Men's Basketball Takes 7-2 Record, Three-Game Winning Streak To Santa Clara's Cable Car Classic

Men's Basketball Takes 7-2 Record, Three-Game Winning Streak To Santa Clara's Cable Car Classic

Dec. 26, 2001

The Schedule
Game No. 10
Friday, December 28, 2001 at 8:00 p.m.

First Round of the Cable Car Classic
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Detroit Mercy Titans
at Santa Clara University's Leavey Center

Game No. 11
Saturday, December 29, 2001 at 6:00 p.m. or 8:00 p.m.

Second Round of the Cable Car Classic
UCSB/Detroit Mercy winner vs. Santa Clara/Maryland-Baltimore County winner
at Santa Clara University's LeaveyCenter

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 Bob Williams Show
The Bob Williams airs Tuesday nights from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on KEYT NewsRadio 1250 AM. The Voice of the Gauchos, Randy Lee, co-hosts the show with Williams. In addition to men's basketball, the show will feature other UCSB athletes and coaches. The Bob Williams show will resume in January. It will three times in January (8th, 22nd and 29th), four times in February (5th, 12th, 19th and 26th) and three times in March (5th, 12th and 19th).

Mark Hull Named Big West Player Of The Week
Junior swingman Mark Hull has been named the Big West Player of the Week for his performances in UCSB wins at UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton. Hull had 14 points, eight rebounds and two steals in a 68-56 win at Riverside. In the game at Fullerton, Hull had his best game ever, scoring a career-high 32 points, pulling down four rebounds and passing off for three assists. Of his 32 points, 29 came in the second half and, at one point, he scored 20 Gaucho points in a row. Finally, Hull made a career-best seven three-point baskets against the Titans, drilling six in a row during one stretch. His performances helped UCSB open with a 2-0 record in the Big West and 7-2 overall. Overall, Hull leads the Gauchos in scoring at 18.2 points per game. He is also second in rebounding at 5.7 per game.

The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara travels to the Cable Car Classic with an overall record of 7-2 and a Big West mark of 2-0. One thing is guaranteed, they will return home unbeaten in league. The Gauchos also take their first three game winning streak of the season to the Cable Car Classic. UCSB has posted consecutive wins over Pepperdine, UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton, the latter two coming on the road.

Best Start Under Williams
UCSB's 7-2 record through nine games is the program's best start since the 1994-95 season when it also opened with a 7-2 record. That year, the Gauchos finished 13-14. In 1992-93, UCSB opened the year with an 8-1 record. That team finished the season with an 18-11 record and was invited to the National Invitation Tournament. The 7-2 start is easily the best nine game start by UCSB during the Bob Williams Era. Previously, the Gauchos have opened at 1-8 (1998), 2-7 (1999) and 2-7 (2000).

Jones & Hull Combine To Rescue Gauchos At Cal State Fullerton
UCSB led its game at Cal State Fullerton for most of the 40 minutes, but when Titan guard Kevin Richardson made a free throw after being fouled while hitting a short jumper with 1.2 seconds remaining, the Gauchos trailed 62-61. Branduinn Fullove took the ball out of bounds baseline backcourt and threw a three-quarter court pass to Mark Hull. Hull jumped straight up and tapped the ball to Nick Jones who was about four feet above the top of the key. Jones took the ball and in one motion drilled a three-pointer as time ran out, giving the Gauchos a 64-62 win. Jones finished with a season-high 12 points. Up to that point, Hull had carried UCSB, particularly in the second half, scoring a career-high 32 points, including 29 in the second half and 20 in a row at one point. In addition, Hull made a career-high seven three-point baskets, including six in a row during the first 13:30 of the second half.

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 49-44 record. This marks the first time in his Gaucho career that he has been five games over the .500 mark. The 49 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 year under Williams, the Gauchos have progressively gotten better and better, playing their best basketball late in the season. In fact, in three years-plus campaigns under his guidance, UCSB has logged a 33-17 record in Big West games, a winning percentage of .660, 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 overall record and a 12-4 mark 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 238-143 (.625) record.

