UCSB Returns to Action After Two Weeks Off, Looks to Snap Four-Game Losing Streak When it Hosts Montana Saturday
Dec. 16, 2004
Game No. 6
Saturday, December 18, 2004 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. University of Montana Grizzlies
at UCSB's Thunderdome
Radio: KTLK 1340 AM
Game No. 7
Wednesday, December 22, 2004 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at the University of San Diego Toreros
at USD's Jenny Craig Pavilion
Radio: KTMS 990 AM
After Lengthy Break, UCSB Returns Against Montana
After two weeks off for final examinations, the UC Santa Barbara basketball team returns to action with a pair of pre-Christmas games. The Gauchos will host the University of Montana on Saturday, before traveling to the University of San Diego for a December 22 game. The games against the Grizzlies and Toreros will be UCSB's final non-conference affairs before opening Big West play on December 28 against Long Beach State.
The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara enters Saturday's game against Montana with a record of 1-4. Since opening the season with an overtime win on November 19 at San Diego State, the Gauchos have lost four consecutive games, the last one coming by a score of 73-55 in the team's home opener against San Diego State on December 4. The first three losses in the current streak came on the road. The Gauchos lost at Wisconsin (72-61), at San Francisco (62-56) and at Pepperdine (62-56). In 2003-04, Santa Barbara posted an overall record of 16-12 and a Big West mark of 10-8. The Gauchos finished third in the league's regular season standings and lost to Cal State Northridge in the second round of the Big West Tournament.
Rematch With SDSU Is Trouble For UCSB
It is rare when non-conference opponents meet more than once during a regular basketball season. This season, on opening night, UCSB played at San Diego State. On Saturday, December 4, the Gauchos and Aztecs played again, in Santa Barbara's home opener. In the first meeting, UCSB played with just nine healthy players and won an overtime battle, 80-72. In the second match-up, things didn't go as well. SDSU piled-up a 14-point halftime lead, built it to as many as 36, and then coasted to a 73-55 decision over the Gauchos at the Thunderdome. The Aztecs shot a sizzling 60.0% overall and from beyond the three-point arc for the game. In fact, before missing its final three three-point attempts, San Diego State was 12-of-17 from beyond the arc, 70.6%. UCSB, on the other hand, was led by forward Cameron Goettsche who finished with ten points. Guard Joe See, struggling from three-point territory before the game, made three in a row late, to finish with nine points. As a team, the Gauchos shot just 34.6% from the field overall and 36.4% from three-point territory. Santa Barbara needed a 24-6 game-ending run to close to within 18 by the final buzzer.
Don't Look Now, But Here Comes Big West Play
Big West Conference play will start immediately after Christmas. The Gauchos will host Long Beach State on Tuesday, December 28, and UC Irvine on Thursday, December 30. This will mark the first time in several years that UCSB will open its league schedule at home before January 1. With the addition of UC Davis to the league schedule, all league teams are forced to start conference play prior to the New Year. In 2001-02, the Gauchos opened Big West play prior to January 1, winning at UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton.
The Injury Update
Junior forward Cameron Goettsche has played in the last three games. Goettsche missed four weeks, including all practices, two exhibition games and the first two regular season games, with a severely strained groin. He has averaged 24.3 minutes in his first three appearances of the 2004-05 season. The addition of Goettsche gives UCSB ten healthy players. Starting junior guard Cecil Brown remains sidelined until late-December or early-January with a partially torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee. Reserve sophomore forward David Kennedy has a stress fracture in his right leg, and is expected to remain on the sidelines until some point in late December. Redshirt freshman forward Chris Devine had surgery on his right knee prior to the opening of practice in October and he will be sidelined until mid-January. Sophomore forward Glenn Turner, who missed both exhibition games with a sprained ankle, has played in all five regular season games, but he is nursing and on-again-off-again sore back. He is, however, expected to continue playing.
Possible Starters - Notes
G - Chrismen Oliver - Scored season-low two points in the loss to San Diego State.
G - Alex Harris - Tied for the team-lead with ten free throws made.
G - Josh Davis - Had his streak of double-figure scoring efforts snapped vs. San Diego State.
