Coming off a loss at North Dakota State, the UCSB men’s basketball team was eager to right the ship in its home opener Tuesday night at the Thunderdome.
The Gauchos took out their frustration on Division 3 Cal Lutheran as they steamrolled to an 88-32 win. The 56-point margin of victory was the largest in program history. The previous school record was a 55-point victory over Cal Poly Pomona in 1971.
“My whole focus was to prepare our team to give incredible effort defensively on every possession and the rest will take care of itself and I think we did that,” said UCSB coach Joe Pasternack.
UCSB opened the game on a 10-0 run capped off by a three-pointer off the dribble by JaQuori McLaughlin with 18:16 remaining in the first half.
Robinson Idehen extended the UCSB lead to 16-3 with a left-handed jump hook inside. Back-to-back transition layups by Devearl Ramsey stretched the Gauchos’ lead to 23-8 at the 13:54 mark of the first half.
The Gauchos enjoyed a significant advantage inside over Cal Lutheran and made a concerted effort to play inside out. As a result, big men Ami Lakoju, Amadou Sow, and Robinson combined for 41 points on 18/27 shooting from the field.
“For us their guys were smaller than our big (men), myself included, so we saw a mismatch there and wanted to take advantage of it as best we could,” said Lakoju, who finished with 16 points on 8/13 shooting. “We wanted to keep that going and gain some confidence in that position going forward.”
Two free throws by Sow in the final minute of the first half extended the UCSB lead to 50-15 at halftime. The Gauchos continued to pour it on after the break and a massive dunk by Christian Terrell put them ahead 71-21 with 9:35 remaining in the game.
UCSB maintained at least a 50-point lead for the remainder of the game, resulting in the historical blowout. 12 of 13 UCSB players scored and every active player made in appearance in the contest.
“When I took over on April 4th, 2017, it was absolutely the No. 1 priority for me to have home court dominance,” Pasternack said. “The best college basketball programs in the country, whether it’s Gonzaga or Arizona, they all have unbelievable home courts.”
The Gauchos (2-1) will host Montana State in a crucial non-conference contest on Saturday, beginning at 2 p.m.