UCSB Hosts North Dakota State in Regular Season Opener Saturday Afternoon

Jalen Canty (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Jalen Canty (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

To download the entire release as a PDF, including player notes and statistics, please click here.

Upcoming Games
Game No. 1
Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. North Dakota State Bison

at UCSB's Thunderdome - Santa Barbara, Calif.
On-Line Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
On-Line Video: UCSBgauchos.com or BigWest.TV
Live Stats | Tickets

Game No. 2
Progressive Legend's Classic
Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Univ. of Pittsburgh Panthers

at Pitt's Petersen Events Center - Pittsburgh, Pa.
On-Line Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
On-Line Video: ACC Network Extra | Watch ESPN
Live Stats

Pasternack Era Begins at UCSB
The Joe Pasternack era as head men's basketball coach at UC Santa Barbara began on Saturday, Nov. 4 when the Gauchos defeated Fresno Pacific in an exhibition game at the Thunderdome, 92-69. Pasternack is the 13th head coach in school history and just the third in the last 35 years. He arrived at UCSB after spending six years at the University of Arizona, the last four as Sean Miller's Associate Head Coach. Previously, he spent four seasons as the head coach at the University of New Orleans. Prior to his stint at UNO, Pasternack was at Cal from 2000-07. 

Gauchos Open Difficult November at Home Saturday
UCSB opens the regular season at the Thunderdome on Saturday, Nov. 11 against North Dakota State. The game against the Bison will begin a stretch of seven games in 18 days and five cities. Following the NDSU game, UCSB will play four games in seven days and three cities in the Progressive Legend's Classic. The games will be at Pittsburgh (Nov. 15), at Texas A&M (Nov. 17), at Pepperdine (Nov. 20) and vs. Montana or Oral Roberts (Nov. 21 in Malibu). After returning home for a post-Thanksgiving Day match-up against Prairie View A&M, the Gauchos will complete the month with a Nov. 28 game at San Francisco.

UCSB Debuts With 92-69 Exhibition Win Over Fresno Pacific
The Joe Pasternack Era officially begins on Saturday against North Dakota State, but it unofficially started on Nov. 4 as the Gauchos blasted Fresno Pacific in an exhibition game, 92-69. Sophomore guard Max Heidegger made 6-of-9 three-point field goal attempts and scored a game-high 26 points to lead three players in double-figures. Marcus Jackson, a graduate transfer from Rice, had 14 points, 10 assists, six rebounds and three steals as the starting point guard. Senior Jalen Canty added 13 points on 6-of-7 from the field. As a team, UCSB shot 56.7% from the field, had 26 assists and forced the Sunbirds into 25 turnovers. 

UCSB Looking to Rebound in 2017-18
UCSB went through uncharacteristic struggles in 2016-17. The Gauchos needed wins in three of the final five games to finish with a 6-22 overall record and a 4-12 mark in the Big West Conference. When they won at Cal Poly to end the season, it was their  first win away from home of the season after an 0-14 start. 

Gauchos Picked to Finish Sixth in Big West, Vincent Named Preseason All-Conference
UCSB was picked to finish sixth in the Big West Conference and Gabe Vincent was chosen to the league's Preseason All-Conference Team in an annual poll of the media. The Gauchos earned one first-place vote and totaled 94 points in the poll. UC Irvine (216 points, 14 first-place votes), UC Davis (189 points, seven first-place votes), Cal State Fullerton (158 points, one first-place vote), Long Beach State (153 points, one first-place vote) and Hawai'i (146 points, two first-place votes) were ranked 1-5 in the poll. For Vincent, who missed the final eight games of the 2016-17 season with a knee injury, it was the second consecutive year in which he was named to the preseason all-league team.

Possible Starters - Quick Fact
F 1  Leland King II - Had four rebounds in 13 minutes of action in exhibition vs. Fresno Pacific...Averaged 3.7 ppg and 2.6 rpg at Nevada last year.
G 2 Gabe Vincent - Missed end of last season with knee injury...Played 5 minutes in is exhibition return..Has 1,044 career points, 188 3-pointers.
F 5 Jalen Canty - Made 6-of-7 shots and had 13 points in exhibition vs. Fresno Pacific...Missed final 18 games last season because of academic issues.
G 21 Max Heidegger - Had team-high 26 points and made 6-of-9 threes vs. Fresno Pacific...Averaged 7.6 ppg, 2.1 rpg and 1.4 apg as a freshman.
G 55 Marcus Jackson - Had double-double with 14 points, 10 assists vs. Fresno Pacific...Grad transfer from Rice, averaged 12.2 ppg last year.

