11-3 UCSB Travels to Cal Poly for Big West Opener Thursday

Max Heidegger leads 11-3 UCSB into its Big West opening game Thursday night at Cal Poly. (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Max Heidegger leads 11-3 UCSB into its Big West opening game Thursday night at Cal Poly. (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

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Upcoming Games
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: UCSBgauchos.com
On-Line Video: BigWest.tv
Live Stats: UCSBgauchos.com

Game No. 16
Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018 at 9:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. UC Riverside Highlanders

at UCSB's Thunderdome - Santa Barbara, Calif.
On-Line Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
On-Line Video: Watch ESPN App/ESPN3
Live Stats

The Gaucho Record
UCSB will enter Thursday's game at Cal Poly with an 11-3 record.  The 11-3 start is the program's best since the 2007-08 season when it began the year with an 12-2 record through 14 games. That team ultimately set a school record with 23 wins. In 2016-17, the Gauchos were 2-12 through their first 14 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 be chosen for broadcast by one of ESPN's channels.

• 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), Sacramento State (Dec. 23) and Pacific Union. 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 10 of their last 11 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 7-7 mark that Art Gallon posted in 1957-58.

UCSB Move to No. 13 in Collegeinsider.com Mid-Major Poll
UCSB jumped two spots in the latest Collegeinsider.com Mid-Major Poll and is now ranked No. 13. The Gauchos debuted in the poll at No. 21 three weeks ago and then dropped to No. 22 a two weeks ago. Last week, they were at No. 15. The only other four west coast schools in the poll are all from the West Coast Conference. Gonzaga is No. 1, St. Mary's is No. 2, BYU is No. 3 and San Diego, which UCSB defeated 67-57 on Dec. 2, is No. 19.

Gauchos Picked to Finish Sixth in Big West
With conference play opening this week, we should revisit the league's preseason poll. UCSB was picked to finish sixth in the Big West Conference in the annual media 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. 

UCSB Goes Deep Into its Bench in 81-49 Win Over Pacific Union
Max Heidegger scored 16 points while Leland King II and Jalen Canty each added a double-double as UCSB thrashed Pacific Union on Dec. 30, 81-49. King had 10 points and a game-high 13 rebounds while Candy had 10 points and 10 boards. The Gauchos used 14 players in the game and 13 of them scored. Ironically, the program's leading active scorer, Gabe Vincent, was the only player that didn't score in his three-minute stint. No starter played more than 17 minutes against the NAIA Pioneers.

UCSB's Probable Starters - Fast Fact 
1 Leland King II - His double-double vs. Pacific Union was his seventh of the season.
2 Gabe Vincent  - With 12 points at Sac State, now has 1,190 in his career, 20th in school history.
5 Jalen Canty - Had 10 points, 10 rebounds vs. Pacific Union, his fourth double-double of the year.
21 Max Heidegger - Has led or tied for the team-lead in scoring 11 times through 14 games.
55 Marcus Jackson - 13 points at Sac State were his most since he had 16 in Nov. 20 debut vs. Pepperdine.

UCSB's Probable Reserves
0 Jarriesse Blackmon - Has missed last three games with a concussion and is not expected back for Cal Poly.
10 Maxwell Kupchak - Tied his season-high with five rebounds against Pacific Union.
11 Brandon Davis - Made his first career three-point basket in the win over Pacific Union.
12 Alex Hart - Had season-highs of eight points and two blocked shots vs. Pacific Union.
13 Sam Walters - Logged a career-high 24 minutes and set a career-high with four assists vs. Pacific Union.
14 Ami Lakoju - Scored 42 of his 57 points in the last six games, making 19-of-26 field goals, 73.1%.
23 Christian Terrell - Has scored at least one basket in four straight games for the first time this year.
43 J.D. Slajchert - Played season-high 10 minutes and scored season-high six points vs. Pacific Union.

The Opponents
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. UCSB is 32-9 all-time vs UC Riverside. The teams each won at home last season.

The Gauchos at the Thunderdome
UCSB has opened the regular season with a 6-0 record at the Thunderdome. Dating back to last year, the Gauchos have won seven straight and eight of nine 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 78.9 points per game. The Gauchos have scored 91, 87, 87, 82 and 81 points in the last five games, a total of 428 and an average of 85.6 per game. Through three games this year, they were averaging 70.7 points per game, but in the last 11 contests, they have scored 892 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 10 times, 80 points eight times and 90 points twice. The last time the team scored 80 or more in five straight games was in 1972-73 and, according to our records, it has never scored 80 or more in six straight. 

On the Rebound
UCSB is now second in the Big West Conference in rebound margin at +3.6. After being outrebounded three times over a four-game stretch (incidentally all were wins), the Gauchos have outrebounded six of their last seven opponents with the only rebounding defeat over that span coming at USC. In the last three games, Santa Barbara has outrebounded its opponents by 58, an average of 19.3 per game. It doesn't hurt that two of the last three opponents were San Diego Christian and Pacific Union, but still. 

The Fab Four
UCSB enters Thursday's game at Cal Poly with four players averaging in double-figures. Guard Max Heidegger leads the team at 22.1 points per game and he is followed, in order, by Leland King II (17.1 ppg), Jalen Canty (11.6 ppg) and Gabe Vincent (10.4 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 22.1 points per game while Leland King II is second on the team and third in the conference at 17.1 points per game. As a duo, either Heidegger or King has led UCSB in scoring in all 14 games and they have combined for 548 points, an average of 39.1 per game. If Heidegger and King average a combined 39.0 points per game and the Gauchos play 31 games, which would mean just one in the Big West Tournament, they would score approximately 1,210 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.

A Rebounding 1-2 Punch as Well
While Max Heidegger and Leland King II are proving to be a pretty potent 1-2 scoring punch for UCSB, King and Jalen Canty are proving to be a pretty solid 1-2 rebounding punch. With 13 rebounds in just 17 minutes in the win over Pacific Union, King is averaging 9.9 boards per game, tied or the lead in the Big West Conference. For his part, Canty had 10 rebounds in a mere 14 minutes against Pacific Union and is now averaging 7.7 per game, third in the league. The duo has combined for 247 rebounds, an average of 17.6 per game. King and Canty, however, are coming by their rebounds in different ways. The King has 23 offensive boards and 116 defensive while the Canty has a Big West-leading 47 offensive boards along with 61 defensive.

UCSB Statistically in the Big West Conference
Scoring                      78.9 ppg           1st
Scoring Defense          71.4 ppg           6th
Scoring Margin           +7.5                 1st
FG%                          47.7%              1st
FT%                          67.3%               6th
3-FG%                       39.1%              1st
FG% Defense              42.7%              5th
3-FG% Defense           34.4%              4th
3-Pt. Field Goals           8.2 pg             2nd
Reb. Margin               +3.6 pg             2nd
Blocked Shots              4.4 bpg           2nd
Assists                        15.7 apg          1st
Steals                         4.9 spg            8th
Turnover Margin        +0.7 pg             2nd
Assist:TO Ratio            1.4:1               1st