Men's Basketball Hosts 12th-Ranked USC Saturday At Thunderdome

Men's Basketball Hosts 12th-Ranked USC Saturday At Thunderdome

The Schedule
Game No. 7
Saturday, December 9, 2000 at 7:05 p.m.

UC Santa Barbara vs. USC Trojans
at UCSB's Thunderdome
Radio: KEYT NewsRadio - 1250 AM

Tickets for the USC game will be available at the gate. Adults tickets are $10.00. Tickets for kids 14 and under and seniors are $5.00. Tickets to all other Gauchos home games are available at the UCSB Athletic Ticket Office or by telephone at (805) 893-UCSB.

The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara improved its record to 2-4 with an 80-77 triple overtime win over San Diego State on Wednesday night. With the win, the Gauchos have now won back-to-back games for the first time since late in the 1999-2000 season. They are 2-1 in home games and 0-3 in road games.

2000-01 Results & Schedule
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 - 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 22 - at St. Mary's - 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 27 - at UC Riverside - 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 30 - Loyola Marymount - 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 4 - *Boise State - 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 11 - *at Cal State Fullerton - 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 13 - *at UC Irvine - 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 18 - *Long Beach State - 9:00 p.m.
Jan. 20 - *at Idaho - 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 25 - *UC Irvine - 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 27 - *Cal State Fullerton - 7:00 p.m.
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 KEYT Radio - 1250 AM
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
In addition to KEYT radio, all UCSB basketball broadcasts can be accessed on the internet at either or at UCSB's official athletic website,

UCSB On The Internet
The Official Athletic Site of UC Santa Barbara is 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.

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 has led the Gauchos to a two-year record of 22-10 in league play, 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 31-31 overall record. In his career, which includes stops at UC Davis and Menlo College, he now has a 220-131 record.

Probable Starters - Notes
G - B.J. Ward - Had career-highs of 44 minutes and ten boards vs. SDSU.
G - LaRon Bryant - Scored career-high 19 points in win over SDSU.
F - Mark Hull - Had 21 points vs. SDSU, seven in third overtime.
F - Juliano Jordani - Has made only 2-of-13 from field in last two games.
F - Mike Vukovich - Had career-high 13 rebounds vs. SDSU.

Possible Reserves - Notes
G - Jacoby Atako - Sprained ankle limited him to five first half minutes vs. Aztecs.
G - Branduinn Fullove - Played the point in third OT vs. SDSU, had six assists.
G - Nick Jones - Tied his career-high with 20 minutes played vs. Aztecs.
F - Casey Cook - Has had three or more rebounds in last five games.
F - J.J. Todd - Has played 27 minutes in last four games.
G - LaDonte King - Has yet to play in first six games.
F - Adama Ndiaye - Remains sidelined with fractured ring finger on left hand.

Injured List Continues To Evolve
UCSB's injury list continued to evolve on Wednesday against San Diego State. The one definite is the continued absence of forward Adama Ndiaye. He fractured the ring finger on his left hand on November 16, had a pin placed in the finger the following day and is out indefinitely. Freshman Branduinn Fullove badly sprained his ankle in the opener against Pepperdine, was projected to be out two to four weeks, but returned on December 2 against Westmont. In the win over San Diego State on Wednesday, he limped off the court in the first half, but hobbled back on soon thereafter and wound up playing 36 minutes. Freshman Nick Jones sprained an ankle at BYU on November 25, but did not miss any games. Finally, on Wednesday another freshman, Jacoby Atako, sprained an ankle in pregame shootaround. He tried to play in the game that night, but could only go five minutes and missed the entire second half and all three overtimes. He remains day-to-day.

The Gauchos & Trojans
USC leads the series with UCSB by a 9-0 count. The Trojans beat the Gauchos in Los Angeles last season, 94-73.

Overtime Habit Goes Overboard
At least UCSB is consistent. The Gauchos have played three home games this season, posting a 2-1 record, and all three games have gone to overtime. In fact, on Wednesday, UCSB was not satisfied with one or two overtime periods, oh no, they had to go to a third overtime to knock off San Diego State, 80-77. Last season, the Gauchos did not play an overtime game. In Bob Williams' first season, 1998-99, UCSB played two overtime games, winning both. Overall, his team's are now 4-1 in games that stretch beyond the prescribed 40 minutes of playing time.

