Men's Basketball Completes Road Swing At USC

Nov. 30, 1999

Santa Barbara, Calif. -

The Schedule
Game No. 4
Wednesday, December 1, 1999, 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at USC Trojans
at The Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena

Game No. 5
Saturday, December 4, 1999, 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Westmont College Warriors
at UCSB's Thunderdome

The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara enters the week with an 0-3 record. On Sunday they lost a 78-67 decision at the University of San Francisco. The 0-3 start matches the team's 0-3 start in 1998-99. Last year, the Gauchos ultimately opened at 0-8 before they garnered their first victory.

What About Bob?
Bob Williams is in his second season as head coach of the Gauchos. Last year he guided the Gauchos to a 15-13 overall record and an outstanding 12-4 mark in Big West play. After guiding the squad to the league's Western Division Championship, Williams was selected Big West Coach of the Year and National Association of Basketball Coaches District 15 Coach of the Year. After three games this season, Williams' Gaucho record is now 15-16 and his overall record as a college coach is 204-116. His teams have won either a league, division or National Championship in five straight seasons.

Probable Starters - Notes
G - Derrick Allen - Has attempted only seven shots in 63 minutes of play.
G - Erick Ashe - Has made only 3-of-23 shots from the field, 13.0%.
G - Mark Hull - The only Gaucho to have scored in double-figures twice.
F - Adama Ndiaye - Leads the team with six offensive rebounds.
F - Juliano Jordani -Had career-highs of 19 points and 11 rebounds at USF.

Probable Reserves - Notes
G - Brandon Payton - Has yet to make a three-pointer in 65 minutes.
G - LaRon Bryant - Had career-high ten points at USF.
G - B.J. Ward - Hit 3-of-4 shots from the field at USF.
F - Mike Vukovich - Had career-highs of 13 points and nine rebounds at SJSU.
F - Ross Carmichael - Transfer from Texas Tech eligible at end of Fall Quarter.

Second Half At USF Gives Gauchos Hope
Through three games this season, the Gauchos are having some major shooting problems. UCSB is making only 31.7% of its shots from the field, hitting only 51-of-161. In the season-opener against Stanford, the Gauchos made only 13-of-45 shots, 28.9%. In game two at San Jose State, UCSB could only muster 15-of-55, 27.3%. On Sunday at USF, they improved slightly, hitting 23-of-61, 37.7%. At USF, the Gauchos made only 25.9% of their shots in the first half, but in the second half things started looking up a bit. UCSB scored 46 points in that second half, their first half of better than 30 points this season. In the process, they drained 16-of-34 shots from the floor, a solid 47.1%. In fact, the 16 successful field goal in the second half at USF were more than they had made in either of the first two games and the 46 points was only three fewer than they scored in the opener against Stanford and it was five points more than they scored in the game at San Jose State.

Backcourt Blues
UCSB's off-guards have been just that, off. Senior Erick Ashe and juniors Brandon Payton and LaRon Bryant have had bigtime shooting problems in the early-going. Ashe has made only 3-of-23 shots from the floor, a lowly 13.0%. Payton (26.3%) and Bryant (21.1%) have also had their problems. The trio has combined to make only 12-of-61 shots overall, a meager 19.7%. From three-point range, the threesome has made 3-of-34, 08.8%. The other regular wing player for the Gauchos, freshman Mark Hull, has hit 10-of-25 shots from the field (40.0%) and 1-of-6 from three-point range.

Three-Point Blues
When you are shooting 31.7% as a team overall, it goes without saying that you are also having your problems from three-point range. Such is the case with the Gauchos. As a team, they have hit 10-of-59, 16.9%. On Sunday at USF, they hit 7-of-27, 25.9%. In fact, in the game at USF junior forward Juliano Jordani hit 5-of-9 from beyond the arc and the five he hit in the game are exactly half of UCSB's total for the entire season. the Gaucho three-point problems were never more obvious than they were at San Jose State last week. After Erick Ashe hit one in the opening minutes, the first attempt of the game for the Gauchos, the team proceeded to miss its next 17 in a row to end the game 1-for-18.

