First-Place UCSB Takes 7-Game Win Streak to Long Beach Thursday

Max Heidegger (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Max Heidegger (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

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Upcoming Games
Game No. 25
Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Long Beach State 49ers

at LBSU's Walter Pyramid  - Long Beach, Calif.
On-Line Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
On-Line Video: BigWest.tv

Game No. 26
Saturday, Feb. 7, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. UC Davis Aggies
at UCSB's Thunderdome  - Santa Barbara, Calif.
On-Line Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
On-Line Video: BigWest.tv

The Gaucho Record
UCSB will enter Thursday's game at Long Beach State with a 19-5 overall record and an 8-2 mark in Big West Conference play. The Gauchos, who have won seven consecutive games, are one-half game ahead of UC Irvine for first-place in the league. The 19-5 start is the program's best since the 1987-88 season when it began the year with a 20-5 record. The 8-2 record in league matches the best start since 1991-92.

Pair of UCSB Games Moved to Accommodate ESPN3, ESPNU
UCSB's Feb. 24 game at Cal State Northridge has been switched from a 7:00 p.m. tip-off to a 5:00 p.m. tip-off to accommodate the Big West Conference's ESPN3 package. The home game against Long Beach State on Thursday, Mar. 1 has been switched from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. for ESPNU.  

2017-18 is More Than Triple the Fun 
A mere 24 games into the 2017-18 season, UCSB's win total of 19 is 13 more than last season and more than triple the six-win total that the team posted in 2016-17. In addition, with eight wins in Big West play, the Gauchos have doubled their league win total of a year ago with six conference games yet to be played. Last year UCSB battled through eligibility and injury issues and struggled to a 6-22 overall record and 4-12 mark in the Big West. The 22 losses were the most in the history of the program. 

UCSB Turnaround is Tops in Nation
UCSB's improvement from 2016-17 to 2017-18 is astounding and is the most impressive in the nation. The Gauchos' victory total has jumped from six in 28 games last season to 19 in 24 games this year, a 13-win improvement. The only other school that has improved by as many as 12 wins to this point is North Carolina A&T, which won three games last year and is currently sitting at 15-10. UCSB's leap in winning percentage is just as impressive. Last season, Santa Barbara posted a winning percentage of .214 while this year it has a mark of .792, a jump of .578. North Carolina A&T has improved from 3-29, a winning percentage of .093, to 15-10, a percentage of .600 and an improvement of .507. 

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 19-5 record  through 24 games is four games better than the 15-9 mark that Art Gallon's Gaucho team posted in 1957-58.

UCSB Now No. 11 in Collegeinsider.com Mid-Major Poll
UCSB has climbed to a season-best No. 11 in the latest Collegeinsider.com Mid-Major Poll. The Gauchos moved up one spot this week after the road win at UC Davis. They are the only Big West Conference school in the top-25. Gonzaga, New Mexico State and St. Mary's are ranked 1-2-3 respectively.  

• Gauchos Home Streak to Open Season Sets New School Standard
UCSB has opened the 2017-18 season with a perfect 11-0 record at the Thunderdome. This marks the first time that the Gauchos have ever gone 11-0 at home to start a season. The previous record of 10-0 was set during the 1988-89 season. Dating back to last year, Santa Barbara has won 12 consecutive games at the Thunderdome, the program's longest streak of consecutive home wins since a 15-game stretch that spanned the 1987-88 and 1988-89 seasons. 

UCSB Rolls to Victory in First-Place Showdown Against UC Davis
UCSB jumped out to a big first half lead and cruised to a 90-81 win over UC Davis on Feb. 8. The win put the Gauchos in first-place all alone and also ended the Aggies' 19-game home winning streak, the fourth longest in the nation. Leland King II had 19 points and 15 rebounds, while Gabe Vincent and Max Heidegger each added 18, and Marcus Jackson 15 to lead Santa Barbara, which made 55.6% of its field goals overall, including 11-of-20 from three-point range, 55.0%. Heidegger was a perfect 3-for-3 from outside the arc while Vincent was 4-for-5. Jackson scored all 15 of his points in the decisive first half. Jarriesse Blackmon was outstanding off the bench as he equaled his season-high of eight points, while also adding three rebounds and a pair of blocked shots. He made both of his field goal attempts and was 4-for-5 from the free throw line.

UCSB's Probable Starters    
1 Leland King II - F - 6-7 - 215 - Gr. - Had 19 points, 15 rebounds on Feb. 8 at UC Davis, his 12th double-double of the year.
2 Gabe Vincent  - G - 6-3 - 200 - Sr. - Made 4-of-5 3-pointers on Feb. 8 at UC Davis...Now has 227 and 1,312 career points.
14 Ami Lakoju - F - 6-8 - 273 - Jr. - Started last 2 games averaging 8.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game.
21 Max Heidegger - G - 6-2 - 180 - So. - Has hit 7-of-10 from 3-point range in last 2 games...Has 75 threes this year, 6th all-time.
55 Marcus Jackson - G - 6-3 - 185 - Gr. - Averaging 13.5 points in last 2 games...Has 4 3-pointers in the last 2 contests.

