UCSB Hosts 1st-Place Fullerton Wednesday, UC Irvine in ESPNU Showdown Saturday

UCSB will host Cal State Fullerton in a key Big West match-up on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m.
UCSB will host Cal State Fullerton in a key Big West match-up on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m.

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• Upcoming Games
Game No. 18
Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Cal State Fullerton Titans

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

Game No. 19
Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018 at 9:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. UC Irvine Anteaters

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

The Gaucho Record
UCSB will enter Wednesday's game against Cal State Fullerton with a 12-5 overall record and a 1-2 mark in Big West Conference play. In their last game, the Gauchos dropped a heartbreaking 77-76 game at Hawai'i on Saturday, Jan. 13. The 12-5 start is the program's best since the 2007-08 season when it began the year with a 13-4 record. That team ultimately set a school record with 23 wins. 

Jan. 20 UCSB-UC Irvine Game Moved to 9:00 p.m. for ESPNU
The UCSB-UC Irvine game originally scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 20 at 7:00 p.m. in the Thunderdome has been moved to 9:00 p.m. to accommodate an ESPNU broadcast. Sam Farber will handle the play-by-play and Richie Schueler will be on color.

2017-18 is Officially Double the Fun 
A mere 17 games into the 2017-18 season, UCSB's win total of 12 is exactly double the total from the 2016-17 campaign. Last year's Gaucho team battled through eligibility and injury issues and struggled to a 6-22 record. The 22 losses were the most in the history of the program. Through 17 games last year, the team's record was 3-14.

Pasternack Off to Best Coaching Start in UCSB History
Joe Pasternack is off to the best start of any first-year head coach in UCSB history. Pastrnack's 12-5 record  through 17 games is four games better than the 10-7 mark that Art Gallon's Gaucho team posted in 1957-58.

UCSB Now No. 18 in Collegeinsider.com Mid-Major Poll
UCSB enters the week ranked 18th in the latest Collegeinsider.com Mid-Major Poll. The Gauchos are the only program from the Big West Conference in the top-25, but Wednesday's opponent, Cal State Fullerton, is receiving votes and would be ranked 33rd. West Coast Conference members Gonzaga and St. Mary's are ranked 1-2. San Diego, which UCSB defeated 67-57 on Dec. 2, is ranked No. 22, and Montana, which the Gauchos beat 80-73 on Nov. 21, is ranked No. 24.  

Gauchos Fall in Hawai'i, 77-76
UCSB scaled most of a 16-point deficit on Saturday at the University of Hawai'i but ultimately fell to the Warriors, 77-76. Trailing 55-39 with just under 16 minutes to play, the Gauchos mounted a 13-0 run to pull within three, 55-52. Max Heidegger, who finished with a game-high 22 points, scored 11 of the 13 points, including the last nine on a trio of three-point baskets. The game was close the rest of the way with the lead shrinking to one point on two occasions, including the final. Heidegger scored 19 of his 22 points in the second half to key the rally. He made 5-of-10 three-point shots and 5-of-6 from the free throw line. Jalen Canty added 16 points and eight rebounds, while Leland King II and Gabe Vincent each scored 11. Marcus Jackson scored 10 points to give UCSB five players in double-figures. Hawai'i was led by Gibson Johnson who made 8-of-9 field goal attempts and scored 18 points. The Warriors hit 27-of-49 field goal attempts, a blistering 55.1%, the second highest mark by an opponent this season. The Gauchos shot 46.4% overall and made 10-of-24 three-point attempts, 41.7%. 

• UCSB's Probable Starters
1 Leland King II - Has scored in double-figures in 16 of 17 games, including the last 14 in a row.
2 Gabe Vincent  - With 11 points at Hawai'i, now has 1,221 in his career, 18th in school history.
5 Jalen Canty - Had 16 points, 8 rebounds at Hawai'i...Point total was his second-highest of the season.
21 Max Heidegger - Has made 10-of-18 three-point attempts in the last 2 games, 55.6%.
55 Marcus Jackson - Made at least 1 three-point basket in 3 straight games and 5 of last 6 appearances.

UCSB's Probable Reserves
0 Jarriesse Blackmon - Played 9 minutes at Hawai'i after missing 5 games with a concussion...Had 3 rebounds.
10 Maxwell Kupchak - For just the second time this season, was a DNP in the game at Hawai'i. 
11 Brandon Davis - Recorded his first career DNP in the game at Hawai'i.
12 Alex Hart - Battled the flu and did not play in the game at Hawai'i...Has 3 DNPs in last 5 games.
13 Sam Walters - DNP in last 3 games...Logged a career-high 24 minutes vs. Pacific Union.
14 Ami Lakoju - Scored 53 of his 68 points in the last 9 games, making 24-of-35 field goals, 68.6%.
23 Christian Terrell - Tied his career-high with 3 steals in the game at Hawai'i.
43 J.D. Slajchert - DNP in last 3 games...Played season-high 10 minutes on Dec. 30 vs. Pacific Union.