F - Cameron Goettsche - Scored a season-high and team-high ten points vs. San Diego State.
F - Casey Cook - Averaged 18.0 ppg and shot 71.4% in first two, 8.0 ppg and 26.7% since.
Possible Reserves - Notes
G - Joe See - After missing his first 16 three-pointers this season, he has made 4-of-5.
G - Michael Chambers - Played season-high 14 minutes in last game vs. San Diego State.
G - Derek Rasp - Had made one three-pointer in four of the five games.
F - Chris Moore - Had three boards in five minutes vs. SDSU. Had three in 45 previously.
F - Glenn Turner - The only Gaucho with at least four rebounds in all five games.
The Infirmary - Notes
G - Cecil Brown - Knee injury has sidelined him until late December or early-January.
F - Chris Devine - Knee injury him out until mid-January.
F - David Kennedy - Stress fracture in right leg has him sidelined until December.
F - Todd Follmer - Expected to redshirt the 2004-05 season.
The Bob Williams File
Bob Williams is in his seventh season as the head coach at UC Santa Barbara. Last year, he guided the Gauchos to a 16-12 overall record and a 10-8 mark in Big West Conference play. He has also guided UCSB to three straight winning seasons, the first time the program has accomplished the feat since 1987-88 through 1989-90. In 2002-03, Williams' Gauchos went 18-14 overall and 14-4 in league. The 2002-03 Big West mark earned Santa Barbara its first-ever Big West regular season championship along with a postseason trip to the National Invitation Tournament. In addition, the success earned Williams his second Big West Coach of the Year award, his first coming after an impressive 1999 campaign. In 2001-02, Williams guided UCSB to its first Big West Conference Tournament Championship ever and first NCAA Tournament appearance in 12 years. Including this season, Williams' UCSB teams have posted a 97-83 (.543) overall record and a 66-36 (.647) record in Big West games. Prior to his arrival at UCSB, he spent eight years at UC Davis and in those eight years, his teams recorded 20 or more wins five times and a 158-76 record. In Williams' final season, the Aggies went 31-2, won the NCAA Division II National Championship and he was named NABC Division II Coach of the Year. Including two seasons at Menlo College, Williams has a record of 286-183 (.611) at four-year schools.
UCSB and Montana have played four times over the years with each program winning twice. The Grizzlies won the most recent game between the schools, defeating the Gauchos by a score of 78-67 in December of 1985. UCSB and the University of San Diego have played 16 times in a series that dates back to 1964. The Gauchos hold a 12-4 edge in the all-time series, including a 90-70 win at the Thunderdome last season.
UCSB At Home
The Gauchos are 0-1 at home this season after losing their home opener to San Diego State, 73-55. UCSB was 10-2 at the Thunderdome last season. In fact, the Gauchos have gone 10-2 at home in each of the last three seasons. Santa Barbara has won 11 of its last 13 non-conference home games, losing only to Detroit Mercy and San Diego State over that span. UCSB is 56-22 at home under head coach Bob Williams.
UCSB's four-game losing streak is its longest such streak since the 2002-03 season. Last year, the Gauchos never lost more than two consecutive games. In 2002-03, Santa Barbara actually dropped five straight games, losing at Pepperdine, at Cal, at BYU, and then to Nebraska and Bucknell in Tempe, Ariz. Following the five-game streak two years ago, the Gauchos went on a 10-3 run at the beginning of Big West play.
No Offense Intended
Since scoring 80 points in a season-opening overtime win over San Diego State on November 19, UCSB has struggled on the offensive end. The Gauchos followed-up the 80-point effort with 61 points in a loss at Wisconsin, but it has been downhill since then. The 50s may have been a golden era in American history, but the 50s stinks for a college basketball team. The Gauchos have been mired in the 50s over the last three games, scoring 56 twice and 55 once. On the year, UCSB is averaging 61.6 points per outing, but in the last three games they the Gauchos have averaged just 55.7 points per game. On the other side of the coin, or the court, opponents have averaged 69.0 points in the last three games, a margin of -13.3 per game.