Career Night
Wednesday night was career night at the Thunderdome. No, there were not a bunch of counselors sitting around in booths dishing career advice, but rather several Gaucho players recorded career-highs and career-firsts. They could hardly help but do so in a game that lasted 55 minutes. Anyway, here is a list of the players who set career-highs or career-firsts in the victory over San Diego State:

* Mark Hull - 46 minutes played.
* Mike Vukovich - 33 minutes played, 13 rebounds, 4 blocked shots, first double-double.
* LaRon Bryant - 44 minutes played, 19 points, 7 rebounds, 12 three-point attempts.
* B.J. Ward - 44 minutes played, 10 rebounds.
* Branduinn Fullove - 36 minutes played, 13 points (tie), 6 assists, 10 free throws.
* Nick Jones - 20 minutes played (tie).

The Young And The Restless
Through six games, UCSB is utilizing its underclassmen (freshmen and sophomores) at a very high rate. Freshmen have recorded 441 of the team's 1,325 total minutes, 33.3%. Sophomores have played 401 minutes, 30.3%. Combined, the UCSB underclassmen have played 842 minutes, 63.5% of this season's available minutes.

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

LaRon Bryant and Juliano Jordani
98 points - 24.9%
56 rebounds
17 assists - 21.2%
9 steals - 23.7%

Mike Vukovich
37 points - 9.4%)
33 rebounds - 15.9%
4 assists - 5.0%
4 steals - 10.5%
11 blocks - 84.6%

Mark Hull and B.J. Ward
150 points - 38.1%
48 rebounds - 23.1%
35 assists - 43.7%
13 steals - 34.2%

Branduinn Fullove, Jacoby Atako, Nick Jones, Casey Cook and J.J. Todd
109 points - 27.7%
71 rebounds - 34.1%
35 assists - 43.7%
12 steals - 31.6%
2 blocks - 15.4%

The Lids Are Up, The Lids Are Down
After three games, UCSB was having some serious problems with its field goal shooting. The Gauchos had made just 36.2% of their shots. They had a peak of 43.1% in an overtime loss to USF and a low of 29.4% at BYU. In their first six halves of basketball, they made 50.0% or better just one time, the first half against USF when they made exactly half of their shots. In a November 29 effort at UCLA, things changed somewhat. The first half was UCSB's best offensive half of the season as they made 15-of-27 shots (55.6%) and, despite going 14-of-30 (43.3%) in the second half, they finished with a season-best 49.1% from the floor. Last Saturday, against Westmont, the Gauchos shot 42.0%, not good, but not horrible. In the win over San Diego State, the lids were once again down. The Gauchos shot only 33.3% from the field (24-of-72). Despite their poor shooting performance against the Aztecs, UCSB scored a season-high 80 points...of course they needed 55 minutes to do so. Santa Barbara is now shooting 38.6% on the year. They have been under the 40.0% mark three times and over the 40.0% mark three times, including two of the last three games.

Non-Discriminatory Lids
While Gaucho shots have been banging off the rims, opposing shots have been doing some clanking of their own. UCSB's six opponents are shooting a combined 39.8%. Since allowing the first four opponents to shoot better than 40.0% (although never better than 43.5%), the last two Gaucho opponents have shot under 40.0% and they have combined to go 51-of-147, a meager 34.7%. On an even brighter note, UCSB opponents are shooting only 27.4% from three-point range while the Gauchos are shooting 36.4%.

Three-Point Explosion
As mentioned on the previous page, the Gauchos are out-shooting their opposition from three-point territory. UCSB has made 40-of-110 three-pointers, a decent 36.4%, while opposing teams have made only 34-of-124, a lowly 27.4%. Of Santa Barbara's 40 three-point buckets, 27 have come in the last three contests. The Gauchos made a season-high 12 (in 22 attempts) at UCLA on November 29 and then they had seven against Westmont and eight against San Diego State. In the first three games of the year, UCSB hit 13-of-44 from beyond the three-point arc, a mark of 29.5%. In the last three games, they have made 27-of-66, 40.9%. LaRon Bryant leads the team with 16 three-pointers. Mark Hull is second on the squad with ten. Eight of the nine Gauchos who have logged more than 50 minutes this season have made at least two three-pointers. Mike Vukovich is the lone exception and he has yet to attempt one and chances are if he does launch one, it will be his last. Anyway, last year UCSB set a school record with 171 three-point baskets, an average of 6.1 per game. This season, the Gauchos are averaging 6.7 per game. Last year's team made 33.5% from beyond the arc as opposed to this year's 36.4%. Finally, only six players on the 1999-2000 team made even one three-pointer as opposed to this season's eight players.

