UCSB matched a Big Best in the Big West on Friday with its 105-58 men’s basketball win at Cal State Northridge.
The 47 points tied its largest victory margin in a Big West Conference game which it first set against UC Davis in 2012, 90-43.
Coach Joe Pasternack was just glad it led to a Big Rest for his starters, most of whom sat out the last 10 minutes of Friday’s contest. The two teams will return to the Matadome today at 4 p.m. for the second game of their Big West Conference double-header.
“It’s now all about tomorrow’s game,” Pasternack said.
The victory was the fifth straight for the Gauchos (9-3, 3-2 Big West), who have outscored their last two opponents by a combined score of 189-111.
The conference did inform UCSB on Friday, however, that last week’s two wins over UC San Diego will not count in the league standings since the Tritons are still in transition from Division 2 to Division 1 status.
The Gauchos needed less than seven minutes to take a 13-point lead against CSUN (5-5, 1-2). JaQuori McLaughlin made a trio of three-pointers to score nine points in the first six minutes alone. He led UCSB with 21 points on 6-for-10 shooting, making 5-of-8 from three-point range.
“We haven’t gotten off to great starts in some of our games, but we really jumped on them in the first four minutes tonight,” Pasternack said. “I thought we defended for all 40 minutes, and when we defend, we can get out there and go.”
The Gauchos out-shot the Matadors 60.9% to 36.7% and out-rebounded them 42-25. They out-scored them in the paint, 50-22, and also out-shot them from three-point range, 57.9% (11-for-19) to 24% (6-25). Ajare Sanni made 3-of-5 bonus bombs and scored 13 points.
“We really shared the ball — 22 assists to nine turnovers,” Pasternack said. “Devearl Ramsey had seven to none. When your point guard does that, and you add a player like JaQuori to the mix, you’ve got two of the top players in the country at sharing the ball.
“That is a huge, huge part of our success that last few weeks.”
UCSB made a trio of quick threes — one by Miles Norris and two more by Ramsey — to surge to a 29-12 lead after barely 10 minutes.
Robinson Idehen slammed the lid on a 47-28, halftime lead with a dunk off McLaughlin’s running, alley-oop lob. Idehen, rotating at center with Amadou Sow, finished with 14 points on 6-for-7 shooting.
Sow notched his third-straight double-double with 11 points on 4-for-5 shooting and 10 rebounds.
“He’s really focusing on rebounds,” Pasternack said. “I don’t know if he’s had three straight double-figure rebound games before, and he got 10 tonight in just 20 minutes.”
McLaughlin, who scored 13 points in the first half alone, didn’t cool off during halftime. He hit a three right out of the break and added a pair of free throws just 25 seconds later. His fifth three of the game extended UCSB’s lead to 59-37 with 16:26 still left.
McLaughlin also had four steals in 25 minutes of play. Ramsey added three in 22 minutes while Josh Pierre-Louis created even more havoc with five thefts. The sophomore transfer from Temple got two of his steals, as well as four of his 14 points, during a 20-second sequence of the second half.
“Josh was really aggressive,” Pasternack said. “His ball pressure is incredible, and that leads to easy transition baskets.”
UCSB’s season-high 15 steals tied for the sixth-most in school history.
“Number one, we seemed out of sync and out of rhythm,” CSUN coach Mark Gottfried said. “You’ve got to give them credit, they played terrific. Sometimes you could be out of sync and the other team doesn’t play great and you could survive it.
“On the other hand, I think we kind of fell apart and collapsed. We couldn’t score, we got impatient and we ended up taking bad shots. The good news is you get to play tomorrow. We don’t have to wait long so I’m sure we’ll come out tomorrow with a lot more energy than we did today.”
Friday’s win marked the first time the Gauchos have reached the century mark in a Big West game since its 113-103, overtime loss at New Mexico State in 1995. The 105 points were the most they’ve scored against a Division 1 opponent since it netted 109 against U.S. International — a school that no longer plays sports — on Nov. 30, 1985.
But Pasternack is not about the past, especially with back-to-back games.
“It’s been well-documented how hard it is in a second-night turnaround,” he said. “There’s a long list of examples of teams winning by 30, 40, 50 points and then losing the next day to the same team.
“I think our guys are mature enough to understand that we have to do what we do and follow our rules and not think about what happened yesterday. It should be a dogfight tomorrow. They’re a talented team and TJ Starks is a talented player — he got 29 points against us today.”