UCSB Travels to Omaha Wednesday for Final Non-Conference Road

JaQuori McLaughlin (Photo by Tony Mastres)
JaQuori McLaughlin (Photo by Tony Mastres)

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• Upcoming Games
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: UCSBgauchos.com
On-Line Video: Omavs.com

Game No. 12
Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos Idaho State Bengals
at UCSB's Thunderdome - Santa Barbara, Calif. 
On-Line Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
On-Line Video: BigWest.tv

UCSB Completes Non-Conference Road Slate at Omaha, Returns for Five Straight at Home
UC Santa Barbara travels to Nebraska-Omaha on Wednesday, Dec. 19 and it will mark the team's final non-conference road game of the 2018-19 season. The game against the Mavericks will also mark the final stop on the Gauchos' tour of some of the colder spots west of the Mississippi. In November, they traveled to Laramie, Wyo., Fargo, N.D., and Boise, Id., and in December they made stops in Seattle and Houston (which was actually beautiful) before closing things out in Omaha. UCSB will host Idaho State on Dec. 22 to start a stretch of five consecutive games at home. On Dec. 29 San Francisco will come to town, followed by Bethesda (Jan. 2), Cal Poly (Jan. 9) and UC Riverside (Jan. 12). 

The Gaucho Record
UCSB enters Wednesday's game at Omaha with an 8-2 record. On Saturday, Dec. 15 the Gauchos won at Rice in overtime, 99-89. They have now won seven of their last eight games. One game earlier, on Saturday, Dec. 8, they defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 55-45. Both losses this season have come on the road and the most recent defeat, 67-63 at Washington, ended a five-game winning streak. 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 Rides Final Momentum Switch to 99-89 OT Win at Rice
UCSB opened its Dec. 15 game at Rice by making four consecutive three-point baskets and taking a 12-0 lead. However, the Owls went on a 31-7 run of their own to take a 31-19 lead before the Gauchos closed the gap to 39-32 at halftime. Santa Barbara scored 13 of the first 15 points of the second half, the final six on back-to-back three-point baskets my Max Heidegger, to take a 45-41 edge. The Gauchos stretched the lead to 60-51 before Rice fought back and, ultimately, tied the score at 77 apiece on a pair of free throws by Chris Mullins with 32 seconds to play, sending the game into overtime. UCSB dominated the overtime period, outscoring the Owls 22-12 while making 5-of-6 field attempts, including 2-for-3 from three-point range, and all 10 of its free throws. Making his season debut after missing nine games with a concussion, Heidegger tied for team-high honors with 22 points. Sophomore JaQuori McLaughlin made a career-high six three-point baskets, finishing with 22 points, six rebounds and four assists. Devearl Ramsey drained a career-high five threes and added 21 points, while Amadou Sow made all six of his field goal attempts and had 12 points. As a team, UCSB made 52.5% of its field goal attempts and 23-of-24 free throws, 95.8%. 

Heidegger's Return is a Success
Junior guard Max Heidegger, a First Team All-Big West Conference choice in 2017-18 when he averaged 19.1 points per game while setting a school record with 95 three-point baskets, made his season debut on Dec. 15 at Rice after missing the season's first nine games win a concussion. By most measures, Heidegger's debut was a success. In 29 minutes of activity, he made 6-of-16 field goal attempts, including 2-of-10 from three-point range, and 8-of-9 free throws, to tie for team-high 22 points. He also had a pair of rebounds, one assist and a steal. Heidegger, who was a Lou Henson Mid-Major All-American and a National Association of Basketball Coaches All-District selection in 2018, was named to the Big West Conference's 2018-19 Preseason All-Conference Team. In his season debut in Houston, he came off the bench for the first time since his freshman campaign. 

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 8-2 giving them a 31-11 record (.738) in Pasternack's first 42 games. The last time the program had a better 42-game stretch was when it went 22-8 in 1987-88 and then opened the 1988-89 season with an 11-1 record, giving it a 33-9 record over a 42 game span. 

UCSB's Possible Starters
1 Ar'Mond Davis - G - Recorded 5+ rebounds in 7 straight games and 6+in the last 6 straight. 
2 Jarriesse Blackmon - F - Made career-high 4-for-4 from FT line and had career-high 4 steals on Dec. 15 at Rice.
3 JaQuori McLaughlin - G - Had career-highs with 6 3-pointers and 6 rebs. at Rice...22 points was his UCSB high.
4 Devearl Ramsey - G - Posted career-highs with 5 3-pointers and 21 points at Rice...Double-figures in 3 straight.
12 Amadou Sow - F - 6-for-6 FGs at Rice and has now made 30 of his last 50, 60.0%...10+ pts. in 6 of 8 games.