The End Of The Hull Lull
Sophomore swingman Mark Hull bounced back from his four-point effort against Westmont with his third 20+ point game of the season against San Diego State. Hull went for 21 against the Aztecs, tying the second-highest total of his career and of the season. Not only did the Glendale native score 21, many were in the absolute crunchiest of crunch times. After going scoreless in the first two overtime periods against San Diego State, Hull tallied seven of UCSB's ten in the third overtime. In fact, with the Gauchos down by three, he nailed a three-pointer to tie the score with 1:06 remaining and then after a charging call on the other end, he calmly sank a 15-footer to put the team up for good with 0:43 to go. While he did have his troubles against Westmont, he had a career-best 23 points in last week's loss at UCLA. In that one, Hull not only scored a career-high, but he had the best shooting performance of his career, going 9-of-12 overall and 5-of-6 from three-point territory. The five three-pointers were also a career-high. Hull also had 21 in a loss at BYU. As was the case last year, Hull easily leads the team in minutes played. In six contests this season he has played 220 minutes, an average of 36.7 per game, a jump of 8.1 minutes per game. The next closest teammate, LaRon Bryant, has played 183, 37 fewer than Hull. Finally, he has played 30 or more minutes in all six games and after entering the year with a career-high of 34 minutes played, he has played 34 or more in five of the six games, including a career-high 46 in the triple-overtime win on Wednesday.

Re-Warding Effort
Sophomore point guard B.J. Ward was pushed by freshman Jacoby Atako during the preseason. In fact, he was pushed to the point that there was some question about who would ultimately wind up with the spot in the starting lineup. Six games into the season, Ward has left little doubt about who should be the starter. Last Saturday against Westmont, it was his three-pointer at the buzzer that send the game into overtime and enabled UCSB to post its first win of the season. He finished with a career-high 15 points, including the first two three-point baskets of his career, and a game-high six assists. On Wednesday, he followed-up that performance by playing a career-high 44 minutes, leading the team with five assists and gathering a career-high ten rebounds, including five on the offensive end. In six games, Ward has averaged 9.0 points, 5.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds and nearly two steals per game. Last year he had 39 assists and 54 turnovers in 372 minutes over 28 games, this year he has 30 assists and 21 turnovers in 181 minutes over six games. After averaging only 13.3 minutes per game last year, he is averaging 30.2 per game this season. Finally, the team's leader in assists, Ward has collected five or more in five of the six games, including three in a row.

Vukovich Steps Up
Junior forward Mike Vukovich could not have picked a better time to have the best game of his career. Every other UCSB post player was struggling on Wednesday. Even Vukovich had his problems early in the game, but in the second half and the overtimes, he made his presence felt, finishing with ten points and a career-high 13 rebounds, the first double-double of his career. In addition, the 6-foot-9 native of Huntington Beach had a career-high 33 minutes played and a career-high four blocked shots. Perhaps most impressively, Vukovich had six of his points and eight of his rebounds after the first half. Taking it a step further, he scored six of the Gauchos' 11 points in the second overtime, including a lay-up with 0:16 left to tie the score at 70-70 and send the game into a third OT. Vukovich has started all six games for UCSB this season. When the year started, he was expected to provide backup in the post, but when Ndiaye suffered a fractured left ring finger a few days before the season-opener, everything changed and Vukovich was thrust into the starting lineup. If Wednesday's performance is any indication, he seems to be getting more comfortable with that role.

Fullove's Full Plate
Freshman Branduinn Fullove, still hobbled by a sprained right ankle, made the biggest splash of his brief career in the triple-overtime win over San Diego State. Playing three different positions, including point guard for the entire third overtime, Fullove did a little of everything. While he did not shoot well (1-for-6 from the field), he finished with a career-high-tying 13 points (including 10-for-12 from the free throw line), he had six rebounds, he had a career-high six assists and, for good measure, he blocked the first shot of his career. In the first half of the game, Fullove twisted his already injured ankle and hobbled to the bench. Within minutes, however, he was back on the court and, ultimately, he played a career-high 36 minutes, including 25 of the final 30. The Simi Valley native scored eight points in the overtime periods, all eight from the free throw line (in ten attempts). While he has only played in three of UCSB's six games (missing three with the ankle sprain), Fullove is averaging 10.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game, both of which rank him third on the team.

