Gauchos Host Cal Poly in Big West Opener Wednesday Night at Thunderdome

Devearl Ramsey (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Devearl Ramsey (Photo by Tony Mastres)

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• Upcoming Games
Game No. 15
Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019 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

Game No. 16
Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. UC Riverside Highlanders

at UCSB's Thunderdome - Santa Barbara, Calif. 
On-Line Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
On-Line Video: BigWest.tv

• Jan. 31 UCSB-UC Irvine Game Moved to 8:00 p.m.
The Jan. 31 game between UCSB and UC Irvine, originally scheduled for 7:00 p.m. in the Thunderdome, has been moved to 8:00 p.m. to accommodate a live broadcast by ESPNU.

Gauchos Open Big West Conference Play at Home
UC Santa Barbara will complete its five-game home stand and open Big West Conference play with games against Cal Poly on Jan. 9 and UC Riverside on Jan. 12. For the second consecutive season, the Gauchos will begin league play against the rival Mustangs. Last year, the teams opened the season in San Luis Obispo. Following the first two Big West contests, UCSB will hit the road for three straight. 

The Gaucho Record
UCSB enters its Big West Conference opener against Cal Poly with an 11-3 record. The Gauchos have won three consecutive games and five of of their last six. Their last two wins were polar opposites. On Dec. 29, they handed the University of San Francisco just its second loss of the season, 73-71. That game was close and tense pretty much the entire 40 minutes. In its last game on Jan. 2, Santa Barbara thrashed Bethesda University 109-47, setting a new school record for victory margin at 62. In 2017-18, one season after setting a school record for losses and finishing 6-22, UCSB had an overall record of 23-9 and a Big West Conference mark of 11-5. The 23 wins equaled the most in school history and the 11-5 league record was good for second-place. 

UCSB is Off to Its Best Start Since...
Actually, you don't have to go back too far to find the same 11-3 start to a season for the Gauchos. Last season, Santa Barbara started the season at 11-3 in non-conference play before losing at Cal Poly in the Big West opener, falling to 11-4. The last time UCSB began the year 12-3 was in 2007-08.

UCSB in the Midst of its Best Stretch in 30 Years
In Joe Pasternack's first season, UCSB tied a school record for wins and went 23-9. Through the first 14 games in 2018-19, the Gauchos are 11-3 giving them a 34-12 record (.739) in Pasternack's first 46 games. The last time the program had a better 46 game stretch was when it went 22-8 in 1987-88 and then opened the 1988-89 season with a 15-1 record, giving it a 37-9 record over a 46 game span. 

Gauchos Picked to Finish 4th in Big West Media Poll
With league play beginning this week, it behooves us to take another look at the preseason media poll. UCSB was selected to finish fourth in the Big West Conference in the annual poll of the media. The Gauchos received four first-place votes in the poll and totaled 149 points. UC Irvine collected 10 first-place votes and was picked to finish first with 192 poll points. Cal State Fullerton, which won the Big West Tournament in 2018, was picked second and UC Davis third.

Gauchos Go the Distance for Non-Conference Road Games
This season, UCSB played its non-conference road games at Wyoming, North Dakota State, Washington, Rice, Nebraska-Omaha and against Portland State and Idaho in Boise. This year marks the second time in program history that the Gauchos played all of their non-conference road games outside the state of California. The only other time the team played all of its preseason road games outside the Golden State was in 2014-15 when it traveled to Kansas, Florida-Gulf Coast, SMU, Oregon and Oregon State. That season, UCSB also played Washington State, Mercer and Colorado  State at the Great Alaskan Shootout in Anchorage, and at Oral Roberts in the College Basketball Invitational.

Gauchos Complete Big Sky Schedule With Win Over Idaho State
UCSB has an overall record of 9-3 and a Big Sky Conference mark of 5-0. Actually, the Gauchos are in the Big West, but they have played five Big Sky teams (Montana State, Portland State, Idaho, Sacramento State and Idaho State).The five games are the most that Santa Barbara has ever played against Big Sky opposition.

The Gauchos and Mustangs
UCSB and Cal Poly have played 114 times in a series that began in 1937. The Gauchos hold a 79-35 all-time advantage won two out of three games over the Mustangs last season, including a 75-53 decision in the first round of the Big West Tournament. 

The Gauchos at the Thunderdome
The Gauchos have started the 2018-19 season with a 7-0 record at the Thunderdome. They have posted wins over USF, Idaho State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Sacramento State, Montana State, Bethesda and Cal Lutheran. UCSB is 19-2 at home under Joe Pasternack, including 13-0 in non-conference games. In 2017-18, UCSB went 12-2 at home and opened the regular season with an 11-0 record at the Thunderdome, equaling the longest streak to begin a home schedule in school history. 

• UCSB's Possible Starters
1 Ar'Mond Davis G 6-5 190 Gr. Leads the team at 14.2 ppg...Has 11 assists in last 3 games, 3.7 per game. 
2 Jarriesse Blackmon F 6-7 220 Sr. Has a career-high 3 blocked shots four times this season and averages 1.2 bpg.
3 JaQuori McLaughlin G 6-4 190 So. Averaging 10.9 ppg overall but is scoring at a 12.2 ppg clip against NCAA D-1 opponents.
4 Devearl Ramsey G 6-0 185 So. Scored 10 or more in 6 straight games before playing season-low 15 mins vs. Bethesda.
12 Amadou Sow F 6-9 235 Fr. 10+ points in 5 of last 6...Made 30-of-44 FGs in last 6 games, 68.2%.

