Students took a break from studying for finals to come out to The Thunderdome as the UCSB Men’s Basketball team (5-2) took on the University of the Pacific Tigers. After 40 minutes of play, the Gauchos were the ones to come out of this game with the win, taming the Tigers with a score of 82-71.
“In college basketball, it’s not easy to win at home or on the road,” said Coach Joe Pasternack. “Pacific has some really good players and so do we. Our team had to play together and compete hard, and I feel our guys did that for a majority of the game.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Gauchos were the first team on the board, scoring on a driving layup from Ajare Sanni. Despite scoring the first basket, the Tigers hung right with the Gauchos. After the last media timeout of the half, UCSB ran away with the lead, going on an eight-point run late in the half. This helped the Gauchos finish out the first half strong with the 37-29 lead as Josh Pierre-Louis made a basket during the last second of play.
Miles Norris had an impressive first half performance, leading the team with nine points while shooting 50 percent from the field. Sanni has also kept up with his teammate, recording eight points while making four of his five shots.
Once they were back on the court for the second half, the Gauchos picked up where they left off. UCSB started the half off by shooting 100 percent from the field in the first three minutes to grow their lead. However, the Tigers started clawing away at the lead the Gauchos created, trying to take this game from the good guys.
That didn’t happen for very long. The Gauchos came back on fire in the second half, keeping the Tigers from making any field goals in four of the last five minutes.
LOOKING AT THE NUMBERS
– Sanni led all Gauchos on the court today, having quite the game. He led all players on the court with 22 points while going eight for 12 from the field for his best game of this young season. He also had no fouls and recorded three steals.
– Ajay Mitchell was a force to be reckoned with as always. He ended up second on the team in points with 19, shooting 73 percent on the day while making 100 percent of his shots from beyond the arc.
– Also finishing this Saturday matinee with more than 15 points was Norris. The senior ended this game with 18 points while grabbing nine rebounds and blocking three shots put up by the Tigers.
– Andre Kelly has been making his mark on Gaucho fans since coming to The Thunderdome. He is the only athlete on the floor to finish with a double-double. By the time 40 minutes was up, Kelly had 11 points and 11 rebounds which led to his second double-double of the season.
– Josh Pierre-Louis may not have the points in this game, but he was a tremendous help on the offense for the Gauchos. He finished the game with eight assists, a new season-high.
– The team made high-caliber shots, and it showed in their shooting percentage as they shot at a 59 percent clip compared to the Tigers who shot at 49 percent.
– After this win, the Gauchos now have a record of 27-3 in The Thunderdome since Nov. 2020.
The Gauchos will have one week of practice before they are back on the road as they head down Route 101 to face the Waves of Pepperdine University. Tipoff for this evening game is at 5 p.m. with a live stream available through the West Coast Conference Network. Live stats and radio will also be available through ucsbgauchos.com.
Kristen Keller is the associate athletic director for communications and digital strategy at UCSB.