Casey Cook Out Indefinitely
Sophomore forward Casey Cook will be sidelined indefinitely with ligament damage in his right thumb, Williams announced last week. Cook originally suffered the ligament damage during the preseason. He sat out the team's two exhibition games, but played in the first six games of the season. Prior to UCSB's December 8 win over Pepperdine, Cook re-injured the thumb and did not play in the victory. Doctor's have determined that the thumb has not sufficiently improved and that Cook should not take part in practice or games for an indefinite period of time.

The Gauchos On The Road
UC Santa Barbara enter the games at the Cable Car Classic with a road record of 3-2 and a neutral court record of, tah-dah, 0-0. After opening the road schedule with a win at USF, the Gauchos lost games at USC and Loyola Marymount before winning at UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton last week.

The Opponents
The Gauchos, which will take on Detroit Mercy in the first round of the Cable Car Classic, has never met the Titans. They did, however, play the Cal State Fullerton Titans in their last game, but you already knew that. UCSB has also never met Maryland-Baltimore County. The Gauchos have played Santa Clara on several occasions. The Broncos hold a 13-9 edge in the all-time series. The last time UCSB and Santa Clara played was in Bob Williams' first season, 1998-99, and the Broncos won 79-69.

A December To Remember
The headline is a bit misleading, it has actually been a November and December to remember, both would not have fit. Anyway, with two games to play, the Gauchos have won seven games before entering January. In Bob Williams' first three seasons they won a total of eight games in November and December.

Possible Starters - Notes
G - Jacoby Atako - Tied his career-high with eight assists at UCR. Has played at least 24 minutes in every game.
G - Branduinn Fullove - Attempted a career-low two shots at Fullerton, but tied his season-high with five assists.
G - Mark Hull - Scored a career-high 32 points, 29 in the second half, and had career-high seven threes at CSUF.
F - Adama Ndiaye - Has made 25-of-45 shots in his last five games, 55.6%. Fouled out for first time at CSUF.
F - Bryan Whitehead - Has had 15 points and 13 rebounds in last four after having just five and eight in first five.

Probable Reserves - Notes
F - Mike Vukovich - Has made 73.3% of his shots in the last five games. Played season low nine minutes at CSUF.
G - Nick Jones - Scored season-high 12 points, including buzzer-beating, game-winning three-pointer, at Fullerton.
G - B.J. Ward - In his last six games, he has 26 assists and just seven turnovers, a 3.7-to-1.0 ratio.
F - Casey Cook - Thumb injury on shooting hand will sideline him indefinitely.
F - Bray Skultety - Has pulled down 11 rebounds in 29 minutes over the last three games.
G - Chrismen Oliver - Has played in three games this season.
G - Chris Newell - Played one minute at USF, his first career action.
F - J.J. Todd - Back in uniform, but still questionable with a bad back.

UCSB Nationally Ranked In FG% Defense
Through nine games this season, UCSB is limiting its opposition to a meager 35.4% shooting from the field, a figure that ranked fourth in the nation as of Monday. In their last game, the Gauchos allowed Cal State Fullerton to shoot 41.8%, the highest mark by an opponent this season. The previous high mark was the 41.5% that USC shot in a game on November 26. Last Thursday UCSB held UC Riverside to 37.7%. In their previous game, a December 8 win over Pepperdine, the Gauchos held the Waves to 27.9% shooting from the field. UCSB has held three opponents below the 30.0% mark. In addition to Pepperdine, UCSB limited Westmont to 24.5% and the University of San Francisco to 26.4%. Only three opponents have made 40.0% or better from the field with St. Mary's joining Cal State Fullerton and USC. UCSB has allowed opponents to shoot better than 50.0% in just one half of basketball this season. BYU made 14-of-26 shots from the field in the first half of a 68-58 Gaucho win on November 28. The Cougars followed that up with a dismal 23.1% mark in the second half to finish at 38.5% for the game. In 18 halves this season, UCSB has limited the opposition to below 30.0% six times, below 40.0% 12 times, below 45.0% 15 times and below 50.0% 17 times. When Cal State Fullerton had a better shooting percentage in the second half than it did in the first half, it snapped a streak of five consecutive games in which the Gauchos had held their opposition to a lower percentage in the second half than in the first.

