and J.J. Todd
598 points - 40.1%
311 rebounds - 43.1%
163 assists - 52.9%
50 steals - 37.8%

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 12 games, recording a 8-4 record over that span.

Streaky Numbers
The reasons for UCSB's current five-game winning streak are pretty obvious when you look at the numbers. The Gauchos have shot 45.3% or better from the floor in the last five games, limiting the opposition to 42.9% or below in each. Combined, in the wins over Cal Poly, Idaho, Long Beach State, Pacific and Cal State Fullerton, the Gauchos made 141-of-257 from the field, 54.9%. Over that same period of time, they limited the opponents to 115-of-299 from the floor, 38.5%. While the Gauchos have not attempted a ton of three-pointers during the three game streak, their efficiency has been pretty good, while the efficiency of the opponents has not been too good. UCSB is 27-of-68, 39.7% from beyond the arc de trois in the last five contests. The five opponents, on the other hand, have gone a combined 33-of-120, 27.5%.

More Streaky Numbers
Field goal shooting is not the lone reason for UCSB's recent success. In the last five games, the Gauchos are outrebounding opponents by 3.8 boards per game. They are shooting 76.9% from the free throw line, while the opposition is shooting 69.7%. One oddball stat during the streak is turnovers. The Gauchos have turned the ball over 91 times in the last five games, 18.2 per game. The five opponents, meanwhile, have committed only 55 turnovers in the last five, 11.0 per game.

Balancing The Books
Since they were beaten 64-53 in the season opener at Pepperdine, the Gauchos have been playing catch-up in the scoring column. After four games this season, UCSB was 0-4 and had been outscored by a total of 34 points. After nine games, they were 2-7 and had been outscored by 38 points. When they beat Cal Poly by seven on Saturday, the Gauchos pulled to within two points of their opponents in the scoring column, 1,494 to 1,492.

General Assistance
During their current five game winning streak, the Gauchos have nailed 141 field goals, assisting on 94 of them, 66.7%. In the first game of the streak, a win over Cal State Fullerton, the Gauchos assisted on 26 of 34 baskets. The 26 assists tied 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. While they have assisted on 66.7% of their baskets in the last five games, the Gauchos assisted on only 58.3% of their baskets in the first 16 games. From an individual standpoint, UCSB has had at least three players with three or more assists in four of the last five games.

The Hull Truth, Nothing But
Sophomore Mark Hull scored a career-high 31 points in Saturday's win over Cal Poly, the most points scored by a Gaucho player since Josh Merrill scored 31 in a win over Long Beach State in 1999. Hull made 9-of-14 shots from the field and 11-of-11 from the free throw line against the Mustangs. Hull remains the Gauchos' leading scorer overall at 14.3 points per game, and now, for the first time this season, he is UCSB's leading scorer in Big West games at 14.0 per game. On Thursday against Idaho, he had 13 points and a key blocked shot. In his last five games, Hull is averaging 15.4 points, 3.0 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game. He has been a consistent offensive force all season, scoring in double-figures 16 times in 21 games, including nine of the last 11. He leads the team in three-point baskets with 30, and he has made at least one in 17 games, including 11 of the last 12. Since a 2-for-12 start from three-point territory, Hull has made 28-of-70, 40.0%, and that includes a two game stretch against St. Mary's and UC Riverside when he was 1-for-13. Hull's 14 field goal attempts against Cal Poly were the most he has launched in league play and the most since he attempted 14 against UC Riverside on December 27. Prior to taking 14 shots vs. Cal Poly, he had gone four successive games with fewer than ten attempts. By making 11-of-11 from the line on Saturday, Hull is now shooting 79.6% from the free throw line, 82.2% in the last 16 games. The game against the Mustangs also marked the third in a row in which Hull played fewer than 30 minutes, his first such streak of the season. In fact, he has now played fewer than 30 in four of the last five games after having played 30 or more in 15 of the first 16. In his career, Hull has now scored 589 points, the second highest combined freshman and sophomore total in school history. Carrick DeHart scored 725 in his freshman and sophomore campaigns.