No Offense? No Wonder
Since opening the year at 1-0, UCSB has lost four games in a row. In the first two games, the Gauchos averaged 70.5 points per game and made 55-of-111 shots from the field, 49.5%. As mentioned above, in the last three games, UCSB has averaged just 55.7 points per game, and it is no wonder. After shooting 49.5% in the first two outings, Santa Barbara has made just 59-of-155 shots from the field, 38.1%. The Gauchos shot a season-low 34.6%, 18-of-52, in the most recent loss to San Diego State.
No General Assistance
In the loss to San Diego State, UCSB had 13 assists in 18 baskets, 72.2%. On the year, however, the Gauchos are not throwing too many passes that lead to baskets. Through five games the team has made 114 baskets and collected just 54 assists, 47.4%. As a team, UCSB has had just one game with more assists than turnovers. In the loss at Wisconsin, they had 13 assists and 11 turnovers. In the two games prior to the loss to SDSU, the Gauchos had just 13 assists and 37 turnovers. In the games against San Francisco and Pepperdine, they assisted on just 31.7% of the baskets.
The Bright Side
Last season, UCSB shot just 66.1% from the free throw line, one of the lowest percentages in school history. Through five games this season, the Gauchos have made 73.4% from the charity stripe, an improvement of 7.3%. In fact, Santa Barbara has made 70.6% or better in each of the five games. At no point last season did the Gauchos make better than 70.0% in five straight contests.
After opening the season with back-to-back outstanding offensive efforts at San Diego State and Wisconsin, senior forward Casey Cook has had some struggles in the last three games. In the first two games, Cook averaged 18.0 points per game and he made 15-of-21 shots from the field overall, 71.4%, and 3-for-3 from three-point range. In the game at Wisconsin, he scored a career-high 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting. The last three games have not been as kind to Cook. In the contests against San Francisco, Pepperdine and San Diego State, he averaged 8.0 per game, scoring exactly eight in each game, and he made just 8-of-30 shots from the field, 26.7%. Overall, Cook now ranks second on the team in scoring at 12.0 points per game and he is shooting 45.1%. In addition, he paces the team in rebounding at 5.2 per game and he has had at least four rebounds in all five games and had a season-high eight rebounds in the game at San Francisco. Cook has nailed 4-of-6 three-point attempts this season, including a career-high three in the game at Wisconsin. In fact, the four three-point baskets that he has made are one more than he has made in any of his previous three seasons and exactly half of his career total of eight entering the year. One possible explanation for Cook's problems over the final three game of UCSB's tough five-game opening stretch is fatigue. With all of the injury problems suffered by the Gauchos, particularly on the front line, Cook has been forced to play a great deal of minutes. In fact, when he logged 28 minutes in the last game against San Diego State, it was a season-low. He is averaging 32.8 minutes per contest, and he has played 31 or more in four of the five. Entering the year, Cook had never played more than 31 minutes in any game during his career and he has already played more than 31 three times.
Junior guard Josh Davis has been the team's most consistent offensive threat through five games this season. He will enter Saturday's game against Montana with a team-leading average of 13.2 points per game. Davis has been in double-figures in four of the five games, the most of any UCSB player. The last game against San Diego State marked the first time this season that he has scored fewer than ten points. He scored eight points while playing a season-low 28 minutes against the Aztecs. In the last two games, Davis has made just 7-of-20 shots from the field, 35.0%, and 3-of-9 from three-point range. In the first three games, he hit 19-of-35, 54.3%. He, along with Casey Cook, is one of two Gauchos to have scored at least 20 points in a game, scoring a career-high 20 at San Francisco. In the season-opener at San Diego State, he scored 18 points, including a career-high four three-point baskets. Davis leads the Gauchos in three-point buckets with nine. He has drilled 9-of-18, 50.0%. In fact, the nine three-pointers that he has made equals his total for all of last season. Davis needs just five more three-point baskets over the final 22 games to equal is combined total for the first two years of his career. Davis, like the rest of his healthy or semi-healthy teammates, has racked-up major minutes this season. After averaging 19.1 minutes per game last year, he has averaged a team-leading 33.6 per game this year. Entering the year, Davis' career-high was 32 minutes and he had played 30 or more just twice. Through five games this season, he has played 32 or more four times, recording a career-high 38 minutes at San Diego State and then 37 minutes at San Francisco.
