Men's Basketball (1-0) Goes On The Road To Begin Difficult Stretch Of Three Games In Five Days

Nov. 22, 2001

The Schedule
Game No. 2
Saturday, November 24, 2001 at 7:00 p.m.

UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at USF Dons
at USF's War Memorial Gymnasium

Game No. 3
Monday, November 26, 2001 at 7:30 p.m.

UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at USC Trojans
at Los Angeles Memoral Sports Arena
Fox Sports Net

Game No. 4
Wednesday, November 28, 2001 at 7:00 p.m.

UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. BYU Cougars
at UCSB's Thunderdome

The Gauchos On The Radio
All UC Santa Barbara basketball games are broadcast live on KEYT radio, 1250 AM in Santa Barbara. Randy Lee is back for his fifth season as the play-by-play announcer and Don Ford returns for his sixth year as the primary color announcer. Much to the disgust of the listening public, UCSB Director of Athletic Media Relations Bill Mahoney will handle the color for selected road broadcasts.

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

The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara enters this week's action with a 1-0 record. The Gauchos opened the 2001-02 season with a 51-42 victory over Westmont College, a crosstown NAIA opponent.

So That's What 1-0 Feels Like
The season-opening victory by UCSB was the program's first under head coach Bob Williams and the first since the 1997-98 season. In the previous three years, the Gauchos opened the season with losses to Pepperdine (twice) and Stanford.

UCSB Fares Well In Preseason Prognostications
UCSB fares quite well in the predictions made in the myriad of college basketball preseason publications. We will start from the bottom up. Basketball News picks the Gauchos fifth, and they have Mark Hull as a first-team all-league choice. Athlon has picked UCSB to finish third, with Hull earning first-team all-league, and Adama Ndiaye selected as the Big West's Defensive Player of the Year. Lindy's selects UCSB second. Street & Smith's has the Gauchos pegged to win the Big West, as does The Sporting News and CBS Sportsline. The Sporting News also has Ndiaye as a first-team all-leaguer, and Branduinn Fullove as a second-teamer.

Tough Stretch Will Test Gauchos
When UCSB travels to the University of San Francisco on Saturday, it will mark the beginning of a very tough stretch of games, arguably the most difficult stretch of the 2001-02 season. Following the game at USF on Saturday, UCSB will travel to Los Angeles to play nationally-ranked USC on Monday, November 26, and then they return home for a Wednesday, November 28 game at the Thunderdome against defending Mountain West Conference Champion BYU. The three-games-in-five-days is the first such stretch since Bob Williams became head coach prior to the 1998-99 season.

What About Bob?
Bob Williams is in his fourth season as head coach at UCSB. 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 43-42 record. The 43 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 season under Williams, the Gauchos have progressively gotten better and better, playing their best basketball late in the season. In fact, in three years under his guidance, UCSB has logged a 31-17 record in Big West games, a winning percentage of .646, 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 record overall and a 12-4 record in league. He was named Big West Coach of the Year in 1999. Two years ago, they went 14-14 overall, and 10-6 in league. In his career at four-year schools, which includes stops at UC Davis and Menlo College, he now has a 232-142 (.620) record.

Pepperdine Game Moved To 7:00 P.M.
UCSB'December 8 home game against Pepperdine, originally schedued for 5:00 p.m. to accomodate television, has been moved to 7:00 p.m. Fox Sports Net, which was to televise the game originally has changed its schedule and will not be carrying the Gaucho-Wave clash.

UCSB and USF have played 28 times and the Dons hold a decisive 22-6 advantage. Last year, USF edged the Gauchos in overtime at the Thunderdome, 77-74. The last time UCSB defeated the Dons was in 1996. USF has won the last four games in the series.

UCSB and USC have played ten times and the Trojans have logged a perfect 10-0 mark over the Gauchos. Last season, USC's David Bluthenthal hit a put-back with less than ten seconds remaining, and UCSB missed two shots in the waning seconds as the Trojans held on for a 75-73 in in Santa Barbara. The last time the teams met at the Sports Arena, two seasons ago, USC won 94-73.

The Gauchos and Cougars have played four times and BYU is a perfect 4-0. Last season, the Cougars won in Provo by a scre of 67-53. The teams met in Santa Barbara during the 1999-2000 season and BYU won that one by a score of 57-48.

Possible Starters - Notes
G - Jacoby Atako - Averaged - Tied for the team-lead with four assists in the opener.
G - Branduinn Fullove - Led team with 19 points vs. Westmont. Went 5-for-5 from two-point range.
G - Mark Hull - Needs 11 points to move past the 700 point mark.
F - Mike Vukovich - Foul troubles limited him to 13 minutes in opener.
F - Adama Ndiaye - Had 14 rebounds in opener, his third highest total ever. Also had seven turnovers.

Possible Reserves - Notes
G - Nick Jones - Struggled with his offense in game one, hitting just 1-of-7 shots from the field.
G - B.J. Ward - Tied for team-lead with four assists and was in durng pivotal time down stretch.
G - Chrismen Oliver - Played one minute in his first game as a Gaucho.
G - Chris Newell - Has not yet played this season.
F - Bray Skultety - Has not yet played this season.
F - Casey Cook - Returned from sprained thumb in opener, playing 14 minutes and scoring two points.
F - Bryan Whitehead - Saw eight minutes of action in his UCSB debut, scoring two points.
F - J.J. Todd - Herniated disk in his back has him sidelined indefinitely.