Fulloving It
Freshman guard Branduinn Fullove is proving to be one of UCSB's best all-around players, and on Thursday against Idaho, he proved to be the team's best clutch player as well. In the last five minutes of the game, UCSB scored seven points, one on a free throw by Mike Vukovich and six on three field goals by Fullove. With 41 seconds remaining and the score tied at 65, he made a spectacular tip-in of a Nick Jones shot and after the Vandals tied the score at 67, he hit the game-winning jumper with under two seconds to play. Fullove finished with a game-high and career-high 23 points and team-highs of seven rebounds and four assists. On Saturday, he kept rolling, scoring 14 points, on 4-of-5 shooting overall and 2-for-2 from three-point range, and passing off for a game-high five assists. In the last two games, Fullove has made 14-of-19 shots overall (73.7%), 5-of-6 from three-point territory (83.3%) and all four of his free throws. On the year, Fullove is doing a little bit of everything. Overall, he leads the team with an average of 3.4 assists per game, he is second in scoring at 11.8 points per game and he is second in rebounding at 5.1 per game. In Big West play, Fullove's numbers are even better. In 11 league contests, the freshman from Simi Valley is second on the team at 13.8 points per game and a team-leading 3.9 assists per game. He is also second at 4.9 rebounds per contest. Fullove has scored in double-figures 11 times this season, including five of the last six games and nine times in the last 12 games. In a loss to UC Irvine on January 25, Fullove became the first Gaucho freshman on record to lead the team in scoring (ten points), rebounds (11) and assists (three) and then turned the trick for a second time on Thursday against Idaho. He has either led or tied for the team lead in assists ten times in his 18 games this season. Fullove has led the team in scoring four times and he has either led or tied for the team lead in rebounds four times. He is also emerging as an outside shooting threat with 21 three-point baskets. After opening the season by making only 3-of-14 (21.4%), he has made 18-of-35 (51.4%) over the last 12 games. In fact, Fullove has made at least one three-pointer in 12 straight. He is also UCSB's best free throw shooter. Including his 4-for-4 performance against Cal Poly, he has now made 67-of-80, 83.7%. Finally, his double-double against UCI on January 25 was the first double-double by a Gaucho freshman since the 1993-94 season.

The Vukovich File
Mike Vukovich continues to give UCSB outstanding offensive performances in the post and none have been better than when he made 12-of-12 shots from the field and scored a career-high 27 points on February 3 against Pacific. While that was his best, it was not Vukovich's only good outing. Although he fouled out in only 15 minutes on Saturday against Cal Poly, he did make 4-of-5 from the field before he left the game, improving his field goal percentage on the year to a team-high 59.2%. In Big West games, Vukovich is shooting an even more impressive 63.8%. Vukovich enters the week as the Gauchos' third leading scorer (11.6 ppg) and leading rebounder (5.6 rpg) and shot blocker (31). In 11 Big West games, third on the team in scoring (13.3 ppg), tops in rebounding (6.2 rpg) and blocked shots (17) and fourth in steals (9). Since a slow start this season, Vukovich has been one of the most valuable players on the team. Tossed into the fire, and the starting lineup, when Adama Ndiaye fractured his finger in the preseason, he struggled early, averaging 5.4 points and 4.0 rebounds in the first five games. In those first five, he made just 11-of-29 (37.9%) shots from the field, and 5-of-10 (50.0%) from the free throw line. In game six, however, a light went on and Vukovich hasn't been the same since. In the last 16 contests, he has averaged 13.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.5 blocked shots, 1.0 steals, and 1.0 assists per game. He has also made 89-of-140 from the field, 63.6%, and 38-of-51 from the free throw line, 74.5%. And, after scoring in double-figures just twice in his the first 54 games of his career, Vukovich has scored in double-digits 12 times in the last 16 games, scoring 20 or more three times in that span.

