2nd-Seeded UCSB Opens Big West Tournament Thursday Against Cal Poly

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

To download UCSB's entire Big West Information packet, click here.

Upcoming Games
Game No. 31
Thursday, Mar. 8, 2018 at 8:30 p.m.
Big West Conference Tournament First Round
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Cal Poly Mustangs
at Honda Center  - Anaheim, Calif.
On-Line Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
TV: Fox Sports Prime Ticket
On-Line Video: FoxSportsGo.com

The Gaucho Record
UCSB enters its Big West Tournament game against Cal Poly with a 22-8 overall record. The Gauchos finished the regular season with a Big West Conference record of 11-5 and while they were tied with UC Irvine in the league standings, they earned the No. 2 seed by virtue of a tiebreaker.  

The Gauchos in the Big West Tournament
UCSB has won three Big West Conference Tournament titles and played for a fourth. The Gauchos won their first championship in 2002 when they were seeded third, beating Cal Poly, UC Irvine and Utah State. In 2010, as the No. 1 seed, UCSB topped UC Davis in the semifinals and Long Beach State in the final. In 2011, as the fifth seeded team, the Gauchos beat Pacific, Cal State Northridge and Long Beach State. The following year, in 2012, they advanced to their third consecutive championship game against Long Beach, but that time the 49ers were too much. The last time Santa Barbara played in the tournament was in 2016 when it won a first round game against UC Davis before falling to the eventual champion, Hawai'i. 

UCSB Trio Earns All-Big West Honors
Max Heidegger and Leland King II were named First Team All-Big West, and Gabe Vincent earned second team honors, it was announced Monday. Heidegger enters the Big West Tournament averaging 19.4 points per game and leading the league in three-point baskets with 90. King is averaging 15.9 points and a league-leading 10.5 rebounds per game. He is the only player in the conference averaging a double-double and he has 15 on the season. Vincent bounced back from reconstructive knee surgery in February of 2017 to have an outstanding senior campaign. He is averaging 12.5 points and 3.4 assists per game. He also leads the Big West  and is ranked 15th nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.9-to-1.

UCSB's Probable Starters
1 Leland King II - F - Named First Team All-Big West...Has 15 double-doubles on the year..315 rebounds are the 4th most ever by a Gaucho.
2 Gabe Vincent  - G - Named Second Team All-Big West...With 240 career 3-point baskets, ranks second in UCSB history, 1 off the all-time record.
5 Jalen Canty - F - Averaging 15.5 ppg, 6 rpg, and 3 apg while making 13-of-16 FGs, 81.2%, in last 2 games.
21 Max Heidegger - G - Named First Team All-Big West...Made 5 3-pointers vs. Cal Poly in regular season finale and now has school record 90.
55 Marcus Jackson - G - Has 18 assists and just 4 turnovers in the last 2 games...Made a three in 10 straight games.

UCSB's Probable Reserves
0 Jarriesse Blackmon - F - Has 3 or more rebounds in 9 of his last 14 games and is averaging 2.8 per game overall.
10 Maxwell Kupchak - F - Has been a DNP in last 3 games after playing in 3 straight.
11 Brandon Davis - G - Played 8 minutes in regular season finale vs. Cal Poly, his highest total since Dec. 30.
12 Alex Hart - F - Played 5 or more minutes in his 6 of his last 7 appearances.
13 Sam Walters - G - Logged 3 minutes in regular season finale but has been a DNP in 10 of last 12 games.
14 Ami Lakoju - F - Had season-high 10 rebounds at CSUN on Feb. 24, but totaled 13 minutes in last 2.
23 Christian Terrell - G - Has made 16-of-31 field goals over the last 10 games, 51.6%.
43 J.D. Slajchert - F - Played 2 minutes in regular season finale and scored his first basket in league play.

2017-18 Win Total Improvement Equals Big West Record
As they enter the 2018 postseason, the Gauchos' win total of 22 is 16 more than the six they posted in 2016-17. In addition, the 11 Big West wins were seven more than the four they had last year. Last year's UCSB team went 6-22 overall and 4-12 in league games. The 22 losses were a school record. This season's 16-win increase equals the Big West's single season record for improvement set in 1982-83 by Utah State and in 2014-15 by UC Davis. 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 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 last season to 22 this year, a 16-win improvement. North Carolina A&T has the second biggest improvement in the nation having gone from 3-29 last season to 18-13 this season, a jump of 15 victories. 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 .733, a jump of .519. North Carolina A&T has improved from a winning percentage of .093 to a percentage of .581 and an improvement of .487. 

