Gauchos Host Pacific Union to Close Out 2017, Non-Conference Schedule Saturday

Gabe Vincent (Photo by David Hague)
Gabe Vincent (Photo by David Hague)

To download this entire release, including player information and statistics, please click here.

Upcoming Games
Game No. 14
Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Pacific Union Pioneers

at UCSB's Thunderdome - Santa Barbara, Calif.
On-Line Audio:
On-Line Video:

Game No. 15
Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Cal Poly Mustangs

at Cal Poly's Mott Gymnasium - San Luis Obispo, Calif.
On-Line Audio:
On-Line Video:

The Gaucho Record
UCSB will enter Saturday's game against Pacific Union with a 10-3 record.  The 10-3 start is the program's best since the 2007-08 season when it began the year with an 11-2 record through 13 games. That team ultimately set a school record with 23 wins. In 2016-17, the Gauchos were 2-11 through their first 13 games.

Jan. 6 UCSB-UCR Game Moved to 9:00 p.m. for ESPNU
The UCSB-UC Riverside game scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 6 at 7:00 p.m. has been moved to 9:00 p.m. to accommodate an ESPNU broadcast. The game between the Gauchos and Highlanders will be the first televised from the Thunderdome since the 2015-16 campaign. Two other games, Jan. 20 vs. UC Irvine and Feb. 24 at Cal State Northridge, are also Big West Wild Card games and could also be chosen for broadcast by one of ESPN family of networks.

UCSB Resumes Its Roll 
After having its seven-game winning streak ended on Dec. 17 at USC, UCSB resumed its winning ways with consecutive wins over San Diego Christian (Dec. 19) and at Sacramento State (Dec. 23). After opening the season at 1-2, with road losses at Pittsburgh and Texas A&M, the Gauchos won seven consecutive games, their longest winning streak since they won nine in a row near the end of the 2015-16 season. They have now won nine of their last 10 games as well.

Pasternack Off to Best Coaching Start Ever
Joe Pasternack is off to the best start of any first-year head coach in UCSB history. Pastrnack's 9-3 record is three games better than the 7-6 mark that Art Gallon posted in 1957-58. Two other Gaucho coaches, Jerry Pimm and Ralph Barkey, began their careers with 6-7 records.

UCSB Move to No. 15 in Mid-Major Poll
UCSB jumped seven spots in the latest Mid-Major Poll and is now ranked No. 15. The Gauchos debuted in the poll at No. 21 two weeks ago and then dropped to No. 22 a week ago. A trio of West Coast Conference schools – Gonzaga, St. Mary's and BYU – are ranked 1-2-3 in the latest poll. Santa Barbara is the next highest ranked west coast school. The only other school from the west in the poll is No. 20 Portland State.

Gauchos Picked to Finish Sixth in Big West
With conference play opening on Jan. 4, it behooves us to revisit the league's preseason poll. UCSB was picked to finish sixth in the Big West Conference in the annual meddia poll held in November. The Gauchos earned one 1st-place vote and totaled 94 points in the poll. UC Irvine (216 points, 14 1st-place votes), UC Davis (189 points, seven 1st-place votes), Cal State Fullerton (158 points, one 1st-place vote), Long Beach State (153 points, one 1st-place vote) and Hawai'i (146 points, two 1st-place votes) were ranked 1-5. 

Balanced Gauchos Cruise Past Sacramento State, 82-72
Max Heidegger scored 23 points to lead five players in double-figures as UCSB won at Sacramento State in its most recent game on Dec. 23. Heidegger made 9-of-16 field goals overall and 4-of-9 shots from three-point territory. Jalen Canty (15), Marcus Jackson (13), Gabe Vincent (12) and Leland King II (11) all scored in double-figures as well. In the win, the Gauchos trailed by as many as six points (20-14) eight minutes into the game but closed the half on a 30-12 stretch to take a 44-32 halftime lead. UCSB stretched the advantage to 18 points three times in the second half. The Hornets pulled within 79-70 with 1:34 to play, but a Heidegger three-pointer ended any hopes Sac State had for a comeback. King added 11 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season, while Canty had nine boards and four blocked shots. Jackson led both teams with eight assists. As a team, the Gauchos made 47.1% of their shots, including 11-of-24 from three-point range, 45.8%. They also committed a season-low five turnovers. 

