JaQuori McLaughlin overcame a cold shooting night to score eight of his 14 points in the final six minutes as UCSB pulled away for a 59-50 men’s basketball victory at Hawaii late Friday night.
The win was the ninth in a row for the Gauchos (13-3), putting them in sole possession of first place in the Big West Conference with a 7-2 record. UC Irvine fell out of a tie with UCSB by losing at UC Riverside on Friday.
The winning streak is the Gauchos’ longest during Joe Pasternack’s four seasons as head coach. His 2017-18 team had an eight-game streak, all in Big West play. UCSB’s last nine-game streak came at the end of the 2015-16 season when it won its final eight regular-season games and then its Big West Tournament opener.
The longest winning streak for the Gauchos came when they opened the 1988-89 season with an 11-0 record to crack the NCAA top 25 poll.
UCSB used a 12-0 run in the first half to turn a 12-10 deficit into a 22-12 lead. Jean Pierre-Louis scored seven of the points, which included a slam dunk, a gliding layup and a three-pointer at the 10:15 mark. He finished with 11 points and a game-high three steals.
Amadou Sow, who shared team scoring honors with McLaughlin by scoring 14 points, added a layup during the run. He made 6-of-9 shots.
A three-pointer by McLaughlin extended UCSB’s lead to 28-20 at halftime.
A runner by Pierre-Louis gave the Gauchos their biggest lead, 37-24, early in the second half. The Rainbow Warriors had drawn as close as four, 41-37, when a put-back by Robinson Idehen, a driving three-point play by McLaughlin, and a jumper by Destin Barnes put UCSB ahead 48-38 with 5:08 left.
The Gauchos shot just 36.7% (22-of-50) overall and 18.8% from the three-point arc (3-for-16), but they also held the Rainbow Warriors to 33.3% shooting.
Miles Norris blocked three Hawaii shots. He also led UCSB with seven rebounds. The Gauchos committed a season-low seven turnovers and scored 16 points off Hawaii’s turnovers.
The two teams played the second game of their two-game series on Saturday night. For full coverage, see Monday’s News-Press.