UCSB Win Total Ranks Among Best in School History
UCSB's 22 victories equal the second most in school history and are one shy of the school record of 23 set in 2007-08. The 1987-88 team also won 22 games. 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
At 22-8, regardless of what happens the remainder of the season, Joe Pasternack will be 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 UCSB coach. 

Close Calls
While the Gauchos went 11-5 during the Big West regular season, a six-point swing would have made them 14-2. UCSB lost three conference games by one point. They fell 80-79 at Cal Poly on Jan. 4, 77-76 at Hawai'i on Jan. 13 and 70-69 to Long Beach State on Mar. 1.

Gauchos Home Streak to Open Season Set a New School Standard
Before dropping a 71-54 decision at the Thunderdome 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 113 times dating back to 1937 with Santa Barbara holding a 78-35 all-time edge. The teams split regular season meetings this year with each team winning on its home floor. The Mustangs won  80-79 in San Luis Obispo on Nan. 4 while the Gauchos won the regular season finale at the Thunderdome, 86-61. The teams have met six times in Big West Tournament games and each has won three. The last tourney meeting was in 2015 and was won by UCSB, 54-50.

Vincent Scales the Lists
UCSB senior guard Gabe Vincent is climbing several career statistical lists. In the Mar. 3 game against Cal Poly he made one three-point baskets to give him 240 in his career, one fewer than Michael Bryson's record of 241. With eight points against the Mustangs, Vincent now has 1,418 in his career, 11th all-time, and he needs just three to pass Lucius Davis and enter the top-10. He also ranks second all-time in three-point attempts (636) and ninth in field goal attempts (1,199). Finally, Vincent enters the Big West Tournament with 114 career steals, tied for ninth on UCSB's all-time list. 

Heidegger Sets New Single-Season Three-Point Standard
Sophomore Max Heidegger made 5-of-14 three-point attempts in the Mar. 3 win over Cal Poly and, in the process, became UCSB's all-time single-season leader with 90 three-pointers and 219 three-point attempts. Heidegger broke the school record for threes previously held by Brian Johnson. Johnson made 87 three-point baskets during the 1986-87 season and his record was one of the longest standing single-season records. The previous record for three-point attempts was Gabe Vincent's 208 in 2015-16. 

Heidegger Also Creeps Up Scoring List
Max Heidegger has not only set a new UCSB record for three-point baskets in a season, but he is also climbing the single-season scoring list. He enters the Big West Tournament with 582 points, the eighth most in school history and most ever by a sophomore. He needs 15 to move into seventh. Also, Heidegger's scoring average of 19.4 points per game, if it were to stand, would rank as the 10th highest in school history.

Heidegger, King II Move Up UCSB's 1-2 Punch Top-10
After combining for 46 points in UCSB's Mar. 3 win over Cal Poly, Max Heidegger and Leland King II have combined for 1,060 points this season. Heidegger (582) and King (478) are the third highest scoring duo in school history. Orlando Johnson and James Nunnally hold the top two spots on the list having scored 1,194 in 2010-11 and 1,106 in 2011-12. Heidegger's individual total ranks eighth on the single-season list. 

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 have scored 2,292 points, the second most in school history, and if they can conjure up a 44-point game against Cal Poly in the Big West Tournament they would break the school record of 2,335 points set in 2015-16. In addition, UCSB is leading the league with an average of 76.4 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 ninth 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 19 times and 70 or more 22 times. UCSB has also scored 80 points or more 14 times and 90 or more three times. The last time the team scored 80-plus points in 14 games was in 1970-71. 

Sharing and Taking Care of the Ball
UCSB had a season-high 27 assists in the regular season's final game against Cal Poly, equaling the fifth most in school history  and the most since February of 1993. The Gauchos now have 457 assists on the season, equaling the ninth most in school history. Additionally, they equaled their season-low with five turnovers in the game against the Mustangs and they enter the postseason with 312 total turnovers, the eighth fewest in all of NCAA Division I. UCSB has had 10 or fewer turnovers 18 times this season and its 1.46-to-1 assist to turnover ratio not only ranks first in the Big West Conference but it is the 15th best mark in the nation. 

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