Pointless Opposition: Gauchos Ranked 13th In Scoring Defense
It doesn't take a Nobel Prize winner to figure out that there is a correlation between field goal percentage defense and scoring defense. Granted, if we needed a Nobel Prize winner we could choose one of the six or seven, but we don't. Either way, in addition to being ranked second nationally in field goal percentage defense, UCSB ranks 13th in the nation in scoring defense at 57.7 points per game. The Gauchos have limited six of nine opponents to fewer than 60 points and two opponents, Westmont and USF, to fewer than 50. Only two Gaucho opponents have scored more than 70 points. Loyola Marymount's 77 is the most scored by a UCSB opponent this season.

n As The Ball Turns...Over
In each of the first three games this season, UCSB produced more turnovers than assists. They had 20 turnovers and just ten assists against Westmont, 17 turnovers and 12 assists at USF, and then 18 turnovers and 13 assists at USC. In five of the last six games, however, they have turned the tables. Against BYU, they produced 15 assists and just 11 turnovers, they followed that performance up with an 18 assist, 17 turnover performance against St. Mary's. In a loss at Loyola Marymount they had their best game of the season, passing off for 17 assists and committing only 11 turnovers, a plus-6. In the win over Pepperdine, the Gauchos had season-highs of 21 turnovers and 18 assists, but at UC Riverside, they equaled their best margin of the season, a plus-6, and they did so by recording a season-low nine turnovers to go with 15 assists. On the year, UCSB now has six more turnovers than assists, but after three games this season they had 13 more, so since then they are seven to the positive.

Another reason for UCSB's 7-2 start this season has been their performance at the free throw line. As a team, the Gauchos are making 75.1% of their free throws, the best mark in the Big West. Four UCSB players are making better than 80.0% of their charity attempts. B.J. Ward leads the team at 86.4%, Branduinn Fullove, who made 26 in a row at one point, has made 85.7%, and Mark Hull has drilled 84.6%. Casey Cook, who is out indefinitely with an injured thumb, has made 5-of-6, 83.3%. Finally, Jacoby Atako is making a solid 75.0% from the charity stripe.

Playing The Percentages
As long as UCSB is limiting its opposition to 35.4% shooting from the field overall, it should generally be in games. At the other end of the court, the Gauchos are shooting 45.1% as a team, a figure that is at its highest point of the season. UCSB had its best shooting game of the year in the win over Pepperdine, making 23-of-41, 56.1%. In Big West wins at UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton, UCSB made exactly 50.0% in each game. In fact, the four best Gaucho performances this season have come in the last five games. In a December 1 win over St. Mary's, they hit 54.5% from the field. In the first games this year, UCSB was shooting 40.2%, in the last five games they have made 118-of-240 from the field, 49.2%.

Double-Digit Wins Are Commonplace
The Gauchos have won seven games this season, five of which were won by ten or more points. UCSB's only two single-digit victories came at home against Westmont (51-42) and on the road at Cal State Fullerton (64-62). The two-point win at Fullerton snapped a streak of five double-digit wins in a row. The two largest margins of victory came at the expense of USF (69-49) and Pepperdine (68-51).

On The Rebound
Since it was outrebounded in the season-opener, UCSB has not been outrebounded. The Gauchos have outrebounded seven of their last eight opponents, tying the other. In the last eight games, they have outrebounded their opponents by a margin of 38, an average of 4.7 per game. UCSB has outrebounded USF, USC, St. Mary's, Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine, UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton, and they fought to a rebounding draw with BYU. On the season, UCSB is outrebounding the opposition by 3.9 rebounds per game, 36.0 to 32.1. Senior forward Adama Ndiaye leads the team at 8.2 boards per outing. Mark Hull is second on the team at 5.7 per game. UCSB has three players, Branduinn Fullove in addition to Ndiaye and Hull, who are averaging at least 4.7 rebounds per game. Not including the sidelined Casey Cook, the Gauchos have seven players averaging at least 2.1 rebounds per game.