Probable Reserves - Quick Fact
F 0 Jarriesse Blackmon - Played 10 minutes and missed his only shot in exhibition vs. Fresno Pacific...Averaged 4.1 ppg and 3.2 rpg in 2016-17.
G 3  Clifton Powell, Jr. - Made 2-of-3 threes and had 9 points in exhibition game...Provided 6.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg and 1.3 apg in a solid freshman season.
F 10 Maxwell Kupchak - Scored 5 points in 9 minutes vs. Fresno Pacific...Averaged 3.2 rpg and 3.1 ppg as a sophomore...Played in 26 of 28 games.
G 11 Brandon Davis - Freshman point guard passed off for 8 assists and had 0 turnovers in 14 minutes vs. Fresno Pacific...Added 2 points.
F 12 Alex Hart - Came off the bench and had 6 points and 4 rebounds in 13 minutes vs. Fresno Pacific...Paced team at 6.2 rpg as a junior.
G 13  Sam Walters - Made his only field goal attempt, a 3-pointer, and had 5 points in 8 minutes vs. Fresno Pacific...Hit 9 threes in 2016-17.
F 14  Ami Lakoju - Had 2 points and 3 rebounds in 16 minutes vs. Fresno Pacific...Missed final 18 games because of academic issues in 2016-17.
G 23 Christian Terrell - Made 2-of-3 field goal attempts and had 4 points vs. Fresno Pacific...Also added 3 assists and a team-high 5 steals in exhibition.
F 43 J.D. Slajchert - Played the final 5 minutes and had 4 points in exhibition game vs. Fresno Pacific.   

The Opponents
UCSB and North Dakota State have met once, on Nov. 13, 2010, in a tournament at the University of Oregon. The Bison defeated the Gauchos 68-60 in that one meeting. The game between Santa Barbara and Pittsburgh will be the first between the schools.

The Gauchos at Home
UCSB  was 5-8 at the Thunderdome in 2016-17. In fact, the Gauchos have struggled in home games over the past two seasons having gone a combined 11-13 over that span. In 2015-16 they were just 6-5 in games at the Thunderdome.

UCSB in Season Openers 
The Gauchos have gone 51-26 in season opening games under seven different coaches dating back to the 1937-38 season. They have won 11 of their last 14 season openers with the only losses over that span coming to Nebraska-Omaha (2016), at Kansas (2014) and at LSU (2012). 

The Gauchos Away From Home 
UCSB was 1-14 away from home in 2016-17, going 1-12 in true road games and 0-2 in neutral site games. In fact, the Gauchos were winless away from home until defeating Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo in the final game of the regular season.

Vincent Returns to Action in Exhibition Game
Senior guard Gabe Vincent made his return to game action in UCSB's exhibition win over Fresno Pacific on Nov. 4. The Preseason All-Big West Conference choice suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in a game against Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 2, 2017. Vincent started and played five minutes against the Sunbirds. He scored two points. Before injuring his knee last season, he was averaging 14.8 points and had made a team-high 51 three-point baskets. Vincent also became the 28th Gaucho player to eclipse 1,000 points in his career when he had 18 in a game at UC Riverside. He enters the 2017-18 campaign with 1,044 career points and needs just seven to move past Doug Muse and into 25th on the school's all-time list. With 188 three-point baskets in his first three seasons, Vincent is eighth all-time and needs just nine to move into fifth on the all-time list.

ACC, SEC and Pac 12 Opponents for UCSB 
UCSB's schedule is a tough one, particularly its November slate. The Gauchos' 2017-18 non-conference schedule includes several teams that could get their tickets punched to the Big Dance in March. Included among the top opponents are Pitt, Texas A&M and USC, giving UCSB games against opponents from the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Southeastern Conference and the Pac 12. It marks the first time in a decade that the Gauchos will play opponents from the ACC, SEC and Pac 12. In 2007-08 the schedule included regular season games at North Carolina and Stanford, and an NIT game at Ole Miss. 

The Graduates 
Guard Marcus Jackson and forward Leland King II are the Gauchos first-ever graduate transfers and are eligible to play their final collegiate season immediately. Jackson transferred to UCSB from Rice University where he was a three-year starter. In 2016-17, he averaged 12.2 points and 2.3 assists per game while starting all 35 of the Owls games. The Acton, Calif., native also made a team-leading 71 three-point baskets. Jackson redshirted the 2015-16 season after injuring his knee, but as a sophomore in 2014-15 he averaged 14.5 points and led Conference USA with 85 three-point baskets. He graduated from Rice with 1,073 career points and his 182 three-pointers rank second in school history. King, a forward, graduated from Nevada last spring. He played one season there after playing two years at Brown University. In 2016-17 he averaged 3.7 points and 2.6 rebounds for a Wolf Pack team that won the Mountain West and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. In one and a half seasons at Brown, he played in 46 games and started 20. King averaged 14.8 points and 7.8 rebounds in 17 games as a sophomore 

Canty, Lakoju Also Return to the Fold
Gabe Vincent isn't the only key player returning to UCSB in 2017-18. Forwards Jalen Canty and Ami Lakoju, the team's top two post players a year ago, return after missing the final 18 games of the 2016-17 season because of academic issues. Each played in 10 games last season. Canty, a senior averaged 10.2 points and 7.0 rebounds per game while making 55.1% of his field goal attempts. Lakoju, a junior, averaged 6.7 points and 5.7 boards while shooting a team-best 61.2%.

For Starters, That's a Lot of Starters
For a variety of well chronicled reasons, the Gauchos had a lot of different starting lineups and a lot of different starters in 2016-17. In all, 11 different players were in the starting lineup and just one, Eric Childress, started all 28 games. This year, UCSB has 10 players on the roster who started at least two games last season. The returnees with the most starts – Gabe Vincent and Alex Hart – each made 20 starts. They are followed by Christian Terrell (17), Clifton Powell (15), Jalen Canty (10), Maxwell Kupchak (10), Jarriesse Blackmon (8), Ami Lakoju (7), Max Heidegger (3) and J.D. Slajchert (2).