UCSB Gets Defensive In Season-Opening Victory
By no means was UCSB's 51-42 win over Westmont College a beautiful display, but let's face it, a win is a win. The Gauchos used a stellar defensive performance to record their first season-opening victory in four seasons. UCSB limited the Warriors to 13-of-53 from the field, a meager 24.5%. Last season, the lowest mark by a Gaucho opponent was 30.3%, also by Westmont. UCSB also produced four blocked shots, three of them by Adama Ndiaye, and six steals, two apiece by Ndiaye and Jones.

On The Other Hand...
Defense was a bright spot in the win over Wesmont, but there were some things that weren't as positive. UCSB made just 18-of-45 shots, 40.0%, and only 3-of-14 three-pointers, 21.4%. Perhaps the two most annoying statistics, however, were rebounds and turnovers. The Gauchos were outrebounded by the much smaller Warriors, 37-35. Even more depressing was the fact that UCSB turned the ball over 20 times, including 13 times in the first half. Last year, turnovers were a consistent problem for the Gauchos as they averaged 16.1 per game.

Fullove Will Again Have A Full Plate
While the team highlights were limited on Saturday, a few individuals stood out. The most noteworthy performance was by sophomore guard Branduinn Fullove who led the Gauchos with 19 points, including a three-point basket with just over a minute to play that sealed the win. Fullove also had four assists, a blocked shot and a steal. The 19 points were his fifth-highest scoring effort as a Gaucho. An Honorable Mention All-Big West choice last season, Fullove made 7-of-11 shots, including 5-of-5 from two-point range and 2-of-6 from three-point territory. In fact, he was 2-for-3 from three-point range in the pivotal second half. The native of Simi Valley gave some indications in the preseason that he was primed for an outstanding start to the year. In two exhibition, Fullove made 10-of-15 shots from three-point range, and he averaged 22.5 points per game. He has led UCSB in scoring in each of its three games this season. Last year, Fullove made 28-of-74 three-pointers, 37.8%.

Ndiaye's Mixed Return
Playing in his first regular season game since March of 2000, senior Adama Ndiaye had his ups-and-downs. Let's get the bad stuff out of the way first. Ndiaye had seven turnovers and missed his only free throw and attempted just seven field goals. Now the good stuff. The Dakar, Sekegal native made 4-of-7 shots (57.1%), pulled down 14 rebounds, his third highest total ever, blocked three shots and had a pair of steals. He also played the second-highest total minutes on the team, 33. Perhaps it was opening game jitters, but Ndiaye committed four of his seven turnovers in the first ten minutes, but bounced back with six of his points and eight of his rebounds in the second half. Two of his points came on a resounding breakaway slam dunk with just over a minute to play. Finally, with three blocked shots, Ndiaye now has 76 in his career, tying him with Richard Anderson (1978-82) for fourth all-time.

Hull Nears 700 Points
Junior Mark Hull struggled offensively for the Gauchos on Saturday, making just 3-of-11 shots from the field and scoring ten points. Hull did, however, score seven of his ten points in the final six minutes of the game. Also, with ten points, Hull has pulled to within 11 of the 700 point plateau at 689. He also had seven rebounds in the win over Westmont, a figure that equaled his season-high output of last year and ranks as his sixth highest total ever. In three games, including the two exhibition games, Hull has not shot the ball well, making just 13-of-37 (35.1%) of his field goal attempts and 5-of-21 (23.8%) from beyond the three-point line. Last season, Hull also got off to a slow start, scoring nine points in the opener at Pepperdine, but then he heated up in a big way going for 18, 21 and 23 in consecutive games against USF, BYU and UCLA.

Vukovich Bitten By The Foul Bug Again
Senior Mike Vukovich opened last season by fouling out of the four of the first five games. In Saturday's opener against Westmont, he was bitten by the foul bug again, committing two in the first couple of minutes and three in five minutes of the first half. In the game, Vukovich played just 13 minutes, attempting and making his only shot. A Second Team All-Big West choice last season, he averaged 11.1 points and 5.7 rebounds per game for the season, but when he was struggling with fouls in the first five games, he averaged just 5.4 per game.

Jones Joins The Struggles
Mark Hull wasn't the only offensive leader to struggle in the season-opener. Sophomore guard Nick Jones, who started the final 19 games last season, came off the bench against Westmont and scored just four points, hitting 1-of-4 shots from the field. While he did have four rebounds and a pair of steals, Jones missed several open shots. Last year, he averaged 9.8 points and 4.2 rebounds per game while shooting 45.5% from the field.

Cook Gets Back Into The Kitchen
Sophomore forward Casey Cook sat out UCSB's exhibition games after spraining the thumb on his right (shooting) hand. He returned to active duty in the opener against Westmont, playing 14 minutes. Although he only scored two points (1-for-1 from the field) and had just one rebound, Cook was aggressive and seemed to be holding on the ball well, but in practice on Monday, he sprained the same thumb and his status for the upcoming trip to USF and USC is now in question.

Ward Of The Court
It took junior guard B.J. Ward to spark UCSB to a victory over Westmont...again. Last season, it was a three-pointer at the buzzer by Ward that sent the game into overtime and propelled the Gauchos to a win. This year, it was Ward's playmaking and free thwo shooting in the final minutes that pushed UCSB over the top. Although he played just 16 minutes, Ward had four points and four assists. He made all four of his free throws in the final six minutes of the game and all four of his assists also came in the final six minutes.