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Game No. 27
NCAA Tournament – First Round
Saturday, Mar. 20, 2021 at 12:30 p.m. (PDT)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Creighton University Bluejays
at Lucas Oil Stadium (Unity Court South) – Indianapolis, Ind.
Play-by-Play: Lisa Byington | Analyst: Steve Smith | Sideline: Lauren Shehadi
Online Video: NCAA.com | Online Audio: WestwoodOneSports.com | Live Stats: NCAA.com
UCSB Plays Creighton in NCAA First Round Game Saturday
After winning the Big West Conference regular season title and then defeating UC Irvine in the Big West Tournament Championship on Saturday night, UC Santa Barbara was rewarded with a No. 12 seed in the 2021 NCAA Tournament. The Gauchos, playing in the West Region, will take-on the Creighton University in a first round game on Saturday, Mar. 20. The winner of the game between the Gauchos and Bluejays will play the winner of a game between No. 4 Virginia and No. 13 Ohio University on Monday, Mar. 22. All games in the 2021 NCAA Tournament will be played in and around Indianapolis, Ind.
Gauchos Return to the NCAA Tournament for Sixth Time, First Time Since 2011
UCSB’s victory in the 2021 Big West Conference Tournament earned the program its sixth NCAA Division I Tournament berth and its first since 2011. It is the third automatic bid that the Gauchos have received, having also won the league tournament in 2011, 2010 and 2002. Santa Barbara received at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament in 1988 and 1990. UCSB also advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 1961, but at the time it competed at the College Division level.
The Gaucho Record
UCSB enters the NCAA Tournament with a 24-4 record. They completed the Big West Conference season with a 13-3 (.812) record and then swept through the Big West Conference Tournament with wins over Long Beach State (95-87), UC Davis (71-55) and defending champion UC Irvine (79-63).
McLaughlin Named MVP After Leading UCSB to Big West Tournament Crown
Senior guard JaQuori McLaughlin was named Big West Tournament Most Valuable Player after leading the Gauchos to their first Big West Tournament title since 2011 and their fourth overall. McLaughlin averaged 20.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.0 steals in the three tournament wins. He had 22 points, five rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals in the first round win over Long Beach State. In the second round, he scored 17, had three rebounds and four assists in the win over UC Davis. In the title game against two-time defending champion UC Irvine, McLaughlin scored 16 of his 22 points and made three of his four three-point baskets in the second half. He was joined on the Big West All-Tournament Team by junior forward Amadou Sow and sophomore guard Josh Pierre-Louis. Sow averaged 18.7 points and 9.0 rebounds, while shooting 58.1%. He had a season-high 23 in the second round win over UC Davis and his sixth double-double of the year with 13 points and 11 rebounds in the title game against UC Irvine. Pierre-Louis averaged 11.0 points per game, but scored a career-high 24 in the first round against Long Beach State when he hit 9-of-10 shots from the field.
Pasternack Has Most Wins by UCSB Coach in First Four Seasons, Overall Four-Year Mark
In his first four seasons as head coach at UCSB, Joe Pasternack’s teams have gone 87-33. The 87 wins are the most ever by a coach in his first four years at the school. The previous record of 62 wins was set by Bob Williams from 1998-2002. In fact, the 87 wins over the last four seasons are the most by a Gaucho head coach over a four-year span at any point during their career. Jerry Pimm’s teams went 16-13 in 1986-87, 22-8 in 1987-88 and 21-9 in both 1988-89 and 1989-90 for a record of 80-39.
UCSB’s Possible Starters
3 – JaQuori McLaughlin – G 6-4 190 Sr. – Named Big West Tournament MVP…Averaged 20.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.3 apg in the 3 games…Shot 52.8% from the field.
4 – Devearl Ramsey – G 6-0 185 Sr. – Has made 28 of his last 29 free throws, 96.6%…Had 3 steals in the championship game vs. UC Irvine.
5 – Miles Norris – F 6-10 220 Jr. – Scored 19 points and had 3 3-pt. FGs in Big West championship game vs. UC Irvine, his 2nd highest point total.
11 – Brandon Cyrus – G 6-5 190 Gr. – Attempted just 62 FGs in 397:02 of action, 1.0 every 6.5 minutes…1 of 2 players to start all 26 games.
12 – Amadou Sow – F 6-9 235 Jr. – Named to Big West All-Tourney Team…Averaged 18.7 ppg, 9.0 rpg, while making 58.1% of FGs and 91.0% of FTs.
UCSB’s Top Possible Reserves
0 – Sekou Toure – G 6-5 185 Jr. – Played 4:00 in the first 2 Big West Tourney games and was scoreless…Was a DNP in the final vs. UC Irvine.
1 – Jay Nagle – F 6-8 205 Jr. – Did not play in the Big West Tournament after playing in 5 straight game prior to the tournament.