The Nick Of Time
In Saturday's win over Cal Poly, Nick Jones made the big baskets. When the Mustangs pulled within two points with just under six minutes to play, he combined with another freshman, Jacoby Atako, to restore order. In the final six minutes, Jones scored seven of his 15. His performance against Cal Poly was the third time Jones has come through to help UCSB pull out a close game during the current five game streak. On February 1 at Long Beach State, the freshman guard from Oxnard, had his best game as a Gaucho tying career-highs with 19 points and seven rebounds. In the final 8:41 of the game, as UCSB outscored the 49ers 23-3, he scored nine points, making 4-of-5 shots from the floor and his only free throw. Jones followed that up by scoring 13 points (5-of-9 from the floor and 2-for-2 from the free throw line) in the win at Pacific, including four points in the final 3:19 minutes to help cinch the victory. On the year, he is now averaging 9.5 points and 3.8 rebounds per game overall, but in league play, he is chipping in 12.6 points and 4.9 rebounds while shooting exactly 50.0% from the field. Since playing only 113 minutes in the first eight games (14.1 per game), never playing more than 20 in any one, Jones has picked up the pace. In the last 13 games he played 390 minutes, an average of 30.0 per game and he has played at least 25 in all 13 and 30 or more eight times. Over the last 13 games, Jones has scored in double-figures ten times, averaging 12.8 per game. In the last 12 games, Jones has made 84-of-175 shots from the field, 48.0%. Incidentally, in addition to his 19 point outing at Long Beach, he also had 19 points in a win over Loyola Marymount on December 30 and in addition to his seven rebound effort at Long Beach, he had seven in games against Long Beach at home and at Cal State Fullerton. In fact, Jones has come up with five or more rebounds in six of the last eight games and seven of ten.

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: 8-4

Pointing The Way
Freshman Jacoby Atako had one of his best games as a Gaucho in Saturday's win over Cal Poly. Not only did he score a career-high 11 points, but he made 3-of-4 shots from the field, his best shooting performance of the season, and he passed off for four assists while turning the ball over only one time. On season, Atako is now second on the team at 3.3 assists per game. In the last three games the Santa Monica High School product has distributed 16 assists while committing only four turnovers, a 4-to-1 assist to turnover ratio. On the season, now checks in with 70 assists and only 46 turnovers, a 1.52-to-1.0 assist to turnover ratio.

What's Cooking?
Casey Cook, the most unsung of the Gauchos' top four freshmen, has started to emerge lately. While he is averaging 4.0 points per game and shooting 34.4% from the floor, the numbers have been better in the last six games. In the last six, Cook has averaged 6.0 points and 3.5 rebounds per game while making 14-of-25 shots, 56.0%. In fact, the numbers are even better when only considering his two-point shooting ability. In the last six, Cook has made 14-of-21 shots from two-point country, 66.7%. On the season, he has made just 2-of-16 from three-point range, missing his last 11 in a row. On the other hand, Cook has made 32-of-80 shots from two-point range, 40.0%. At 3.7 rebounds per game in an average of only 14.8 minutes per game, Cook leads the team in rebounds per minutes played. He has pulled down five or more boards six times, seven or more four times and his career-high of nine came against USF.

Parting Shots
* Last season, in 28 games, the Gauchos had four players score in double-figures a total of six times. After having four players notch double-figures against Cal Poly on Saturday, the team has now had four (or more) score in double-digits nine times in 21 games this season.

* The Gauchos have committed more fouls than their opponents only six times in 21 games this season.

* A freshman (Branduinn Fullove or Jacoby Atako) has either led or tied for the team lead in assists in 15 of the last 17 games and in 18 of the 21 contests this season.

* 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 68 times in 105 opportunities, 65.0%.

* Eight different players have either led or tied for the team lead in scoring this season.

* Six different players have either led or tied for the team-lead in rebounding.