Gauchos Close Regular Season at Home, Host Long Beach Thursday in ESPNU Showdown

Gabe Vincent (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Gabe Vincent (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

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Upcoming Games
Game No. 29
Thursday, Mar. 1, 2018 at 8:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Long Beach State 49ers

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

Game No. 30
Saturday, Mar. 3, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Cal Poly Mustangs
at UCSB's Thunderdome  - Santa Barbara, Calif.
On-Line Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
On-Line Video: BigWest.tv

The Gaucho Record
UCSB enters Thursday's game against Long Beach State with a 21-7 overall record and a 10-4 mark in Big West Conference play. The Gauchos, who ended a brief two-game losing streak with a win at CSUN on Saturday, are tied with UC Davis, one-half game behind UC Irvine in the race for first-place in the Big West Conference. 

2017-18 is More Than Triple the Fun 
Twenty-eight games into the 2017-18 season, UCSB's win total of 21 is 15 more than last season and more than triple the six-wins that the team posted in 2016-17. In addition, with 10 wins in Big West play, the Gauchos have more doubled their league win total of a year ago with two 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 it is the best in the nation. The Gauchos' victory total has jumped from six in 28 games last season to 21 in 28 games this year, a 15-win improvement. North Carolina A&T has has the second biggeset improvement in the nation having gone from 3-29 last season to 17-12 this season, a jump of 14. 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 .750, a jump of .536. North Carolina A&T has improved from a winning percentage of .093 to a percentage of .607 and an improvement of .493. UCSB's 15-game improvement is one 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 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).

UCSB Win Total Ranks Among Best in School History
UCSB's 21 victories are two shy of the school record of 23 set in 2007-08. The 1987-88 team won 22 games, second in school history, and there have been three other Gaucho teams (1988-89, 1989-90 and 2013-14) that have won 21 games in a  season. 

Pasternack Most Successful First-Year Coach in UCSB History
Regardless of what happens the remainder of the season, Joe Pasternack will complete the 2017-18 season as the most successful first-year head coach in UCSB history. Prior to this season, Art Gallon's 15-10 record in 1957-58 and Bob Williams' 15-13 mark in 1998-99 were the two best records for a first-year Gaucho coach. 

UCSB Ranked No. 17 in Collegeinsider.com Mid-Major Poll
UCSB enters the week ranked No. 17 in the latest Collegeinsider.com Mid-Major Poll. The Gauchos had jumped to a season-best No. 11 ranking two weeks ago before dropping games to UC Davis and UC Irvine. Gonzaga remains No. 1 in the poll and Davis is now receiving votes. 

Gauchos Home Streak to Open Season Set a New School Standard
Before dropping a 71-54 decision at the Thunerdome to UC Davis on Feb. 17, UCSB had opened the 2017-18 season with a perfect 11-0 record at the home, marking the first time that the Gauchos had ever gone 11-0 at home to start a season. The previous record of 10-0 was set during the 1988-89 season. 

UCSB Bounces Back at CSUN
Leland King II had 25 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and two steals to help UCSB end a two-game losing streak with an 82-73 win at CSUN on Saturday. King made 11-of-15 field goal attempts as the Gauchos shot a season-best 58.5% from the field en route to the win. Gabe Vincent and Max Heidegger each made four three-point attempts and scored 17 points. 

The Opponents
UCSB has played Long Beach State 125 times, more than they have played any opponent. The 49ers hold a 66-59 all-time advantage but the Gauchos won at Long Beach on Feb. 15, 80-70. Prior to that game, LBSU had won four straight in the series. UCSB and Cal Poly have played 112 times dating back to 1937 with Santa Barbara holding a 77-35 all-time edge. On Jan. 4, in the first meeting between the schools this season, the Mustangs won an 80-79 thriller. That win ended a seven-game Gaucho winning streak in the series. 

The Gauchos at the Thunderdome
UCSB opened the regular season with a 11-0 record at the Thunderdome, equaling the longest streak to open a home schedule in school history. The streak ended with a 71-54 loss to UC Davis on Feb. 17 and the Gauchos are now 11-1 at home. 

UCSB's Possible Starters
1 Leland King II - F - Gr. - Has 14 double-doubles on the season, most in the Big West Conference.
2 Gabe Vincent  - G - Sr. - With 233 career 3-point baskets, ranks second in UCSB history.
14 Ami Lakoju - F - Jr. - Set a season-high with 10 rebounds at CSUN, averaging 5.7 in the last 7 games.
21 Max Heidegger - G - So. -  84 3-point baskets are the 2nd most in school history and he needs 4 to break record.
55 Marcus Jackson - G - Gr. - Had 8 assists at CSUN, equaling his second highest total as a Gaucho.

