No. 2 Gauchos Play No. 3 Cal State Fullerton in Big West Tourney Semifinal Showdown Friday

JaQuori McLaughlin (Photo by Matt Brown)
JaQuori McLaughlin (Photo by Matt Brown)

• 2019 Big West Tournament Semifinal
Friday, Mar. 15, 9:00 p.m.
No. 2 UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. No. 3 Cal State Fullerton
at Honda Center - Anaheim, Calif. 
TV: ESPNU
Online: ESPN3/Watch ESPN
Live Stats

The Gaucho Record
On the strength of its 71-68 win over CSUN in the first round of the Big West Tournament, UCSB has an overall record of 22-9. The Gauchos finished the Big West regular season with a 10-6 mark in league play, tying for second-place with their tournament semifinal opponent, Cal State Fullerton. 

UCSB Heats Up at the Right Time
When the Gauchos lost at UC Irvine on Feb. 16, they were riding the first three-game losing streak of Joe Pasternack's UCSB career. However, since that loss to the Anteaters, Santa Barbara has won five out of six games, including the last three in a row. The three-game winning streak is the longest since the team opened Big West Conference play at 3-0 and the five wins over the last six includes a pair of victories over CSUN and one apiecer over Cal Sttate Fullerton, Hawai'i and Cal Poly. The lone loss came to Long Beach State.

The Gauchos in the Big West Semifinals
UCSB will be making its 18th appearance in the Big West Conference Tournament semifinals. Last year, after a one year absence from the tournament, the Gauchos fell in the semifinal round to UC Irvine, 61-58. Santa Barbara has won its semifinal game four times. UCSB defated UCI in 2002, UC Davis in 2010, CSUN in 2011 and Cal Poly in 2012, advancing to the league title game each time. The Gauchos won the league title in 2002, 2010 and 2011. They lost in the 2012 final to Long Beach State.

Gauchos Approach Victory Record, Set Two-Year Mark
With 22 wins, UCSB is one away from equaling its record for victories in a season of 23. The Gauchos first set the 23-win mark in 2007-08 and then equaled it last year when Joe Pasternack's first squad went 23-9. The current total of 22 wins equals the third most in school history. In addition, the 45 wins that UCSB has piled up over the last two seasons are the most in program history over a two-year span.

UCSB Records 20+ Wins in Back-to-Back Seasons for First Time Since...
As mentioned above, UCSB has won 23 and 22 games in each of the last two seasons respectively. In doing so, the program has recorded consecutive 20+ victory campaigns for the first time since the 1988-89 and 1989-90 seasons. The Gauchos also won 22 games in 1987-88, so that team actually had three straight 20+ win seasons. Two of those teams, 1988 and 1990, earned at-large bids into the NCAA Tournament and the 1990 team defeated Houston in the first round.

The Gauchos and Titans
UCSB and Cal State Fullerton have played 88 times in a series that began in 1976. The Gauchos hold an all-time edge of 48-40 over the Titans and have won three of the last four games. The teams split a pair of regular season contests this season with each winning on its home floor. They have also met twice in the Big West Tournament with each team winning once, Fullerton in 2005 and Santa Barbara in 2009.

UCSB Finds its Range from Outside
The Gauchos made 7-of-14 three-point attempts, 50.0%, in their win over CSUN in the Big West Tournament quarterfinal. It marked just the second time this sesaon that they have made 50% from three-point range. On Nov. 17, in an 88-69 win over Montana State, UCSB hit 11-of-22 three-point attempts, also 50.0%. In fact, the Gauchos shot over 40% from beyond the arc just three times in Big West Conference play and they won all three games, vs. Cal State Fullerton in Santa Barbara and on the road at Hawai'i and UC Davis.

Pasternack Nears Win No. 100
Thursday's win over CSUN was the 99th of Joe Pasternack's coaching career. The second-year coach has a 45-18 record at UCSB and a 99-78 overall coaching record. The native of Louisiana spent four seasons as the head coach at the University of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Sow Adds to Freshman Scoring Mark, Moves to No. 2 in Rebounds
Amadou Sow had 16 points and 11 rebounds in UCSB's Big West Tournament quarterfinal win over CSUN. Sow has now scored 377 points, a Gaucho freshman record. In addition, his 11 rebounds allowed him to pass Alan Williams (currently of the Brooklyn Nets) to move into second on that freshman list. Against the Matadors, he became the second player in school history to collect 200 or more rebounds as a freshman. Sow will enter the Big West semifinal against Cal State Fullerton with 205 boards and in need of 14 to become the all-time leader. Against CSUN, he also became the all-time leader in field goals (146) and free throw attempts (119).

Heidegger Adds to Point Total
Juniior guard Max Heidegger did not have his best offensive game on Thursday against CSUN in the quarterfinals of the Big West Tournament as he scored seven points and made just 1-of-9 field goal attempts. He did, however, make a big three-point basket in the secod half and he assisted on a big three-pointer by Ar'mond Davis in the final minutes. The seven points also gave Heidegger 1,045 in his UCSB career. On Mar. 9 at Cal Poly, he became the 29th player in school history to hit the 1,000 point mark and he now ranks 27th on the list and needs just six to move past Doug Muse and into the No. 26 spot.

 

Gaucho Notes
• UCSB shot 81.8% from the free throw line in Thursday's win over CSUN. It marked the 10th straight game in which the Gauchos have made 70% or better from the line, the longest streak in school history. Over the last 10 games, Santa Barbara has gone 183 out of 242 from the free throw line, 75.6%, to improve to a season-best 71.8% as a team. Prior to the current 10-game streak, UCSB shot below 70% in three straight games and seven out of nine. • For the first time in school history, UCSB has five players averaging in double-figures. Ar'mond Davis (13.3 ppg), Amadou Sow (12.2 ppg), Max Heidegger (11.8 ppg), Devearl Ramsey (10.6 ppg) and JaQuori McLaughlin (10.3 ppg) comprise the double-figure quintet. • When Sow went 8-for-10 from the free throw line on Thursday vs. CSUN, it bumped his free throw percentage to 70.6% for the season, the highest it's been all year. It meant that all five of the team's double-figure scorers are over 70.0%. In addition to Sow, Davis (77.8%), Heidegger (86.4%) Ramsey (78.7%) and McLaughlin (76.8%) are over 70.0%. • There have been two definitive barometers for Gaucho success in 2018-19. When they have a higher field goal percentage than their opponent, they have a perfect 19-0 record. Also, when UCSB leads at halftime, it has a perfect 16-0 mark. • Another pretty solid indicator for success has been, to the shock of exactly nobody, rebounds. When the Gauchos have more rebounds than the oppoeition, they have gone 17-4. • 2018-19 marked just the second time in school history that UCSB did not play a non-conference road game in California. Instead, the Gauchos opted to venture to places such as Fargo, N.D., Laramie, Wyo., Omaha, Neb., Boise, Id., Seattle, Wash., and Houston, Texas.