• The Opponents
The meeting between UCSB and Pacific Union will the a first. The Gauchos and Cal Poly have played 111 times dating back to 1937 with UCSB holding a 77-34 all-time edge. Santa Barbara swept the season series last year, winning 58-53 at the Thunderdome at 57-44 in San Luis Obispo. Going back a few years, the Gauchos have won seven straight in the series.

The Gauchos at the Thunderdome
UCSB has opened the regular season with a 5-0 record at the Thunderdome. Dating back to last year, the Gauchos have won six straight and seven of eight at home.  In two season prior to this year, UCSB was just 5-8 and 6-5 at home respectively, a combined 11-13. 

UCSB Away From Home 
The Gauchos are 5-3 away from home and 4-3 in true road games. They have won five of their last six games away from home. Prior its loss at USC on Dec. 17, UCSB had consecutive at Pepperdine, San Francisco and Montana State, and on a neutral court over Montana. In addition to USC, the defeats have come at Pittsburgh and Texas A&M.

Making Their Points
One season removed from averaging 60.8 points per game overall and 57.1 per game in Big West Conference play, UCSB is leading the league in scoring with an average of 78.7 points per game. The Gauchos have scored 91, 87, 87 and 82 points in the last four games, a total of 347 and an average of 86.7 per game. Through three games this year, they were averaging 70.7 points per game, but in the last 10 contests, they have scored 811 points, an average of 81.1 points per game. Last season, Santa Barbara scored a season-high 76 points twice, in losses to Seattle and Long Beach State. This year, the Gauchos have eclipsed 76 points nine times, 80 points seven times and 90 points twice. The last time the team scored 80 or more in four straight games was in 2015-16. 

• Playing the Percentages
A primary reason that scoring is up for UCSB this season is field goal percentage. Well duh. As a team, the Gauchos are shooting 48.1% from the field, tops in the Big West Conference, and since starting the year by shooting 41.3% through the first three games, they have gone 292-for-582, 50.2%. In the last four games, Santa Barbara has made 135-of-257 field goal attempts, 52.5%. The school record for field goal percentage in a season is 50.9% set in 1978-79. The current 48.1% would rank this Gaucho team 10th all-time.

The Fab Four
UCSB enters Saturday's game against Pacific Union with four players averaging in double-figures. Guard Max Heidegger leads the team at 22.5 points per game and he is followed, in order, by Leland King II (17.6 ppg), Jalen Canty (11.7 ppg) and Gabe Vincent (11.2 ppg). The Gauchos have had five players score in double-figures in the same game three times this season, on Dec. 23 at Sacramento State, Nov. 28 at San Francisco and Nov. 20 at Pepperdine. Last season, UCSB had five players score in double-figures in the same game just once. 

A Right, a Left, a Right, a Left...
Max Heidegger is leading the Big West Conference in scoring at 22.5 points per game while Leland King II is second on the team and third in the conference at 17.6 points per game. As a duo, either Heidegger or King has led UCSB in scoring in all 13 games and they have combined for 522 points, an average of 40.2 per game. If Heidegger and King average a combined 40.0 points per game and the Gauchos play 31 games, which would mean just one in the Big West Tournament, they would score approximately 1,240 points, a figure that would exceed the most by a one-two punch in school history. Orlando Johnson and James Nunnally scored 1,194 in 2010-11.

Bench Shows Signs of Life
While four of the five starters are averaging double-figures, UCSB is still searching for some punch off the bench. Gaucho starters, including Christian Terrell's four starts in place of the an injured Marcus Jackson, have scored 903 of the team's 1,023 total points, 88.3%. That being said, the reserves scored their season-high with 35 points in the team's Dec. 19 win over San Diego Christian and they had 17 in the Dec. 17 loss at USC.  The bench added eight in the Dec. 23 win at Sacramento State and the combined 60 points in the last three games are two more than bench scored in the first 10 games. Ami Lakoju has been a key factor in the emergence of the reserves. He has 30 points in the last four games, 7.5 per contest.