• UCSB's Probable Reserves
0 Jarriesse Blackmon - F - Jr. - 30 of his 39 points this season have come in the last six games, 5.0 per game.
5 Jalen Canty - F - Sr. - Has missed the last 6 games and remains suspended indefinitely.
10 Maxwell Kupchak - F - Jr. - Was a DNP at CSUN after playing in three consecutive games.
11 Brandon Davis - G - Fr. - Has attempted just 1 shot in his last 8 appearances.
12 Alex Hart - F - Sr. - Has made field goals in back-to-back games for the first time since November.
13 Sam Walters - G - Jr. - Has been a DNP in 9 of the last 10 games.
23 Christian Terrell - G - So. - Produced 3 or more rebounds in 5 of the last 7 games.
43 J.D. Slajchert - F - Jr. - Has 13 DNPs in the last 14 games, having only played on Feb. 3 vs. CSUN.

Vincent Scales the Lists
UCSB senior guard Gabe Vincent is climbing several career statistical lists. In the Feb. 24 game at CSUN he made four three-point baskets to give him 233 in his career, second on the school's all-time list. Michael Bryson holds the record with 241. With 17 points on Saturday at CSUN, Vincent now has 1,382 points, 13th all-time, and he needs 18 points to move into 12th-place and 39 to move into the top-10. He also ranks second all-time in three-point attempts (620) and ninth in field goal attempts (1,173).  

Heidegger Zeroes in on Three-Point Record
Sophomore Max Heidegger enters Thursday's game against Long Beach State with 84 three-point baskets in 198 attempts, 42.4%. With four three-point baskets at CSUN on Saturday night, he moved past Gabe Vincent and into second on the all-time single-season list. Heidegger needs four 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. Heidegger's 198 three-point attempts are 10 back of Vincent's all-time record of 208 set in 2015-16.

• Heidegger, King II Move Up UCSB's 1-2 Punch Top-10
By combining for 42 points in UCSB's win at CSUN on Feb. 24, Max Heidegger and Leland King II have moved up the program's 1-2 punch top-10 list. Heidegger (556) and King (445) have combined for 1,001 points this season, the seventh most by a duo in Gaucho history.  They need 14 to move into sixth, 19 to move into fourth and 42 to move into third. Orlando Johnson and James Nunnally hold the top two spots on the list having scored1,194 in 2010-11 and 1,106 in 2011-12. Heidegger's total ranks 10th on the single-season list. 

Streaking
The Gauchos had an eight-game winning streak ended on Feb. 17 by UC Davis. The eight-game winning streak was the program's longest since the 2015-16 season when it won nine consecutive games. In November and December of this season, UCSB put together a seven-game winning streak and that one, coupled with the recently ended eight-game streak, gave the program two winning streaks of at least seven games in the same season for the first time in school history 

UCSB's Offense Rebounds at CSUN
In its win at CSUN on Feb. 24, UCSB scored 82 points and shot a season-best 58.5% from the field. One game earlier, in a loss at UC Irvine, the Gauchos scored a season-low 49 points and made a season-low 31.6% of their field goals. In fact, prior to scoring 82 against the Matadors, UCSB totaled 103 points over a two-game span. The previous low total for consecutive games was 127 in games at Pitt and Texas A&M.

Making Their Points
Just one season removed from averaging 60.8 points per game overall and 57.1 per game in Big West Conference play, the Gauchos are leading the league in scoring with an average of 76.3 points per game, a figure that would be the program's highest since it averaged 76.8 per game in 1975-76. The current average would be the 10th highest in school history. Last season, UCSB scored a season-high 76 points twice and 70 or more just five times. This year, it has scored 76 or more in 18 times in 28 games, and 70 or more 21 times. UCSB has also scored 80 points or more 13 times and 90 or more three times. The last time the team scored 80-plus points in more games was in 1970-71 when it did so 14 times. 

As the World Turns...Over 
UCSB had just eight turnovers in its Feb. 24 game at CSUN. It marked the fourth straight game and the 17th overall in which the Gauchos have had 10 or fewer turnovers. Overall, they are averaging 10.5 turnovers per game, the 14th fewest in the nation.