UCSB's Probable Reserves
0 Jarriesse Blackmon - F - 6-7 - 212 - Jr. - Scored season-high 8 points and blocked season-high 2 shots in each of last 2 games.
5 Jalen Canty - F - 6-8 - 230 - Sr. - Suspended for last 2 games and his status for Feb. 15 at LBSU is undetermined.
10 Maxwell Kupchak - F - 6-7 - 201 - Jr. - Has been a DNP in 6 of the last 8 games...Played 5 minutes on Feb. 3 vs. CSUN.
11 Brandon Davis - G - 6-1 - 190 - Fr. - Played in each of the last 2 games ,a total of 8 minutes.
12 Alex Hart - F - 6-10 - 228 - Sr. - Scored 2 points on Feb. 8 at UC Davis, equaling his high in Big West games.
13 Sam Walters - G - 6-2 - 188 - Jr. - Has been a DNP in 5 of the last 6 games.
23 Christian Terrell - G - 6-5 - 195 - So. - Has 14 rebounds in the last 3 games, 4.7 per game...Ranks 3rd on team at 3.2 per game.
43 J.D. Slajchert - F - 6-6 - 227 - Jr. - Has 9 DNPs in the last 10 games, having only played on Feb. 3 vs. CSUN.

The Opponents
The Gauchos have played Long Beach State 124 times, more than they have played any opponent. The 49ers hold a 66-58 all-time advantage and they have won four straight. UCSB and UC Davis have played 37 times in a series that began in 1939. The Gauchos hold an all-time lead of 29-8, including a 90-81 win in Davis on Feb. 8. Last year, the Aggies won both of the games between the schools, including a 67-64 victory at the Thunderdome.  

UCSB Away From Home 
The Gauchos are 8-5 away from home and 7-5 in true road games. They have won their last three league road games and are now 3-2 on the road in Big West Conference games with both losses coming by one point.

Streaking
The Gauchos enter Thursday's game at Long Beach State with a seven-game winning streak, their second of the season. The seven game streaks are the program's longest since the 2015-16 season when it won nine in a row. This marks the first time in its history that UCSB has had two winning streak of at least seven games in the same season.  

On the Margins
UCSB is 7-2 in Big West Conference games, but that doesn't tell the entire story. The Gauchos have posted wins over UC Davis (90-81), CSUN (75-51), Hawai'i (84-82), UC Riverside (65-57 and 76-69), Cal State Fullerton (83-64 and 70-65) and UC Irvine (70-58) by an average margin of 10.7 points. Their losses have come at Cal Poly and Hawai'i by a combined two points, an average of 1.0 per game. Overall, UCSB is outscoring opponents by 7.9 points per game, tops in the league, and in conference games that figure is at +8.4 points per game.

Heidegger Zeroes in on Three-Point Record
Sophomore Max Heidegger enters the week with 75 three-point baskets in 173 attempts, 43.4%. The 75 three-point baskets are the sixth most in UCSB history. He is currently averaging 3.1 three-pointers per game, tops in the Big West Conference and needs just six more to move past Mark Hull (78), Kyle Boswell (78), James Powell (79) and Gabe Vincent (80) and into second all-time. He also needs 13 more to move past Brian Johnson (87) and become the school's all-time single-season leader. Johnson's record is one of UCSB's longest standing single-season record as he hit his 87 threes in 1986-87. 

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 78.0 points per game, a figure that would be the program's highest since it also averaged 78.0 per game in 1974-75, its fifth highest in program history. Last season, the Gauchos scored a season-high 76 points twice and 70 or more just five times. This year, they have scored 76 or more in 11 of the last 15 games and 16 times in 24 games, and 70 or more 19 times. UCSB has also scored 80 points or more 11 times and 90 or more three times. The last time the team scored 80-plus points in more games was in 1975-76 when it did so 12 times. 

On the Rebound
UCSB's current rebound margin of +4.1 is at its highest point since it was +5.0 through three games. In 10 Big West Conference games, the margin is +4.9 and in the last 13 games, the Gauchos have outrebounded their opponents by a total of 107 rebounds, an average margin of +8.2. The current +4.1 margin would rank eighth in school history.

• 20-20-20 Vision
On Feb. 1, in an 84-82 over time win against Hawai'i, the Gauchos had three players score 20 or more points. Max Heidegger (25), Leland King II (21) and Jalen Canty (21) each scored 20+ to become the first UCSB trio to do so since Dec. 9, 1989 when Carrick DeHart (26), Eric McArthur (24) and Gary Gray (21) turned the trick in a 104-101 loss at Loyola Marymount. According to the NCAA, there have only been three other instances of three teammates scoring 20 or more in the same game this season. 

A Shooting Turnaround 
UCSB is currently shooting 47.1% from the field overall, second in the Big West and 58th nationally, and 38.4% from three-point range, first in the conference and 47th nationally. The Gauchos' shooting is a far cry from a season ago when they made 37.7% of their field goals, 350th out of 351 schools (including reclassifying schools), and 29.0% of their three-pointers, 348th in the nation.