Gauchos Play Final Non-Conference Road Games, Travel to Rice Saturday

Robinson Idehen (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Robinson Idehen (Photo by Tony Mastres)

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• Upcoming Games
Game No. 10
Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018 at 12:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Rice University Owls

at Rice's Tudor Fieldhouse - Houston, Texas
On-Line Audio:
On-Line Video: Watch ESPN

Game No. 11
Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks

at UNO's Baxter Arena - Omaha, Neb.
On-Line Audio:
On-Line Video:

Gauchos Travel to Rice, Nebraska-Omaha to Complete Non-Conference Road Slate
UC Santa Barbara will travel to Houston to play Rice University on Saturday, Dec. 15. The game against the Owls will be the Gauchos' penultimate non-conference road game of the season. On Wednesday, Dec. 19, they will continue their tour of some of the coldest locations in the U.S. when they play at Nebraska-Omaha before returning home for five consecutive games, including the start of Big West Conference play. The five-game homestand will include Idaho State (Dec. 22), San Francisco (Dec. 29), Bethesda (Jan. 2), Cal Poly (Jan. 9) and UC Riverside (Jan. 12). 

The Gaucho Record
UCSB enters Saturday's game at Rice with a 7-2 record. On Saturday, Dec. 8 the Gauchos defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 55-45. One game earlier, on Sunday, Dec. 2, they had their five-game winning streak ended at the University of Washington, 67-63. The five wins in the streak came against Sacramento State, Idaho, Portland State, Montana State and Cal Lutheran. In 2017-18, UCSB finished with 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 Gets Defensive in 55-45 Win Over Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Freshman Amadou Sow recorded his first career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds while tying his career-high with three blocked shots, and Devearl Ramsey added 10 points as UCSB overcame a slow start and defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Saturday, Dec. 8. Trailing 21-17 with 1:46 to play in the first half, the Gauchos went on an 18-2 run to claim a 35-23 lead with 13:59 to play in the game. Then, after the Golden Lions scored seven in a row to cut the gap to 35-28 at the 12:33 mark, Santa Barbara used a 10-0 surge to claim an insurmountable 47-28 lead with 9:05 left in the game. UAPB's Martayeous McKnight, who scored a game-high 22 points, made a three-pointer at the buzzer to narrow the final margin to 10 points. UCSB, which shot just 33.3% in the first half, shot a solid 60.0% in the second half to finish at 45.5% for the game. Meanwhile, the Gauchos held the Golden Lions to just 33.3% overall, 18-of-54. The 45 points were the second fewest scored by an opponent this season. Ar'Mond Davis added nine points and seven rebounds and JaQuori McLaughlin scored eight points and had five assists for Santa Barbara.

Heidegger is Day-to-Day
Junior guard Max Heidegger, a First Team All-Big West choice in 2017-18 when he averaged 19.1 points per game while setting a school record with 95 three-point baskets, has yet to play for UCSB this season and he remains day-to-day as he recovers from a concussion. In addition to All-Big West Conference, Heidegger earned NABC All-District and Lou Henson Mid-Major All-American honors as a sophomore. 

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 six games in 2018-19, the Gauchos are 7-2 giving them a 30-11 record (.732) in Pasternack's first 40 games. The last time the program had a better 41-game stretch was when it went 22-8 in 1987-88 and then opened the 1988-89 season with an 11-0 record, giving it a 33-8 record over a 41 game span. 

Gauchos Complete Big Sky Schedule With Idaho State
UCSB has an overall record of 7-2 and a Big Sky Conference mark of 4-0. Actually, the Gauchos are in the Big West, but they've already played four Big Sky teams (Montana State, Portland State, Idaho and Sacramento State), and they will play a fifth when they host Idaho State on Saturday, Dec. 22 at 2:00 p.m. in the Thunderdome.

UCSB's Possible Starters
1 Ar'Mond Davis - G - Had streak of 5 straight double-figure scoring game snapped when he had 9 vs. UAPB. 
2 Jarriesse Blackmon - F - Has made 50.0% or more of his field goals 7 times in 9 games.
3 JaQuori McLaughlin - G - Has 5 assists in 5 of the last 6 games...Has totaled 6 3-pointers in last 3 games.
4 Devearl Ramsey - G - Has scored in double-figures in back-to-back games for 2nd time this season.
12 Amadou Sow - F - First career double-double with 12 points, 11 rebounds on Dec. 8 vs. UAPB.

