UCSB men’s basketball will take an eight-game winning streak to Hawaii tonight, but coach Joe Pasternack thinks his Gauchos will be playing an even hotter Big West Conference opponent tonight at 9 o’clock PST.
The Rainbow Warriors (7-5, 5-5 Big West) have won four of their last five games, which includes a split with a UC Irvine team that shares first place with UCSB (12-3, 6-2).
“I really think Hawaii is playing the best basketball in the conference,” Pasternack said. “They beat the best team in our conference, UC Irvine, and (also) only lost to them by a point.
“I think Hawaii has played the toughest schedule, having gone to Riverside and having already played Bakersfield. I think they’re playing the best in the conference.”
The Rainbow Warriors have several of the league’s most deadly three-point shooters with Casdine Jardine (55.6%, 1.67 threes per game) and Justin Webster (51.4%, 2.1 threes). Webster leads Hawaii with a 13.8-point average while James Jean-Marie is scoring 12.5 points with a field-goal percentage of 58.8%, second-best in the conference.
The Gauchos (12-3, 6-2) are led by senior guard JaQuori McLaughlin, who ranks third in the Big West in scoring (16.6 points per game), first in assists (5.2), sixth in field-goal percentage (52%), third in free-throw percentage (89.8%), and fifth in steals (1.7).
McLaughlin also ranks 17th nationally with his assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.32, but senior teammate Devearl is even higher at No. 1 (5.27). As a team, UCSB’s ratio of 1.69 is fourth in the nation while its assist average of 18.0 ranks ninth.
The Gauchos also rank 12th in team field-goal percentage (50.3%) and 26th in scoring (80.3 points), both of which lead the Big West.
But they also haven’t played since Jan. 30, having last week’s games because of COVID-19 protocol within Long Beach State’s program.
“We’ve played well, but having a week off is a tough thing,” Pasternack said. “I know Hawaii went through a lot of that, of not playing games and just practicing.”
The two teams will also play in Honolulu on Saturday at 9 p.m. PST. The two games will extend UCSB’s road trip to six games. The Gauchos, who are 7-0 at the Thunderdome this year, will have been on the road for 33 days when they finally play host to Cal State Bakersfield next week.
UCSB’s women’s team (2-11, 2-7) will play host to Hawaii (4-5, 3-4), with 5 p.m. games today and Saturday.
Westmont tennis falls to Concordia
Concordia University of Irvine defeated both the men’s and women’s tennis teams of Westmont by 6-1 scores on the Warriors’ courts.
In the men’s match, freshman Callen Hein won the lone point for the Warriors at No. 3 singles, defeating Mike Jansen 6-3, 5-7, 1-0 (12-10). Westmont’s Matthew Alleman lost a three-set match at No, 4 by a 6-3, 7-6, 1-0 (6-3) score.
The only victory for the Warriors’ women came at No. 1 doubles, with Cade Pierson and Emily Peterson defeating Camila Tumosa and Heather Richards, 7-6. Pierson lost a tight match at No. 1 singles to Ghazal Pakbaten, 6-2, 2-6, 1-0 (10-7).