2 – Josh Pierre-Louis – G 6-4 185 So. – Named to Big West All-Tournament Team…Scored career-high 24 in 1st round vs. Long Beach State.
13 – Ajare Sanni G 6-3 170 So. – Big West Sixth Player of the Year scored 27 in first 2 games at the league tournament, 13.5 per game.
14 – Jakov Kukic – F 6-10 230 Fr. – DNP in all 3 games at the Big West Tournament after playing in 3 straight games entering it.
23 – Destin Barnes – F 6-7 215 Gr. – Played 34:02 in 3 Big West Tournament games, including season-high 20:28 in the first round vs. Long Beach.
24 – Robinson Idehen – F 6-10 230 Sr. – Scored 8 points in league title game vs. UC Irvine…Shooting 72.1%…172-of-248 FGs in his career, 69.4%, a record.
UCSB in the NCAA Tournament
UCSB is making its sixth appearance in the NCAA Tournament and its first since 2011. The Gauchos advanced to the tournament as an at-large team in 1988 and 1990, and as an automatic qualifier in 2002, 2010, 2011 and 2021.
UCSB vs. Creighton
UCSB and Creighton have played twice in their respective histories. On Feb. 9, 1975, the Gauchos defeated the Bluejays 72-61 in Omaha. The following season, on Jan. 2, 1976, the Bluejays returned the favor with an 83-81 win in Santa Barbara.
The Gauchos Away From Home
While UCSB was a perfect 11-0 in home games in 2020-21, it wasn’t too shabby away from home either. The Gauchos went 8-4 in true road games and a perfect 3-0 in neutral site games for an 11-4 record away from Santa Barbara. Since Joe Pasternack became UCSB’s coach, the team has gone 33-23 in true road games, 8-2 in neutral court games and 41-25 overall.
A Little More Postseason History
UCSB will be making its sixth appearance in the Big Dance, but the Gauchos have gone to several Little Dances as well. Santa Barbara played in the National Invitation Tournament in 2008, 2003, 1993, 1992, and 1989. The Gauchos played in the College Insider Tournament in 2012, the College Basketball Invitational in 2015 and the ill-fated Vegas 16, which turned out to actually be just eight teams, in 2016. In 1960, UCSB went to the third round of the NCAA College Division Tournament, and in 1941, the Gauchos won three games at the NAIA Tournament in Kansas City.
Gaucos Win 20+ Games for Fourth Straight Year
UCSB’s 95-87 win over Long Beach State in the first round of the Big West Tournament was its 20th win of the season and, for the first time in school history, the program has won 20 or more games in four consecutive seasons. The previous record of three in a row was set from 1987-88 through 1989-90.
UCSB Sets Mark for Top Winning Percentage Too
At 21-4, the Gauchos have a winning percentage of .840 and they have guaranteed themselves a school record for the highest winning percentage in school history, regardless of what happens the rest of the season. The previous school record for winning percentage was set in 1970-71 when the Gauchos went 20-6, .769.
Following a pair of back-to-back losses at UC Irvine to open conference play, UCSB went on a 13-game winning streak, breaking the previous school record of 11 in a row set when the 1988-89 team began the year with an 11-0 record. The Gauchos streak spanned all of January (8-0) and the first five games of February before UC Riverside broke the spell on Feb. 27. Santa Barbara bounced back with a pair of season-ending wins over Cal Poly and three of wins in the Big West Tournament giving it 18 wins in 19 games, the best 19-game stretch in school history. The 1988-89 team opened the season at 16-3. In addition to the overall consecutive game winning streak, this year’s UCSB team set school records for consecutive conference wins (11), consecutive wins in true road games (seven) and, dating back to last season, consecutive home wins (17).
McLaughlin, Pasternack Top Gaucho Big West Honorees
Senior guard JaQuori McLaughlin was named Big West Player of the Year and Joe Pasternack was selected Big West Coach of the Year, the league announced on Monday. McLaughlin was joined by junior forward Amadou Sow on the All-Big West First Team. Additionally, senior guard Devearl Ramsey and junior forward Miles Norris were Honorable Mention All-Big West, and Ajare Sanni was selected the league’s Sixth Player of the Year. McLaughlin is the seventh Gaucho to earn Player of the Year, joining Brian Shaw (1988), Lucius Davis (1992), Branduinn Fullove (2003), Alex Harris (2008), Orlando Johnson (2010) and Alan Williams (2014). Pasternack’s Coach of the Year award marked the fifth by a UCSB coach. Bob Williams (three) and Jerry Pimm (one) had the previous four. This marks just the third time in program history that two UCSB players have been named First Team All-Big West and the second time in the Pasternack era.