Senior point guard Chrismen Oliver has been on a little bit of a rollercoaster ride through the first five games this season. He is third on the team at 9.6 points per game and he leads the Gauchos in assists with 15, an average of 3.0 per game. Oliver scored a career-high 17 points in the season-opener at San Diego State, but after a 14-point outburst off the bench against Pepperdine on December 1, he struggled in the second meeting against the Aztecs on December 4, going 1-for-5 from the field and scoring a season-low two points. The second game against San Diego State also marked the first time this year that Oliver did not produce a steal in a game and the first time this year that he did not make a three-point basket. He still ranks second on the team with five three-point baskets, but he missed all three attempts in the last game. Last season, in 26 games, Oliver attempted 70 shots, an average of 2.7 per game. This year, in five games, he is averaging 8.0 shots per game, the third highest total on the team.
Youth Is Served
Freshman guard Alex Harris is off to a solid start in his career, but like the rest of the team he has hit a rough spot. He scored a season-low three points in the last game against San Diego State, but still ranks fourth on the team in scoring at 8.0 per game. Although he is shooting 43.3% from the field, he has not shot the ball as well in the last three games. After two games, Harris had made 8-of-12 shots, 67.7%, but since then he has made 5-of-18, 27.8%. He scored a season-high 15 points in the season-opening win at San Diego State, but has not score more than eight since, averaging 6.2 over the last four games. Harris did tie his season-high with three assists against the Aztecs.
Cam I Am
Junior forward Cameron Goettsche, UCSB's top returning rebounder and second-best returning scorer, is still rounding into shape after missing both exhibition games and the first two regular season contests with a severely strained groin. Goettsche was the only Gaucho to score in double-figures in the last game, tallying ten points in the loss to San Diego State. He also had a pair of blocked shots in the game against the Aztecs. In his three games, Goettsche has seen his minutes increase. He played 19 minutes at USF, 25 at Pepperdine and 29 against SDSU. After coming off the bench in his first appearance, Goettsche has been in the starting lineup for the last two. Through three games, he is averaging 7.7 points and 4.3 rebounds. He had a high of eight rebounds in his second game at Pepperdine, equaling the highest total by any UCSB player this year. Last year, Goettsche averaged 8.0 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. He also led the Gauchos in blocked shots with 14 and he was second in steals with 27. In fact, Goettsche was one of just four players to see action in all 28 games in 2003-04, making the second highest total of starts, 20, on the team. He did paced the team in minutes played with 637.
Just Wait And See
Junior guard Joe See seems to be emerging from the slump that plagued him through the first three games of the season. See scored a season-high nine points, making 3-of-4 three-point attempts, in the last game against San Diego State. The 3-for-4 performance came on the heels of a 1-for-1 outing at Pepperdine in the previous game. Prior to the December 1 game at Pepperdine, See had made 2-of-20 shots overall and 0-for-16 from three-point territory. In the last two games, he has averaged 7.0 points, made 5-of-7 shots overall, ,71.4%, and 4-of-5 from three-point range, 80.0%. He has gotten off to a slow start in each of his three collegiate seasons, one at Oregon State and two at UCSB, but despite the slow starts in each of his first two seasons, See finished the year as his team's leader in threes both times. In 2001-02, he finished with a team-leading 43 three-pointers and last year, his first at UCSB, he paced the way with 44. This year, while he is shooting 17.4% overall, he has made 50.0% from two-point range, hitting 3-of-6.
Grasping His Opportunity
Walk-on swingman Derek Rasp, has been one of the team's most pleasant surprises. He is averaging 3.6 points and 1.4 rebounds per game. Rasp has made 4-of-10 shots from three-point range, hitting one in four of the five games. He scored a season-high seven points in the loss at Wisconsin and he tallied five in the last game against San Diego State. Rasp, who redshirted last year, has gotten a chance to play because of all of UCSB's injuries. He has played at least four minutes in every game and 12 or more in three of the four.
On The Horizon
Following Saturday's game against Montana, the Gauchos will take to the road for a quick trip to the University of San Diego on December 22. UCSB returns home to open Big West play against Long Beach State at the Thunderdome on December 28 at 7:00 p.m.