Both JaQuori McLaughlin and his UCSB men’s basketball teams joined exclusive clubs on Friday.
McLaughlin became the 31st Gaucho to score more than 1,000 points in his career, scoring 20 at the Thunderdome to lead UCSB to a 71-66 win over Cal State Bakersfield.
The victory was the 11th in a row for UCSB (15-3, 9-2 Big West Conference), matching the 1988-89 team for the longest winning streak in school history. The Gauchos will try to break that mark tonight at 7 o’clock when the two teams return to the Thunderdome for another game.
The triumph keeps UCSB (15-3, 9-2 Big West Conference) one game ahead of UC Irvine (12-7, 8-3) in the league standings.
McLaughlin, a transfer from Oregon State, now has 1,014 points in his three seasons. He made 5-of-9 shots which included 4-of-5 from three-point range. He also shared the team lead in rebounds with Amadou Sow with six and handed out eight assists.
Sow, who eclipsed 1,000 points last week, added 18 points on 7-for-10 shooting. The rest of the Gauchos shot just 34.3% (12-for-35).
The Gauchos got three-pointers from McLaughlin, Brandon Cyrus and Ajare Sanni to jump out to a 15-6 lead during the first four-plus minutes. A technical foul on Justin McCall after Sanni’s bomb tacked on two more points to the run, with McLaughlin making two free throws to push the margin into double-digits.
McLaughlin passed the 1,000-point mark for his career with two more foul shots with 13:22 still left in the first half.
The Roadrunners got within five points when a runner by Sanni triggered a 9-0 run. McLaughlin assisted Robinson Idehen on a hook shot and hit a three the next time downcourt.
A floater by Sow gave UCSB its biggest lead of the first half, 30-16, with 8:12 still on the clock.
But anyone not named Sow went cold the rest of the period. The 6-foot-9 junior made three more baskets, but four turnovers during a four-minute pratfall and five missed shots let Bakersfield get within 32-26 on a put-back by Shawn Stith.
But Stith, a 6-8 and 265-pound center, suffered a serious knee injury the next time downcourt. Sow took immediate advantage, scoring on back-to-back, cat-quick moves to get the Gaucho margin up to 36-26 by halftime.
UCSB out-shot the Roadrunners 48.4% to 44.4 in the first half and stayed even on the backboards, 16-all.
The Gauchos started the second half like the first, making 3-of-4 threes in the first four-plus minutes. McLaughlin assisted Miles Norris on the first and then made two of his own. The second one came on an extra pass from Norris, giving UCSB a 49-30 lead with 15:48 to go.
Bakersfield (14-8, 8-5) rallied with a pair of threes by Justin Elder-Davis and another by Grehlon Easter, drawing to within 55-44 with 6:47 left.
Two free throws by Sow ended the Roadrunner run, but a three by Shaun Williams cut the Gaucho lead to 57-47.
Devearl Ramsey answered him a half-minute later by beating the shot clock with a three of his own. The senior guard finished with six assists and five rebounds.
Sanni added another three to keep UCSB ahead by 13, 65-52, with 4:21 remaining.
Robinson Idehen made two foul shots with 3:42 left to get the margin back to 13, but the Gauchos went soft the rest of the way. The Roadrunners made six fairly open shots down the stretch, three of which were uncontested layups. Easter started a 12-2 run with a three-point play and capped it with a three-pointer to make it a one-possession game, 69-66, with 10.5 on the clock.
They wound up out-shooting the Gauchos for the game, 50% to 44.4%. But UCSB out-shot the Roadrunners from the foul line, making 14-of-15 to their 2-for-4.
UCSB needed Ramsey to make two free throws with 19.5 seconds left and McLaughlin to add two more less than 13 seconds later to seal its 71-66 victory.