McLaughlin Named to AP All-American, All-District Teams
In addition to being honored as Big West Player of the Year, First Team All-Big West and Big West Tournament Most Valuable Player, JaQuori McLaughlin has also been named Honorable Mention All-American by the Associated Press and Second Team NABC All-District 9. He is the first UCSB player to earn All-American since Alan Williams in 2013-14 and the first to earn All-District 9 since Max Heidegger earned the honor in 2017-18, Joe Pasternack’s first season as head coach.
Pasternack Named Hugh Durham Award Finalist
Head Coach Joe Pasternack has been named a finalist for the Hugh Durham National Coach of the Year Award. The award is presented annually to the top Division 1 mid-major coach in college basketball. It is named for Hugh Durham who was a successful coach at Jacksonville University, Florida State and the University of Georgia. Pasternack is the first UCSB coach to be named a finalist for the award.
Sow on Lou Henson Award Mid-Season Watch List for Second Straight Season
Junior forward Amadou Sow was included on the Lou Henson Award Mid-Season Watch List for the second consecutive season. Sow is averaging 13.7 points and 7.6 rebounds per game while shooting 57.1% overall and 82.2% from the free throw line. He was named to the All-Big West Tournament after averaging 18.7 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. He has six double-doubles on the season, including a 13-point, 11 rebound effort in the Big West Championship game victory over UC Irvine.
McLaughlin Milestones Updates
In a win over Cal State Bakersfield on Feb. 19, JaQuori McLaughlin became the 31st player in school history to score 1,000 or more points. He enters the NCAA Tournament with 1,133 points, the 26th most in school history and needing just two point to move into 25th. In addition, McLaughlin enters the NCAA Tournament with 356 assists during his three years in Santa Barbara, the 10th most in school history. He needs just two assists to move into eighth on the all-time list. Also, McLaughlin is one of three players in school history with 1,000+ points and 300+ assists, joining Carrick DeHart (1986-90) and Conner Henry (1982-86). Finally, factoring in McLaughlin’s one season at Oregon State, his overall career numbers are 1,447 points and 456 assists.
Sow Milestone Updates
On Feb. 13 at Hawai’i, Amadou Sow became the 30th player in school history to eclipse the 1,000 point mark. He enters the NCAA Tournament with 1,170 career points, 23rd all-time. He needs 15 points to move into 22nd-place. In addition, Sow has 619 career rebounds. A junior, he is the 12th player in Gaucho history to record 1,000+ points and 600+ rebounds and he needs 16 boards to move into the school’s all-time top-10 for rebounds.
A Peaceful Transfer of Points, Rebounds, Assists, etc.
The 2020-21 UCSB roster includes seven regulars who started their college careers at other NCAA Division I schools. Those players are JaQuori McLaughlin (Oregon State), Miles Norris (Oregon as a freshman before playing his second season at City College of San Francisco), Josh Pierre-Louis (Temple), Ajare Sanni (Pacific), Devearl Ramsey (Nevada), Destin Barnes (Boston University and Jacksonville) and Brandon Cyrus (DePaul). Through 26 games, they have contributed quite a bit in all statistical facets. The group has scored 1,415 of the team’s 1,989 points (71.1%), 484 of 838 individual rebounds (57.8%), 379 of 423 assists (89.6%), 39 of 72 blocked shots (54.2%) and 166 of 197 steals (84.3%).
Regular Season Title is UCSB’s Fifth
The 2021 Big West Conference regular season championship was the program’s fifth all-time. The Gauchos also won regular season titles in 1999, 2003, 2008 and 2010. The 1999 title was actually a Western Division championship, but it was considered a co-regular championship.
Before March Madness, There Was March Gladness
UCSB had its 13-game winning streak ended at UC Riverside on Feb. 27, but this not being a leap year, that meant that the calendar changed to March two days later. And before the opportunity to experience March Madness, the Gauchos had to have some March Gladness, and that’s just what they did, going 5-0 in the third month of the year to close out the regular and conference tournament season.
Gauchos are Perfect at Home for First Time…EVER!
With its wins over Cal Poly over the last regular season weekend of the year, UCSB improved to 11-0 at the Thunderdome, marking the first time in program history that the team has been perfect at home for a full season. Previously, the highest home winning percentage in a single season by the Gauchos was .857 when they went 12-2 on three different occasions. The most home wins in a single season are 13, a mark set in 2019-20 when the team was 13-3 at the Thunderdome.
UCSB’s scoring margin of +13.7 is the best in the Big West Conference and the 11th best mark nationally. The Gauchos have recorded double-digit margins in 15 of their 22 wins this season, including seven times during their school record 13-game winning streak and 11 times during the run of 18 wins in 19 games. The team’s average margin of victory during the streak was +17.1. This season, Santa Barbara has also set school records for margin of victory in any game (+71 on Dec. 3 vs. Bethesda) and in a Big West Conference game (+47 on Jan. 22 at CSUN). Finally, if it holds, the +13.7 per game scoring margin would also be a new school record. The old mark of +12.5 points per game was set during the 1954-55 season when the team posted a 17-7 record. By contrast, of UCSB’s four losses, two came by double-figures, one each on the road at UC Irvine and at UC Riverside.
