Tonight's Game: UC Santa Barbara at Pepperdine
Dec. 7, 2002
Tonight UCSB battles Pepperdine after what may have been the biggest pre-season victory for the Gauchos in more then ten years. Santa Barbara hopes to defeat another strong southern California team in Pepperdine as they travel to Malibu to take on the Waves in a 6:00 p.m. game that will be televised on Fox Sports Net 2 and broadcast on KEYT 1250 AM.
UCSB Probable Starting Lineup:
Santa Barbara will likely go with the core that upset the Trojans last Tuesday night at the Thunderdome. Jacoby Atako will quarterback the team at the point. Atako leads the Gauchos with 22 assists and seven steals. He is also chipping in four points per game while being called upon the stop the best guards on the other side of the court. Branduinn Fullove and Nick Jones will play the wings, complimenting Atako in the backcourt. Fullove, who played outstanding against USC, is leading the team in scoring with 17.8 points per game. He is shooting an exceptional 54.5 % from three-point range, which happens to be .05 percent higher then, his overall field goal percentage. Jones has also been outstanding for the Gauchos, leading the team in rebounds while only standing 6-foot-4. He is second on the team in points per game at 16.2 and is also shooting exceptionally well from outside, hitting 63 % of his three-point bombs. Mark Hull and Bryan Whitehead will man the blocks for the Gauchos. Hull is third on the team at14 points per game despite seeing double teams and constant hands in his face. Hull is the leader on the floor. Whitehead will compliment Hull and will round out the starting five for the Gauchos.
Pepperdine Probable Starting Lineup:
Pepperdine will likely go with Devin Montgomery and Terrance Johnson in the backcourt. Devin Montgomery, a senior, has so far been most productive from the free-throw line. He's shooting almost 80 percent from the line while also scoring 13.3 points per game. Sophomore Terrance Johnson is second on the team knocking down 14.5 points per game and has hit 11 three-pointers for the Waves. Jimmy Miggins and Robert Turner will be the forwards for Pepperdine. Miggins leads the team in scoring with 16 points per game and also in assists with 22. He has been the most consistent player for the Waves playing 38 minutes a game. The center will likely be Boomer Brazzle. Brazzle is scoring 13.8 points per game and leads the team in rebounds with 22.
Scouting the Waves:
Pepperdine is coming off of a 90-87 win at Cal State Fullerton. In that game Brazzle and Miggins lead the Waves with 20 points apiece. Freshman guard Alex Acker chipped in 19 points off the bench, making all six of his field goal attempts. Brazzle, though a center, showed no reluctance to firing up three-pointers, making three of the seven that he slung. It looks like the Gaucho big-men will have to follow him outside. Acker also enjoyed his time behind the arc going three of three. Miggins seems to be the main distributor for the Waves. He leads the team in assists yet rarely fires up shots up from outside. The Gauchos will likely give him some space and try to fill the passing lanes whenever he has the rock. Terrance Johnson will shoot the ball from downtown, Santa Barbara will need to have a hand in his face at all times. The Waves, as a team, are shooting just about 80 percent from the free-throw line. They have shot 71 freebies proving their tendency to get into the lane and create, rather then spending their time roaming the outside. Don't be surprised if the Gauchos play off a bit, controlling the key and forcing the Waves to shoot the ball from deep.
Scouting the Gauchos:
Indeed it is early in the season, but already we're seeing flashes of excellence in many aspects of Santa Barbara's game. The guard play has been very good as Jones and Fullove lead the team in scoring. Atako has been a solid manager of the floor and Hull is always a presence. The team has confidence and experience, along with a high after pounding USC. The most important thing to do if you want a chance at beating the Gauchos is challenge every shot. Consistently Santa Barbara is knocking down open shots, whether it is lay-ups on the break or three pointers in transition. It is imperative that teams get their hands up and contest everything. If shots come easy for the Gauchos you can expect a high scoring affair on their part.
Who can stop Nick Jones? The man has been terrorizing opposing teams across the floor as the Gaucho's second leading scorer and leading rebounder. Jones has hit 10 of his 16 threes and has a better three-point percentage then shooting percentage. Plus, he truly gets after it on every single play. The key match-up will be Jones against either of the Wave guards. Whether it is senior Devin Montgomery or sophomore Terrance Johnson, somebody will have to slow the Tazmanian Devil down.
What to look for:
The victory against USC was huge and there is no doubt Santa Barbara is playing with plenty of confidence after beating the Trojans for the first time in 21 tries. UCSB has been playing 100 miles an hour the last two games, players are driving to the rim and soaring for rebounds, despite being undersized in both games. Look for Nick Jones to continue his all-around brilliance. The Gaucho's leading rebounder and second leading scorer is playing with no fear. Also, look for the Gauchos to continue firing up shots from outside, their team three-point shooting percentage is almost as good as their overall shooting percentage. They're playing strong, they're playing confident, and they're determined to make a name for themselves on the national level.