First-Place UCSB Puts 8-Game Winning Streak on the Line, Welcomes Second-Place UC Davis to Thunderdome for Saturday Matinée

Marcus Jackson (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Marcus Jackson (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

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Upcoming Games
Game No. 26
Saturday, Feb. 17, 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

Game No. 27
Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at UC Irvine Anteaters

at UCI's Bren Events Center  - Irvine, Calif.
On-Line Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
TV: Fox Sports Prime Ticket

The Gaucho Record
UCSB enters Saturday's game against UC Davis with a 20-5 overall record and a 9-2 mark in Big West Conference play. The Gauchos, who have won eight consecutive games, are one and a half games ahead of the Aggies and UC Irvine for first-place in the conference. The 20-5 start equals the the 1987-88 team's start as the program's best ever and the 9-2 record in league sets a new 11-game school standard.

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 25 games into the 2017-18 season, UCSB's win total of 20 is 14 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 more doubled their league win total of a year ago with five 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 20 in 25 games this year, a 14-win improvementNorth Carolina A&T ranks second nationally with a 12-game improvement from 3-29 to 15-11. 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 .800, a jump of .586. North Carolina A&T has improved from 3-29, a winning percentage of .093, to 15-11, a percentage of .577 and an improvement of .484.  UCSB's 14-game improvement is two short of the Big West's single season record of 16 set in 1982-83 by Utah State and in 2014-15 by UC Davis. Finally, the Gauchos have become just the fourth Big West program to go from a season in with a win total in single-digits to a season with 20 or more wins. The other programs to do so were UC Davis (2013-14 to 2014-15), Utah State (1981-82 to 1982-83) and Fresno State (1976-77 to 1977-78).

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 20-5 record  through 25 games is four games better than the 15-10 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. 

Streaking
The Gauchos enter Saturday game against UC Davis with an eight-game winning streak, their longest of the season. The streak is the program's longest since the 2015-16 season when it won nine in a row. In November and December of this season, UCSB had a seven-game winning streak. This marks the first time in its history that the program has had two winning streak of at least seven games in the same season.  

• UCSB's Probable Starters
1 Leland King II - F - Had 20 points, 15 rebounds and season-high 5 assists at LBSU...Has 13 double-doubles.
2 Gabe Vincent  - G - Set career-highs for free throws (9) and free throw attempts (13) at LBSU.
14 Ami Lakoju - F - Started last 3 games averaging 7.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.
21 Max Heidegger - G - Has hit 9-of-14 from 3-point range in last 3 games...Has 77 threes this year, 6th all-time.
55 Marcus Jackson - G - Averaging 13.0 points and shooting 55.2% in the last 3 games.  in last 2 games.

UCSB's Probable Reserves
0 Jarriesse Blackmon - F - Has scored 18 of his 27 points in the last 3 games, 6.0 per game.
5 Jalen Canty - F - Suspended for last 3 games and his status for Feb. 17 vs. UC Davis is undetermined.
10 Maxwell Kupchak - F - Had a pair of rebounds in 5 minutes on Thursday at LBSU.
11 Brandon Davis - G - After playing in back-to-back games, was a DNP on Thursday at LBSU.
12 Alex Hart - F - Played 5 or more minutes in each of the last 3 games after being a DNP in 3 straight.
13 Sam Walters - G - Has been a DNP in 6 of the last 7 games.
23 Christian Terrell - G - Has 11 assists in the last 3 games, 3.7 per game, and just 2 turnovers.
43 J.D. Slajchert - F - Has 10 DNPs in the last 11 games, having only played on Feb. 3 vs. CSUN.

The Opponents
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 and UC Irvine have played 89 times since 1968 with Santa Barbara leading the series 52-37. The Gauchos defeated the Anteaters in Santa Barbara on Jan. 20, 70-58. UCI won both games between the schools last season.

UCSB Away From Home 
The Gauchos are 9-5 away from home and 8-5 in true road games. Since opening their Big West road schedule with a pair of road defeats, they have won four consecutive games.

Vincent Scales the Lists
UCSB senior guard Gabe Vincent is climbing several career statistical lists. In the team's first encounter with UC Davis on Feb. 8, Vincent made four three-point baskets to give him 227 in his career, second on the school's all-time list. Michael Bryson holds the record with 241. With 19 points in Thursday night's win at Long Beach State, he now has 1,331 points, 14th all-time. Vincent needs 21 points to move into 13th-place. He also ranks second all-time in three-point attempts (604) and 10th in field goal attempts (1,132).  

On the Margins
UCSB is 9-2 in Big West Conference games, but that doesn't tell the entire story. The Gauchos have posted wins over Long Beach State (80-70), 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 8.1 points per game, tops in the league, and in conference games that figure is at +8.6 points per game.

Heidegger Zeroes in on Three-Point Record
Sophomore Max Heidegger enters Saturday's game against UC Davis with 77 three-point baskets in 177 attempts, 43.5%. The 77 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 four 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 11 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 78.1 points per game, a figure that would be the program's highest since it also averaged 78.1 per game in 1972-73, its fourth 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 17 times in 25 games, and 70 or more 20 times. UCSB has also scored 80 points or more 12 times and 90 or more three times. The last time the team scored 80-plus points in at least 12 games was in 1975-76 when it also did so 12 times. 

A Steal of a Deal
One statistical category that has not stood out for the Gauchos this season is steals. They currently rank eighth in the Big West at 5.1 steals per game, but on Thursday at Long Beach State, they had a season-high 11, one more than the previous season-high of 10 at Pepperdine on Nov. 20.

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 47.2% from the field overall, tops in the Big West and 55th nationally, and 38.3% from three-point range, first in the conference and 50th 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.