The Opponents
UCSB and Cal State Fullerton have played 84 times in a series that dates to 1976. The Gauchos hold a 45-39 all-time advantage, but the Titans won both meetings between the schools last season, winning 65-54 in Fullerton and 79-53 at the Thunderdome. Prior to last season, UCSB had won five consecutive games in the series. The Gauchos and UC Irvine have played 88 times since 1968 with Santa Barbara leading the series 51-37. The Anteaters swept the season series last year, winning 64-47 at home and 66-62 at the Thunderdome. 

The Gauchos at the Thunderdome
UCSB has opened the regular season with a 7-0 record at the Thunderdome. Dating back to last year, the Gauchos have won eight straight and nine of 10 at home. In two season prior to this year, UCSB was just 5-8 and 6-5 at home respectively, a combined 11-13. 

Gauchos Home Streak is Longest in a While
UCSB has opened the 2017-18 season with a perfect 7-0 record at the Thunderdome. This marks the first time that the Gauchos have gone 7-0 at home to start a season since they went 7-0 to begin the 2007-08 home schedule. Dating to last season, Santa Barbara has now won eight consecutive games at the Thunderdome, the program's longest streak since the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons when it won nine home games in succession. UCSB's best home start in school history was in 1988-89 when it won its first 10 consecutive home games to extend its school-record home winning streak to 15 in a row.

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 77.9 points per game, a figure that would be the program's highest since it averaged 78.0 per game in 1974-75. The Gauchos scored 76 points in their last game, a Jan. 13 loss at Hawaii. The Gauchos have scored 76 or more points in seven of the last eight games. Last season, Santa Barbara scored a season-high 76 points twice, in losses to Seattle and Long Beach State. This year, UCSB has scored 76 or more 12 times, 80 points eight times and 90 points twice.  

The Transformation of Max Heidegger
While UCSB has experienced a huge turnaround from last season, sophomore guard Max Heidegger's transformation may be just as great. Statistically, particularly scoring and the various shooting percentages, Heidegger's transformation has been almost staggering. His scoring average has gone from 7.6 points per game to 21.6 per game. In 2016-17, he made 55-of-205 field goal attempts overall, 26.8%, while this season he has gone 120-of-258, 46.5%. In fact, this season Heidegger has as many three-point field goals in 17 games as he did overall field goals in 26 games last season. Last year, he hit just 17-of-83 three-point attempts, 20.5%, while this season he has gone 55-of-124, 44.4%. His only percentage that is, essentially, unchanged, is at the free throw line where he has made 73-of-100 on the year, 73.0%, as compared to 72.9% last season. Finally, Heidegger is averaging 3.2 threes per game and he could approach UCSB's single-season record of 87. 

Leadership Traits
Senior Jalen Canty scored a career-high 21 points on Jan. 4 at Cal Poly and in doing so, became the first UCSB player not named Max Heidegger, Leland King II or Gabe Vincent to lead the team in scoring this season. Through the first 17 games of the campaign, Heidegger has either led or tied for the team-lead 12 times, King has done so four times, while Vincent and Canty have each led the way once. 

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble
Graduate transfer Leland King II has had nine double-doubles this season, all in the last 12 games, the most by a UCSB player since Alan Williams had 18 in 2013-14 and 2014-15. At one point, the native of Inglewood had five straight double-doubles, the most since 1989-90 when Eric McArthur turned the trick in six straight games. When King had 11 points and six rebounds on Saturday at Hawai'i, it ended a streak of four consecutive double-doubles for him. Jalen Canty is also turning into a solid double-double threat. On Jan. 4 at Cal Poly, he scored a career-high 21 points and added 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season. This marks the first time since 1989-90 that the Gauchos have had two players with five or more double-doubles. That year, Eric McArthur produced 19 while Gary Gray added six. 

UCSB's One-Two Scoring Punch 
Max Heidegger leads the Big West in scoring at 21.6 points per game while Leland King II is fourth at 16.7. Combined, they have 652 points, 38.4 per game. If UCSB plays 31 games (including one in the Big West Tournament) the Heidegger-King combo would finish with approximately 1,188 points. The program record for a duo is held by Orlando Johnson and James Nunnally who combined for 1,194 in 2010-11.