Mr. Outside
With the continued absence of Adama Ndiaye, UCSB continues to struggle to find someone to give them an offensive presence inside the key. While the Gauchos search for Mr. Inside, they will have to make due with LaRon Bryant, Mr. Outside. Bryant set his career-high with 19 points against San Diego State on Wednesday night. While he hit only 3-of-12 shots from three-point territory, he hit a couple of huge shots during the overtime periods. On Saturday against Westmont, he had 15 points, all of which came on three-pointers. On the season, he has now hit 16-of-39 (41.0%) from that distance. In fact, 16 of Bryant's 22 baskets on the season have been three-pointers. He has made at least one three-pointer in all six games, two or more in five out of the six games and three or more three times. The five he nailed against Westmont was a career-high. In his two seasons, he has now made 47-of-114, 41.2%. In fact, since starting the 1999-2000 season by making only 4-of-22 shots from three-point range (18.2%), he has made exactly 43-of-92, 46.7%. Also, in his two years, he has made 47 threes and 21 twos. Finally, Bryant did a bit of inside work against San Diego State as he pulled down a career-high seven rebounds, all on the defensive end.

Another Good Point
B.J. Ward is not alone on the Gaucho point guard front. Freshman Jacoby Atako has had his moments as well. While he has yet to discover his shooting touch, Atako has been more than adequate at running the show. While he was slowed by a sprained left ankle against SDSU on Wednesday, he has been a very nice addition. In six games he has played 110 minutes (only five on Wednesday) and passed off for 21 assists, an average of 3.5 per game. By contrast Atako has committed a mere ten turnovers. In fact, he and his backcourt running mate Ward have had some very good games in tandem. Ten days ago at UCLA they combined for 12 assists and only two turnovers. On the year, the duo has gone for 51 assists (8.5 per game) and 31 turnovers (5.2 per game), not bad for a sophomore-freshman combo.

Rebound Turnaround
Since Bob Williams arrived at UCSB a couple of seasons ago, the Gauchos have earned a reputation as a pretty solid rebounding team. Last year, in fact, they were the best rebounding team in the Big West Conference with a +4.1 rebounding margin. This year, rebounding has not been one of the team's strong points. This year's version of the Gauchos is being outrebounded by a margin of 0.5 rebounds per game, but considering the fact that they entered the game against San Diego State with a -3.0 rebound mark, -0.5 doesn't look too bad. Santa Barbara pulled down 59 rebounds as opposed to the Aztecs 47, a season-best margin of 12. UCSB has now outrebounded three opponents (USF, BYU and San Diego State) and they have been outrebounded by three opponents (UCLA, Pepperdine and Westmont). While they have no player averaging more than 6.5 rebounds per game, they have six averaging at least 4.0 per contest.

Free At Last
After five games, UCSB was struggling from the free throw line. Despite a couple of standout performances (88.9% against Pepperdine and 80.0% against BYU), free throws had been very costly to the Gauchos. UCSB went 13-of-25 from the costly throw line in an overtime loss to USF, they were 9-of-16 in a six-point loss at UCLA and in a win over Westmont they went 4-for-11. In those three games, the Gauchos were 26-of-52 from the line, 50.0%. Against the Aztecs on Wednesday, for the first time this season, Santa Barbara won a game at the line. The Gauchos made 24-of-31 from the costly throw, make that free throw line, a very good 77.4%. In the three overtimes they hit 11-of-14 shots from the stripe, a helpful 78.6%. On the year, UCSB has gone 86-of-126 from the line, 68.3%. By contrast, San Diego State made only 7-of-15 on Wednesday, 46.7%.

For Starters, Consistency
Despite all of UCSB's injury troubles this season, Bob Willliams has put the same starting five on the court in all six games. The five Gauchos to have started every game are B.J. Ward, LaRon Bryant, Mark Hull, Juliano Jordani and Mike Vukovich. UCSB has nine players averaging at least 15 minutes per game and three (Hull, Bryant and Ward) who are averaging 30 or more. Last year, not one Gaucho averaged more than Hull's 28.6 per game.

On The Docket
Following the game against USC, the Gauchos will take several days off for final exams. UCSB returns to the hardwood on December 22 for a 7:30 p.m. game at St. Mary's College. On December 27, the Gauchos travel to UC Riverside. UCSB will not return home until December 30 when they host Loyola Marymount at 7:00 p.m.