UCSB Puts 4-Game Streak on the Line, Tangles With UC Riverside Saturday

JaQuori McLaughlin (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
JaQuori McLaughlin (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

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Upcoming Games
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

Game No. 17
Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at UC Davis Aggies

at UCD's Pavilion - Davis, Calif. 
On-Line Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
On-Line Video: BigWest.tv

Gauchos Defeat Cal Poly in Big West Opener
On Thursday night, UC Santa Barbara treated a season-high crowd of 4,816 at the Thunderdome to a 65-56 win over Blue-Green rival Cal Poly in the Big West Conference opener for both teams. The Gauchos and Mustangs were tied at 46 with just under 10 minutes to play, but a 19-5 run over the next eight minutes made it a 65-51 game with 1:25 remaining at that was all she wrote. UCSB was led by sophomore guards Devearl Ramsey and JaQuori McLaughlin who finished with 19 and 16 points respectively. Ar'Mond Davis added 11 points and seven rebounds, while Robinson Idehen had six points and a career-high eight boards. Jarriesse Blackmon also collected seven rebounds. Cal Poly was limited to 37.7% shooting overall and 28.0% from three-point range and the Gauchos had a 45-35 rebound advantage. 

The Gaucho Record
UCSB enters its game against UC Riverside on Saturday with an overall record of 12-3 and a Big West Conference mark of 1-0. The Gauchos have won four consecutive games and six of of their last seven. On Thursday they opened league play with a 65-56 win over visiting Cal Poly. Prior to their win over the Mustangs, they had a pari of wins that 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. 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. 

Jan. 31 Game vs. UC Irvine Moved to 8:00 p.m. for ESPNU
The Gauchos Jan. 31 showdown against UC Irvine has been moved from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. to accommodate ESPNU, which will carry the game live. At least through the non-conference portion of the schedule, UCSB and UCI have proven to be the top two teams in the Big West.

UCSB is Off to Its Best Start Since...
UCSB is off to its best 15 game start since the 1988-89 campaign when it opened the year with a 14-1 record. That Gaucho team set a school record for consecutive wins when it began the year at 11-0. They would get to 15-1 before settling for a 21-9 record.

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 15 games in 2018-19, the Gauchos are 12-3 giving them a 35-12 record (.744) in Pasternack's first 47 games. The last time the program had a better 47 game stretch was when it went 22-8 in 1987-88 and then opened the 1988-89 season with a 15-2 record, giving it a 37-10 record over a 47 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.

UCSB's Possible Starters
1 Ar'Mond Davis G 6-5 190 Gr. Leads the team at 14.0 ppg...Has 13 assists in last 4 games, 3.2 per game. 
2 Jarriesse Blackmon F 6-7 220 Sr. Tied career-high with 3 assists on Jan. 9 vs. Cal Poly...Has 3 BS in 4 games this season..
3 JaQuori McLaughlin G 6-4 190 So. Leads team with 26 3-point baskets and was 4-of-8 on Jan. 9 vs. Cal Poly.
4 Devearl Ramsey G 6-0 185 So. Scored in double-figures in 7 of last 8, including game-high 19 on Jan. 9 vs. Cal Poly.
12 Amadou Sow F 6-9 235 Fr. 10+ points in 5 of last 7...Made 32-of-53 FGs in last 7 games, 60.4%.

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.
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. Has played in 5 straight games for the first time this season.
14 Ami Lakoju F 6-9 260 Sr. Had 5 rebounds and 2 blocked shots in just 7 minutes on Jan. 2 vs. Cal Poly.
21 Max Heidegger G 6-3 180 Jr. Played 15 minutes off the bench on Jan. 9 vs. Cal Poly...Has played in 4 games this year.
23 Christian Terrell G 6-5 200 Jr. Recorded his second DNP of the season in game vs. Cal Poly.
34 Zack Moore G 6-5 210 Jr. Has played a total of 2 minutes in last 5 games...Has 5 DNPs in last 6 games.
35 Robinson Idehen F 6-10 230 So. Scored 6 points and added career-high 8 rebounds in 17 minutes vs. Cal Poly on Jan. 9.
40 Andrew Pickles F 6-7 225 Jr. Played in 2 of the last 4 games...Had 2 pts, 1 reb, 2 asts on Jan. 2 vs. Bethesda.

The Gauchos and Highlanders
UCSB and UC Riverside have played 43 times with the Gauchos holding a 34-9 edge, including a pair of wins last season. In fact, Santa Barbara has won three consecutive games over the Highlanders. 

The Gauchos at the Thunderdome
The Gauchos have started the 2018-19 season with an 8-0 record at the Thunderdome. They have posted wins over Cal Poly, USF, Idaho State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Sacramento State, Montana State, Bethesda and Cal Lutheran. UCSB is 20-2 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. 

The Magic Numbers
In its Jan. 9 win over Cal Poly, UCSB limited the Mustangs to 23-of-61 from the field, 37.7%. It was the third game in a row and the eighth time this season that a Gaucho opponent shot below 40% and the team is a perfect 8-0 in those contests. For the season, Santa Barbara is limiting its opposition to 39.0% shooting overall, second best in the Big West. In addition to the low field goal percentage, the Gauchos' 15 opponents have scored just 956 points, an average of 63.7 per game, tops in the league. Six opponents have scored fewer than 60 points and they are 6-0 in those games, and an additional five have scored fewer than 70, and they are 4-1 in those games.

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 a game this season and six have scored 20 or more. 

Gauchos Continue Rebound Roll
From a rebounding standpoint, UCSB opened Big West play much the same way it completed non-conference play, outrebounding Cal Poly, 45-35. It was the 12th in 15 games that the Gauchos have outrebounded their opponent and the eighth time they have done so by a double-figure margin. On the season, Santa Barbara holds a +9.8 rebound advantage over its opponents, the best mark in the Big West. The Gauchos have been outrebounded just three times and, ironically, they are 3-0 in those games. In a win over Portland State they were outrebounded by two and in a victory over San Francisco they were outrebounded by one, 42-41. Only Rice has been able to register a significant rebounding edge at 40-28.

Turning Over a New Leaf, and Not Much Else
In its first nine games this season, UCSB committed more than 10 turnovers eight times. In the last six games, the Gauchos have flipped the script, turning the ball over 10 or less times in each. On the season, they are averaging 11.3 turnovers per game, but in the last six, they have totaled just 51 turnovers, an average of 8.5 per game. While Santa Barbara has a 1.36-to-1.0 assist to turnover ratio through 15 games, it has 108 assists to go along with its 51 turnovers in the last six games, a 2.12-to-1.0 ratio.

Take Me to Your Leader(s)
Through the first 15 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 and Devearl Ramsey twice apiece. Sow has led the way in rebounding five times and while Davis and Jarriesse Blackmon have each led in rebounding three times. McLaughlin, Ramsey, Blackmon, Max Heidegger, Christian Terrell and Zack Moore have each led the team in assists with McLaughlin and Ramsey lelading the way on five occasions.

Newcomers Make Their Mark
To say that UCSB has leaned on newcomers quite a bit through its first 15 games would be a bit of an understatement. The top four Gaucho scorers and six of their top eight are newcomers. Their top two rebounders and seven of their top eight are also newcomers. In all, 937 of Santa Barbara's 1,154 points, 81.2%, have been scored by first-year Gauchos. The rebounding number is not quite as extreme with 418 of 559 individual rebounds, 74.8%, credited to newcomers. Finally of the 230 assists that UCSB has produced through 15 games, 184 have been by newcomers, 80.0%.