Single-Digit Fever
After three games, it seems as if the Gauchos have a case of single-digit fever. Not one UCSB player is averaging double-digits in points. The team's leading scorer is Juliano Jordani at 9.3 points per game. On the bright side, there is plenty of balance. In addition to Jordani's 9.3 per game, freshman Mark Hull is at 8.3 per game, sophomore Mike Vukovich is at 7.7 per game, junior Adama Ndiaye is at 5.7 per game and freshman B.J. Ward is at 5.0 per contest.

Jordani Steps It Up
Junior forward Juliano Jordani entered Sunday's game at USF having made exactly one field goal in two games. On Sunday, he made some major progress. Jordani, a transfer from the College of Southern Idaho, hit 5-of-9 shots from three-point territory, 6-of-15 overall, and finished with a career-high 19 points, including 13 in the second half. The 13 points he scored in the second half, in fact, would have been enough to lead the team in scoring in any of the three games. His five three-point baskets are half of the team's total for the entire season. In addition, Jordani collected a career-best 11 rebounds, the highest total by any Gaucho this year. With his performance at USF, the 6-foot-7 Brazilian has taken over the team-lead in scoring (9.3 points per game) and rebounding (7.3 rebounds per game).

Re: Ward
Freshman guard B.J. Ward is averaging 5.0 points per game. Prior to Sunday's game at USF, he had made only 1-of-10 shots from the field. In the game against the Dons, however, he made 3-of-4 from the floor, improving on the year to 4-of-14. Ward has played primarily as Derrick Allen's backup at the point guard position, but the coaching staff plans to use him in tandem with Allen as the season goes on. He has proven to be one of the quickest UCSB players and he played a major role in Sunday's second half comeback at USF. At one point the Gauchos trailed USF by 19 points, but with Ward in the game, they narrowed the lead to seven before eventually losing by 11.

The Gauchos On The Road
With losses at San Jose State and USF, the Gauchos are 0-2 on the road this season. After opening the 1998-99 season with an 0-4 mark in games away from home, UCSB went 6-2 on the road, all in Big West play, the finish with a solid 6-6 road record. The Gauchos won conference road games at Pacific, Utah State, Nevada, UC Irvine, Cal State Fullerton and Cal Poly. The six wins on the road in the Big West is the most by a Gaucho team since the 1987-88 team went 7-2 in league road games.

Newcomers Make A Mark
There was a bright spot in Sunday's loss at USF. Several newcomers showed signs of coming alive. Juliano Jordani (19), LaRon Bryant (10), Mark Hull (10) and B.J. Ward (6) combined for 45 of UCSB's 67 points, 67.1% of the total. If you include Mike Vukovich (5) in the total, they scored 50, 74.6% of the points.

Vukovich Plays The Percentages
Forward Mike Vukovich is one of only two Gauchos to be over 50.0% from the field. He has made 8-of-11 shots from the floor, 72.7%. The other Gaucho who is shooting better than 50.0% is Derrick Allen who is 4-for-7. Not to dwell on the negative, but without Vukovich and Allen, the Gauchos have made only 39-of-143 shots, 27.3%.

The Opponents
UCSB and USC have met eight times over the years and the Trojans have won all eight. Last year, USC defeated the Gauchos in Santa Barbara by a score of 79-73. The last time the teams met in Los Angeles was in November of 1997 when the Trojans recorded a 90-76 win. UCSB holds a decisive 37-5 edge over Westmont College, but the Warriors nipped the Gauchos at the Thunderdome last year, 54-53. Westmont won when guard Corey Blick hit three free throws with less than one second left on the clock.

On The Horizon
Following Saturday's game against Westmont, the Gauchos will have a week off. UCSB will host Pepperdine on Saturday, December 11 at 7:00 p.m. in the Thunderdome. In fact, following the Westmont contest, the Gauchos will play only one game in 15 days. They will play Concordia College of Portland on Saturday, December 20 at 7:00 p.m.