UCSB's Possible Reserves
0 Sékou Touré G 6-5 185 Fr. 1st career double-double with career-highs of 18 pts and 10 rebs. on Jan. 2 vs. Bethesda.
2 Jarriesse Blackmon F 6-7 220 Sr. Has a career-high 3 blocked shots four times this season and averages 1.2 bpg.
5 Jay Nagle F 6-8 205 Fr. Scored career-high 20 vs. Bethesda...Made career-high 6 3-ptrs all in last 5:24.
10 Maxwell Kupchak F 6-7 205 Sr. Had 7 pts, 6 rebs, 1 ast in a season-high 19 minutes on Jan. 2 vs. Bethesda.
14 Ami Lakoju F 6-9 260 Sr. Tied career-high with 16 pts vs. Bethesda on Jan. 2...2nd career double-double with 11 rebs.
21 Max Heidegger G 6-3 180 Jr. Sat out the last 2 games after playing in 3 straight.
23 Christian Terrell G 6-5 200 Jr. Had career-highs with 6 assists and 3 blocked shots on Jan. 2 vs. Bethesda.
34 Zack Moore G 6-5 210 Jr. Has played a total of 2 minutes in last 5 games...Has 4 DNPs in last 5 games.
35 Robinson Idehen F 6-10 230 So. Career-high 11 pts, perfect 5-for-5 FGs on Jan. 2 vs. Bethesda...Leads team in FG% at 72.5%.
40 Andrew Pickles F 6-7 225 Jr. Played in 2 of the last 3 games...Had 2 pts, 1 reb, 2 asts on Jan. 2 vs. Bethesda.

Newcomers Make Their Mark
To say that UCSB has leaned on newcomers quite a bit through its first 14 games would be a bit of an understatement. The top four Gaucho scorers (Not including Max Heidegger who has played in just three games) and seven of their top eight are newcomers. Their top two rebounders and seven of their top eight are also newcomers. In all, 878 of Santa Barbara's 1,089 points, 80.6%, have been scored by first-year Gauchos. The rebounding number is not quite as extreme with 393 of 520 individual rebounds, 75.6%, credited to newcomers. Finally of the 215 assists that UCSB has produced through 14 games, 174 have been by newcomers, 80.9%.  

Double Vision
In its Jan. 2 win over Bethesda, UCSB had six players score in double-figures for the first time in several seasons. Jay Nagle (20), Sékou Touré (18), Ami Lakoju (16), Amadou Sow (14), Robinson Idehen (11) and Ar'Mond Davis (10) each hit double-figures against the Flames. It marked the third time this season that the team had five or more players score 10 or more in the same games. The Gauchos turned the trick in their Dec. 22 win over Idaho State when Davis (19), Devearl Ramsey (18), Sow (10), Touré (10) and Jarriesse Blackmon (10) scored in double-digits. On Dec. 15 at Rice, it was JaQuori McLaughlin (22), Max Heidegger (22), Ramsey (21), Sow (12) and Davis (10) who each scored 10 or more points. In all, 10 different players have scored 10 or more in the three instances when five or more have done so in the same game. 

Like a Broken Record
UCSB's 62-point margin of victory in its 109-47 win over Bethesda was the largest in school history. It broke a long-standing record of 56 points set against Cal Lutheran way back on Nov. 13, 2018. The 68-23 rebound imbalance, a margin of +45, was also a school record. The victory and rebound margins were the only records the Gauchos broke, but they were close on several others. The 109 points equaled the fifth most in school history. The 65 points in the second half were the third most ever in a half and the second most ever in a second half. The 68 total rebounds were the second most ever, one short of the school record. The 33 three-point attempts were the fifth most ever and, finally, the 28 assists equaled the third most in school history.

Freshmen Make Their Mark
In its Jan. 2 blowout win over Bethesda, the three Gaucho freshmen made their presence felt. Jay Nagle scored a game-high and career-high 20 points, including 18 on six three-point baskets over the final 5:24. Nagle also added four rebounds, one assist and a steal. Sékou Touré recorded his first career double-double, going for career-highs of 18 points and 10 rebounds. He also added three assists, two steals and a blocked shot. Amadou Sow, the only starter among the three, had 14 points and six rebounds. The trio combined to score 52 points on 20-of-33 overall from the field and 7-of-16 from three-point range. The 52 points were a UCSB record for points in a game by freshmen. The group also combined for 20 rebounds.

Turning Over a New Leaf, and Not Much Else
In its first nine games this season, UCSB committed 10 or more turnovers eight times. In the last five games, the Gauchos have flipped the script, turning the ball over fewer than 10 times in each. On the season, they are averaging 11.4 turnovers per game, but in the last five, they have totaled just 41 turnovers, an average of 8.4 per game. While Santa Barbara has a 1.35-to-1.0 assist to turnover ratio through 14 games, it has 93 assists to go along with its 41 turnovers in the last five games, a 2.27-to-1.0 ratio.

Take Me to Your Leader(s)
Through the first 14 games of the 2018-19 season, UCSB has had six different players lead or tie for the team-lead in scoring and 10 lead or tie for the lead in rebounding. Ar'Mond Davis has led the team in scoring a team-high seven times while Amadou Sow has led three times and JaQuori McLaughlin twice. Sow has led the way in rebounding five times and while Davis and Jarriesse Blackmon have each led in rebounding three times. McLaughlin, Devearl Ramsey, Max Heidegger, Christian Terrell and Zack Moore have each led the team in assists with McLaughlin leading the way six times and Ramsey on five occasions.