UCSB's Possible Reserves
0 Sékou Touré - G - Made only FG att. and blocked his first shot on Dec. 15 at Rice...Made 8 of last 9 FGAs.
5 Jay Nagle - F - Has played 17+ minutes in 4 straight games...Had 1st career blocked shot Dec. 2 at Rice.
10 Maxwell Kupchak - F - Was DNP in last 4 games after playing in consecutive games vs. Portland St. and Idaho.
14 Ami Lakoju - F - Scored 1 points in 20 minutes over the last 4 games...Career-high 16 Nov. 13 vs. Cal Lu.
21 Max Heidegger - G - Season debut on Dec. 15 at Rice: 22 points, 6-16 FGs, 2-10 3-pt FGs, 8-9 FTs, 2 Rebs.
23 Christian Terrell - G - Missed only shot and was scoreless in 4 minutes at Rice, his shortest healthy stint of year.
34 Zack Moore - G - Was a DNP on Dec. 15 at Rice...Payed a total of 16 minutes in 4 games prior.
35 Robinson Idehen - F - Played career-high 18 minutes on Dec. 15 at Rice...Leads team in FG% at 70.0%.
40 Andrew Pickles - F - A DNP in the first 9 games...Has battled a sprained ankle.

The Gauchos and Omaha
The Gauchos and Nebraska-Omaha have played three consecutive seasons with Santa Barbara holding a 2-1 edge. Last season, UCSB defeated the Mavericks 77-70 at the Thunderdome. The last time the teams played in Omaha was the season-opener in 2015-16 with the Gauchos posting a 60-59. The Gauchos are 3-2 all-time against Idaho State but the programs have not met since Dec. 19, 1977 when the Bengals posted a convincing 100-68 win in Pocatello. Nobody that played in that game remains active for either program. 

The Gauchos on the Road
The Gauchos are 2-2 in true road games this season. Most recently, they defeated Rice University in Houston on Dec. 15, 99-89 in overtime. Prior to that, 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 4-2 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.

Complete Backcourt Has Decent First Showing
Until Dec. 15 at Rice University, UCSB's backcourt was playing without junior Max Heidegger, one of its key members who missed the first nine games of the season with the aftermath of a concussion. His debut against the Owls fueled the best game of the season for the Gauchos' backcourt overall. Heidegger (22 points, 2 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 assist), sophomore JaQuori McLaughlin (22 points, 6-of-8 3-pointers, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal), sophomore Devearl Ramsey (21 points, 5-of-7 3-pointers, 3 assists, 1 rebound) and graduate transfer Ar'Mond Davis (10 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals) were instrumental in the win. If you add freshman Sékou Touré and Christian Terrell to the mix, the Gauchos backcourt combined to score 77 points, collect 15 rebounds, pass off for 12 assists and have five steals. They went 22-of-44 from the field overall, 50.0%, 14-of-28 from three-point range, 50.0%, and 19-of-20 from the free throw line, 95.0%.     

• UCSB Has Near Historic Free Throw Game
The Gauchos have been a solid free throw shooting this season, but on Dec. 15 at Rice, they were so exceptional it was nearly historic. Against the Owls, UCSB made 23-of-24 free throw attempts, 95.8%. It was the fifth best performance in program history and the best when not missing an attempt. When attempting at least 12 free throws the Gauchos have been perfect four times. Previously, the next best effort was an 18-for-19 performance against Idaho in 2003. The last time they were perfect in a game was Nov. 11, 2010 when they went 12-for-12 at the University of Portland.

Three for the Show
In its win at Rice on Dec. 15, UCSB made 14-of-29 three-point attempts. In two games prior to the win over the Owls, the Gauchos combined to make 11 threes and in the preceding four games they totaled just 19. The 14 three-point baskets were three more than the team's previous season-high of 11 recorded against Montana State on Nov. 19. The 29 three-point attempts were also a season-high, seven more than the 22 attempted in that same game against the Bobcats. Finally, the 14 three-point baskets were the most by an UCSB team since it also made 14 on Dec. 30, 2015 at Seattle University. 

20-20-20 Vision/Double-Double Vision
In its win at Rice University, UCSB had three players score 20 or more points and five score in double-digits. JaQuori McLaughlin (22), Max Heidegger (22) and Devearl Ramsey (21) became the first trio to score 20 or more points in a game since Feb. 1, 2018 when Heidegger (25), Leland King (21) and Jalen Canty (21) achieved the feat in an overtime win against Hawai'i. The last time five Gauchos scored 10 or more point in the same game was Jan. 13, 2018 when Heidegger (22), Canty (16), King (11), Gabe Vincent (11) and Marcus Jackson (10) did it at Hawai'i on Jan. 13, 2018. 

Newcomers Make Their Mark
To say that UCSB has leaned on newcomers quite a bit through its first 10 games would be a bit of an understatement. The top four Gaucho scorers (Not including Max Heidegger who has played in just one game.) and seven of their top eight are newcomers. Their top two rebounders and seven of their top eight are also newcomers. In all, exactly 614 of Santa Barbara's 749 points, 82.0%, have been scored by first-year players. The rebounding number is not quite as extreme with 271 of 357 individual rebounds, 75.9%, credited to newcomers. Finally of the 139 assists that UCSB has produced through nine games, 116 have been by newcomers, 83.4%.