UCSB's Possible Reserves
0 Sékou Touré - G - Has totaled just 6 minutes in the last 2 games, going scoreless in both.
5 Jay Nagle - F - Tied career-highs with 9 points and 6 rebounds on Dec. 2 at Washington.
10 Maxwell Kupchak - F - Was DNP in last 3 games after playing in consecutive games vs. Portland St. and Idaho.
14 Ami Lakoju - F - Played just 3 minutes and missed his only shot on Dec. 8 vs. UAPB.
21 Max Heidegger - G - Is day-to-day with concussion symptoms and has yet to play this season.
23 Christian Terrell - G - Had 6 points in 16 minutes vs. UAPB, his highest scoring total in 6 games.
34 Zack Moore - G - Played a total of 16 minutes in the last 4 games and missed his only shot over that span.
35 Robinson Idehen - F - Had 4 points, 4 rebounds and a blocked shot in 13 minutes on Dec. 8 vs. UAPB.
40 Andrew Pickles - F - A DNP in the first 8 games...Has battled a sprained ankle.

The Gauchos and Owls
UCSB is 2-0 all-time against Rice University, winning 74-71 in Houston on Dec. 23, 1972 and 84-80 in Santa Barbara on Dec. 29, 1973. 

The Gauchos on the Road
The Gauchos are 1-2 in true road games this season. Most recently, they lost a tough 67-63 decision at Washington on Dec. 2. They opened the regular season by splitting a pair games at Wyoming (a 76-66 win on Nov. 6) and North Dakota State (an 82-63 loss on Nov. 11). They are also 2-0 in neutral court games and thus have a 3-2 overall record away from home. In 2017-18, UCSB was a respectable 9-6 in true road games, including 9-4 to close the season. The Gauchos also went 2-1 in neutral site games to make their overall record away from home 11-7.

In Defense of the Gauchos
The 2018-19 Gauchos are off to one of the program's best starts at 7-2 and a big part of the reason is defense. In 2017-18, UCSB made its mark on the offensive side of the ledger, but this seasonhas been a different story. When it allowed a mere 45 points to Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Saturday, Dec. 8, it marked the eighth time in nine games that an opponent was held below 70 points, the fourth time with fewer than 60 and the second time below 50 points. Overall, opponents are averaging 60.3 points per game against the Gauchos, the 19th lowest mark in the nation.

Playing the Percentages
It's no accident that UCSB opponents are averaging just 60.3 points per game. It's because they're missing a lot of shots. Opponents have made just 180-of-493 field goal attempts against the Gauchos this season, 36.5%, the eighth lowest mark among 351 NCAA Division I programs. Additionally, the nine opponents have made just 50 out of 204 three-point attempts this season, 24.5%, the third best figure nationally. Santa Barbara has yet to allow an opponent to shoot better than 49.1% in a game this season. Eight of nine opponents have shot 44.4% or lower, five have been below 40% and three have been under 35%. From three-point range, opponents have made fewer than 30% of their shots six times and fewer than 25% of their five times. Just one opponent has shot better than 40%, Arkansas-Pine Bluff made 43.8% of its three-point attempts on Dec. 8.

On the Rebound 
UCSB has outrebounded its last four opponents and eight of nine on the season. The only game in which it was outrebounded was 41-39 on Nov. 23 vs. Portland State. Through nine games, the Gauchos have a rebound margin of +9.2, a figure that ranks 16th in the nation and first in the Big West Conference. They have had rebound advantages of +24 (Cal Lutheran), +17 (Idaho and Sacramento State) and +11 (Wyoming). Finally, three different UCSB players are a averaging 5.0 or more rebounds per game, led by freshman Amadou Sow who is averaging 6.4 per game. In all, six different players are averaging at least 3.0 rebounds per game. 

Double-Double Trio
When freshman Amadou Sow posted a 12-point, 11-rebound game on Dec. 8 vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff, it was his first double-double of his career and he became the third UCSB player to record a double-double this season. On Nov. 24, in a win over Idaho, senior Jarriesse Blackmon had his first career double-double and became the first Gaucho to have a double-double this season when he had career-highs of 12 points and 10 rebounds. On Dec. 2 at Washington, graduate transfer Ar'Mond Davis had 20 points and a career-high 10 rebounds for his first career double-double. 

Newcomers Make Their Mark
To say that UCSB has leaned on newcomers quite a bit through its first nine games would be a bit of an understatement. The top four Gaucho scorers and seven of their top eight are newcomers. Their top two rebounders and seven of their top eight are also newcomers. In all, exactly 543 of Santa Barbara's 650 points, 83.5%, have been scored by first-year players. The rebounding number is not quite as extreme with 251 of 329 individual rebounds, 76.3%, credited to newcomers. Finally of the 122 assists that UCSB has produced through nine games, 102 have been by newcomers, 83.6%.   

Point Guard Gets Double-Teamed
UCSB's point guard position has become a tandem thing. Sophomores Devearl Ramsey and JaQuori McLaughlin are sharing the ball handling duties and they are co-team leaders with 34 assists, 3.8 per game, a figure that ranks them tied for  eighth in the league. Ramsey had the team-lead for most of the early part of the season, but McLaughlin has had five assists in five of the last six games to pull even. They have combined for 68 assists, 7.6 per game.