SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara men's basketball team pulled no punches on Tuesday night in its home opener against Cal Lutheran, routing the Kingsmen 88-32 in a match that featured every active Gaucho player at the start of the game getting some action out on the court.
UCSB's (2-1) 56 point margin of victory is the most in program history besting the previous school record which was at 55 when Santa Barbara defeated Cal Poly Pomona in 1971. Additionally, UCSB allowing just 32 points on the night was the least amount of points the program has surrendered in an entire game in the shot clock era.
"We have been preaching defense the past 24 hours, since that North Dakota State game, and I thought that really fueled us tonight," Head Coach Joe Pasternack said. "This team has to be a lockdown defensive team for us to be successful."
Senior forward Ami Lakoju led the Gauchos in scoring on the night with 16 points but it was freshman Amadou Sow who stole the show in the game's opening minutes scoring 11 of the teams first 14 points.
"Everything we did started with coming out and playing hard defensively. Coach [Pasternack] had a great game plan for us and we followed it. My last game was not a great game for me so I just wanted to do what I could to help my team win today and not get into foul trouble or anything like that," Sow said.
With Sow's help, UCSB jumped out to a 16-6 lead and steadily grew that lead throughout the first half. Sow would finish the contest with 15 points, seven rebounds and showed some defensive prowess as well finishing with three blocks.
After a strong start from Sow, Lakoju started to make his presence felt. Coming in with the Gauchos holding a 25-8 advantage, the New York native came in and scored 10 of the Gauchos final 25 points in the first half including a monstrous dunk with 2:25 left in the half helping his team take a 50-15 lead into the break.
"I am here to help the team do what I can, this night was my night but it is not always going to be like that," Lakoju said. "Moving forward I just want to keep helping the team so if they go to me I am going to put the ball up."
In the second half, Lakoju and company did more of the same and the Gauchos really coasted throughout steadily increasing their lead as time passed eventually winning 88-32. By the end of the night, 12 of the 13 Gauchos that entered the contest scored and every single player recorded something of value on the stat sheet.
UCSB would also finish the contest with a season-high 58.2 percent shooting from the field. Sophomore forward Robinson Idehen was the only other Gaucho in double figures scoring 10 while collecting seven boards helping the Gauchos finish with a season-high 53 total rebounds.
Ar'mond Davis and Christian Terell would both contribute eight points as well with the latter coming off the bench. UCSB had 53 points off the bench. Finally, while the team had just 14 assists in their first two games combined, Santa Barbara finished with 26 on Tuesday, seven coming from guard Zack Moore, a team high.
"All of our guys have worked so hard in practice and having a deeper team really, really helps so we don't have to play guys 35 minutes a game," Pasternack said. "It is huge to develop our bench to be able to go 10 deep and we will see the benefits down the road."
UCSB will be back in action at 2 p.m. when they host Montana State at the Thunderdome on Saturday, November 17th.