The Hull Truth, Nothing But
Junior Mark Hull entered the game at Cal State Fullerton with a scoring average of 16.5 points per game. In the first half of that game, he had one three-point basket and nothing more. The second half was another story as Hull piled up 29 points and six more three-point baskets to finish with a career-high 32 points. Now, as UCSB enters the Cable Car Classic, he is averaging a season-high 18.2 points per game. The 32-point effort was the second 30 point game of Hull's career. Last year, in a win over Cal Poly, he had 31. This season, he is the only Gaucho to score in double-figures in all nine games, the longest streak of his career. Hull has the three highest scoring efforts by Santa Barbara players this season. In addition to his 32 against Cal State Fullerton, he had 27 at Loyola Marymount and 23 against BYU. His 46 points in two wins last week has put Hull over the 800 point mark for his career at 843. The Glendale native has had some big second halves in recent games. Early in the season, Hull was scoring the bulk of his points in first halves. In the first three games, he had scored 42 points, 29 of which were scored in first halves. Since then, Hull has scored more second half points in all but one game, the December 20 win at UC Riverside. At UCR, he had ten first half points and four second half points. The shift to a second half scoring emphasis occurred on December 28 in a win over BYU when Hull scored 18 of his 23 in the second half. Against St. Mary's, he scored a game-high 15, including 11 in the second half. Hull scored 17 of his season-high 27 at LMU in the second half. In a December 8 win over Pepperdine, he had 11 points, eight of which came in the second half. In the last six games, including the UCR exception, he has scored 122 points, 77 of which were scored in second halves. Hull struggled offensively for the Gauchos in the opener against Westmont, making just 3-of-11 shots and scoring ten points. In the last eight games, however, he has found his stride, averaging 19.3 points per game and making 51.0% of his field goal attempts. Also, since going 1-for-6 from three-point territory in the first game of the year, Hull has made 22-of-46, 47.8%. He is the only Gaucho to make at least one three-point bucket in all nine games and his 91 career three-pointers rank him sixth on UCSB's all-time list. As for the rebounding end of things, he led the team at UCR with eight He has come up with at least five in six games and he is averaging 5.7 per game overall. In the loss at USC, he also had a season-high eight boards. Last season, Hull never had more than seven in any game. His career-high of nine was set during his freshman season. Hull piled up a season-high 38 minutes in the win over St. Mary's. He is averaging a team-high 33.0 minutes per game and has played at least 30 in eight of nine contests. Hull, who is the only player in school history to lead the team in minutes played in his freshman and sophomore seasons, is actually averaging a half minute less this year than last year.

Fullove's Full Plate
Sophomore guard Branduinn Fullove rested his arm for much of the Gauchos' win over Cal State Fullerton, attempting a career-low two shots. When UCSB needed Fullove to put his right arm to work, however, he was ready as his perfect three-quarter court ultimately led to the game-winning three-point shot. Realistically, Fullove was not resting his arm during the first 39:58.8, he just wasn't shooting the ball. While he took only two shots and finished with a career-low two points, Fullove was leading the team with five assists and he was pulling in four rebounds. In the previous game, he led UCSB to its win at UC Riverside, scoring a team-high 18 points while making 5-of-9 field goal attempts overall and 3-of-6 from three-point range. Fullove seems to have bounced back from a three-game shooting slump that saw him make just 7-of-33 shots from the field, 21.2%. Including his 1-for-2 performance at Fullerton, he has gone 10-for-20 in the last three games, 50.0%. Fullove has also gone 5-of-11 (45.5%) from three-point territory in that span. In his first three games this year, Fullove made 16-of-31 shots overall, 51.6%, and 8-of-17 from three-point range, 47.1%. On the season, he is now back up near 40.0% at 39.3%. He is also making 36.6% of his three-pointers. He has scored in double-figures seven times in nine games and is now averaging 13.0 points per game. Through the first three games of the year, Fullove was scoring at an 18.3 points per game clip, in his last six games he has averaged 10.3 per game. He has played at least 30 minutes in eight of nine games. He ranks third on the team in rebounding at 4.7 per game, and he has had at least five in four games. Fullove is shooting 85.7% from the free throw line and, at one point, had made 26 in a row. Finally, he is the only player on the team to record a point, rebound and assist in each of the nine games.

