Gauchos Renew Blue-Green Rivalry on Senior Night Saturday at Thunderdome

Jalen Canty (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Jalen Canty (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

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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.
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• The Gaucho Record
UCSB enters Saturday's game against Cal Poly with a 21-8 overall record and a 10-5 mark in Big West Conference play. The Gauchos dropped a 70-69 decision to Long Beach State on Thursday night and have now lost three of their last four games. Despite the defeat to the 49ers, a win by UCSB would give it the No. 2 seed in next week's Big West Conference Tournament at Honda Center in Anaheim.

• UCSB Takes Aim at No. 2 Seed
The Gauchos will not have a chance for the No. 1 seed in next weekend's Big West Tournament when they take the court on Saturday against Cal Poly, but they would have a chance at the No. 2 seed. With tiebreakers factored in, a win over the Mustangs would give UCSB the second-seed next week. UC Davis will be at UC Irvine on Saturday to decide the No. 1 seed, but the loser of that game would fall into a tie for second-place with the Gauchos, if they defeat Cal Poly, and Santa Barbara has the tiebreaker over both the Aggies and the Anteaters since it split with each and was the only one of the three schools to sweep fourth-place Cal State Fullerton.

2017-18 is More Than Triple the Fun 
Twenty-nine 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 the conference finale 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 29 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 .510. 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 Mid-Major Poll
UCSB enters the week ranked No. 17 in the latest 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. 

The Gauchos and Mustangs
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 with a 70-69 loss to Long Beach State on Thursday night, the Gauchos are now 11-2 at home. 

Vincent Scales the Lists
UCSB senior guard Gabe Vincent is climbing several career statistical lists. In the Mar. 1 game against Long Beach State he made a season-high six three-point baskets to give him 239 in his career, second on the school's all-time list. Michael Bryson holds the record with 241. With a career-high 28 points against the 49ers, Vincent now has 1,410 in his career, 12th all-time, and he needs just two to move into 11th-place and 12 to pass Lucius Davis and enter the top-10. He also ranks second all-time in three-point attempts (630) and ninth in field goal attempts (1,191).  

Heidegger Zeroes in on Three-Point Records
Sophomore Max Heidegger enters Saturday game against Cal Poly with 85 three-point baskets in 205 attempts, 41.4%. With one three-point baskets vs. Long Beach State on Thursday night, he moved closer to the Gauchos' all-time single-season record. Heidegger is currently second and needs three to move past Brian Johnson (87) and into the school's all-time single-season lead. Johnson's record is one of UCSB's longest standing single-season record as he hit his 87 threes in 1986-87. Heidegger's 205 three-point attempts are three fewer than Gabe Vincent's school record of 208 set in 2015-16.

Canty Doesn't Show Much Rust in Return
Senior forward Jalen Canty didn't shot much rust in his return from a six-game suspension on Thursday night. Canty, who had not played since a Feb. 1 overtime win over Hawai'i, did not start in the game against Long Beach State, but he did log 35 minutes of action. He was second on the team with 17 points and six rebounds and he made 7-of-9 field goal attempts. On the year, Canty is now averaging 13.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. In his nine Big West games, he is averaging 15.4 points and 7.8 boards per game and in his last five appearances, he has made 36-of-59 field goal attempts, 61.1% and averaged 18.0 points per game.

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 

• 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 76.1 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 29 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. 

Heidegger, King II Move Up UCSB's 1-2 Punch Top-10
By combining for 13 points in UCSB's loss to LBSU on Mar. 1, Max Heidegger and Leland King II have combined for 1,014 points this season. Heidegger (559) and King (455) rank in a tie for the sixth highest scoring duo in school history. They need six to move into fourth-place and 29 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 individual total ranks 10th on the single-season list.