Not Bad at Close Calls Either
While the Gauchos have proven to be really good at winning games by double-figure margins, going 15-2 in those 17 games, they have also been solid in winning close games too. They have gone 7-2 in games decided by fewer than 10 points and 4-2 in games decided by five points or less. The only two single-digit defeats that UCSB has suffered this season came on the road at Loyola Marymount (81-76 on Dec. 12) and at UC Irvine (73-69 on Dec. 28). Finally, the Gauchos have been absolutely perfect in overtime games, winning 89-86 on Jan. 30 at UC Davis and one week later on Feb. 13 at Hawai’i, 81-74.
Through 26 games in 2020-21, UCSB has eight wire-to-wire wins. The eight victories in which the Gauchos never trailed, came in the in the second round of the Big West Tournament against UC Davis (Mar. 12), vs. Cal State Bakersfield Feb. 20), at UC Davis (Jan. 29), at CSUN (Jan. 22), at Pepperdine, vs. Loyola Marymount, vs. Bethesda and vs. Saint Katherine. In five of the other wins, they allowed the first basket and never trailed again. Those games were vs. Cal State Fullerton (Jan. 1), vs. UC San Diego (Jan. 16), at Hawai’i (Feb. 12), vs. Cal State Bakersfield (Feb. 19) and vs. Long Beach State in the Big West Tournament (Mar. 11). The Feb. 27 loss at UC Riverside was the team’s only wire-to-wire loss of the year.
No Rebounds, No Rings
In 1985, after his Lakers were crushed on the boards by the Boston Celtics in the first game of the NBA Championship series, head coach Pat Riley coined the phrase ‘no rebounds, no rings.’ At least, as a Lakers fan, that’s how I remember the scenario. That would seem to be the case with this year’s UCSB team as well. The Gauchos are a perfect 19-0 when they outrebound their opponents and a very pedestrian 3-4 when they are outrebounded by their opponent. The three times the team has won despite being outrebounded this season came vs. Loyola Marymount (46-27 on Dec. 7), vs. Cal State Fullerton (33-32 on Jan. 2) and in overtime at UC Davis (36-31 on Jan. 30). UCSB outrebounded all three opponents at the Big West Tournament, including a 34-30 margin over the league’s top rebounding team, UC Irvine, in the championship game.
20/20 Perfection: A UCSB First
The Gauchos did something in their 63-44 win over Cal State Bakersfield on Feb. 20 that they had never done before. In the win over the Roadrunners, UCSB had assists on all 20 of its made field goals. It was the first time in recorded school history that the program had 20+ field goals in a game with assists on every one of them.
Starters From the Start
UCSB has just two players who have started all 26 games during the 2020-21 season. Senior guards Devearl Ramsey and Brandon Cyrus have played in and started every game this year. Another senior guard, JaQuori McLaughlin, has played in and started the last 25 games after missing the season opener against St. Katherine. Miles Norris has played in all 26 games, 14 as a starter, while Amadou Sow has played in 25, making 24 starts. The only other Gauchos to start games this season were Robinson Idehen (3), Ajare Sanni (1) and Destin Barnes (1).
Men of Steal
UCSB is averaging 7.6 steals per game, but because it has played fewer games, the total of 197 is not ranked among the top-10 single season marks in school history. The 7.6 average, however, is the third highest average ever. In 2007-08, the Gauchos averaged an all-time record 8.6 steals per game and in 1998-99, they averaged 8.4 per game.
UCSB has had three different players record a double-double this season. Here is the list of Gauchos who have posted statistical double-doubles through the first 26 games this season.
Gaucho Double-Digit Scorers
UCSB has had nine different players score 10 points in a game this season.
UCSB 20-Point Scorers
While UCSB has had nine different players score in double-figures during the season, only six have scored 20 or more in a game. The Gauchos also had six different players score 20 or more in a game last season, but before that, you have to go back to 1987-88 for the previous time. Here is the list and the number of times they tallied 20 or more.
Player – Games Over 20 (Highest Game)
JaQuori McLaughlin – 8 (25 on 1/23 at CSUN*)
Amadou Sow – 5 (23 on 3/13 vs. UC Davis)
Miles Norris – 1 (27 vs. CSU Bakersfield on 2/20*)
Ajare Sanni – 1 (22 on 1/30 at UC Davis)
Josh Pierre-Louis – 1 (24 on 3/11 vs. LBSU*)
Robinson Idehen – 1 (21 on 12/3 vs. Bethesda*)
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