Ndiaye Comes Out Shooting
Although he had just seven rebounds in the two games last week, senior forward Adama Ndiaye has done an outstanding job on the boards all season. He ranks second in the Big West Conference at 8.6 per game and he has been in double-figures in rebounding four times in nine games. Ndiaye, who missed all of last season with a fractured left ring finger, has had UCSB's top four rebounding performances this season. He had 14 rebounds in the opener against Westmont, 13 at USC, 13 against Pepperdine and 11 against BYU. From the word go, rebounding was not a problem for Ndiaye. Early on, offense was a problem. Through five games, he scored a total of 35 points, 7.0 per game, and he was shooting just 38.9%. In those first five games, he scored a high of nine points at USC. In the last four games, Ndiaye has shown signs of offensive life. In the loss at Loyola Marymount, he tallied a season-high 18 points, making 7-of-15 shots from the field, against Pepperdine, he had 16 points (7-of-11 from the floor), to go along with his 13 rebounds, giving him his first double-double of the year and then at UCR he made 5-of-7 shots and scored 11 points. In the win over Cal State Fullerton, he had eight points, making 3-of-6 shots. Ndiaye is now averaging 9.8 points per game to go along with his 8.2 rebounds per contest. He has made 25-of-45 shots in his last five games, 55.6%, to improve to 48.0% on the season. Ndiaye also leads the Gauchos in blocked shots with 16 and he has blocked at least two in four of the last six games.

Truly The Nick Of Time
Last year guard Nick Jones was instrumental in leading UCSB to several comeback wins, but none compared to the win at Cal State Fullerton. With 1.2 seconds remaining, the Gauchos had the ball baseline backcourt. Branduinn Fullove threw a three-quarter court pass to Mark Hull who tipped it to Jones who calmly nailed a three-pointer as the buzzer sounded to give UCSB a 64-62 win. The three-pointer gave Jones a season-high 12 points in the game. On the year, he is now averaging 7.4 points per game, but during the Gauchos three-game winning streak he is scoring 10.0 per game. In addition, in the last three games, Jones has made 11-of-20 (55.0%) shots from the field and 5-of-8 (62.5%) from three-point territory. His two highest scoring games have come in the last three games. In addition to his 12-point game against Fullerton, Jones had 11 in a December 8 win over Pepperdine. On the season, he is now shooting 47.2%, but since going 1-for-7 in the opener, he has made 52.2%. Jones is averaging 3.8 rebounds per game and he has had at least two in each of the last six, including a season-high seven in a win over St. Mary's. He also paces the team with 11 steals in nine games. In 28 games last season he had a total of 17 steals.

I'll Have Atako And An Assist
Although his shooting has suffered in the last two games (2-for-10 from the floor, 20.0%), sophomore point guard Jacoby Atako is emerging as the floor general the team had hoped. Atako leads the Gauchos in assists with 35 in nine games, 3.9 per game. In a win at UC Riverside on December 20, he had a season-high eight assists. In the last four games, Atako has a 2.0-to-1.0 assist to turnover ratio with 16 assists and eight turnovers. He is also proving to be more of a workhorse this season than last. Atako has played at least 24 minutes in all nine games and he is averaging 27.9 per game, an increase of more than four minutes over his 23.3 average last season. Atako is averaging 4.7 points per game and has scored a season-high 11 in wins over USF and St. Mary's.

Ward Of The Court
Junior B.J. Ward is teaming with Jacoby Atako to form a solid duo for the Gauchos at the point. Ward is second on the team in assists at 3.4 per game. He has had at least two in each of the last six games and he has done so while doing a great job of taking car of the ball. Ward leads the Big West in assist to turnover ratio at 2.21-to-1.0. In the last six games, he has averaged 4.3 assists per game and he has produced an even better ratio at 3.35-to-1.0. Just as importantly, Ward has become one of the Gauchos' best defensive players, joining Atako in the backcourt for long stretches of time, something that rarely occurred last season. At 86.4%, he also leads the team in free throw percentage.

The Life Of Bryan
Sophomore forward Bryan Whitehead has started the last three games for UCSB, all wins. In his three starts, the transfer from Washington State has played 63 minutes, scored 13 points (4.3 per game) and pulled down ten rebounds (3.3 per game). In the first six games of the season, Whitehead played a total of 55 minutes, had 11 rebounds and seven points. In addition, he had two assists in the win at Cal State Fullerton and now has three on the year.

On The Horizon
Following the Cable Car Classic, the Gauchos will return home to resume Big West play. On Thursday, January 3, they will host the University of Idaho at 7:00 p.m. On Saturday, January 5, they will host the two-time defending Big West champion, Utah State, at 7:00 p.m.