Gauchos Play UCI at Thunderdome Thursday, Blackmon Out 4-6 Weeks With Elbow Injury

Gabe Vincent (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Gabe Vincent (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

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• Upcoming Games
Game No. 14
Thursday, January 12, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. UC Irvine Anteaters

at UCSB's Thunderdome - Santa Barbara, Calif.
On-Line Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
Live Stats: UCSBgauchos.com
Video: BigWest.tv
Tickets: UCSBgauchos.com

Game No. 15
Saturday, January 14, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Cal Poly Mustangs

at UCSB's Thunderdome - Santa Barbara, Calif.
On-Line Audio: UCSBgauchos.com
Live Stats: UCSBgauchos.com
Video: BigWest.tv 
Tickets: UCSBgauchos.com 

Blackmon Sidelined With Elbow Injury
UC Santa Barbara sophomore forward Jarriesse Blackmon will be sidelined 4-6 weeks with a fractured left elbow, an injury suffered when he went down hard after blocking a shot early in the second half of the Gauchos' 73-47 loss at UC Davis on Jan. 4. Blackmon became a starter when forwards Jalen Canty, Ami Lakoju and Felix White were sidelined because of academic issues following the Dec. 22 game against Nevada. Blackmon made all three of his field goal attempts and scored six points in 12 minutes in the game at UC Davis. He is currently averaging 3.5 points and 3.0 rebounds per game overall. In the last five games, the Layton, Utah native averaged 5.4 points and 3.2 rebounds per game while shooting 50.0% from the field.

The Gaucho Record
UCSB enters its first home conference weekend of the season with an overall record of 2-11 and an 0-1 mark in the Big West Conference. The Gauchos dropped their league opener at UC Davis on Jan. 4 by a 73-47 score. They have now lost two straight games and six out of their last seven. The only win during that span was a 62-60 overtime decision over Cal State Bakersfield on Dec. 27. 

Gauchos Trail from Start-to-Finish in Loss at UC Davis
UC Davis raced out to a 35-15 halftime lead and never looked back on Jan. 4 in a 73-47 win over visiting UCSB in the Big West Conference opener for both teams. For the Gaucho, the story was a familiar one as they once again had issues with their field goal shooting, hitting just 25.0% in the decisive first half and 31.0% overall. They were also a dismal 2-for-16 from three-point range, including 0-for-10 before Gabe Vincent broke the ice late in the second half.  The Aggies led the entire game in winning their third straight game. Trailing 6-4, the Gauchos were outscored by Davis 14-1 to fall behind 20-5 and the margin never got closer than 13 the rest of the way. Vincent had 12 points to lead UCSB while Kupchak and Alex Hart each added 10. Kupchak also had a team-high and career-high nine rebounds. Santa Barbara, which had 15 turnovers, was outrebounded 42-36. Davis finished the game 28-of-62 from the field overall, 45.2%, and 8-of-22 from three-point range, 36.4%. Both teams made 9-of-14 from the free throw line, 64.3%. 

The Opponents
UCSB and UC Irvine have med 86 times with the Gauchos winning 51 times. The teams split a pair of games last season with each winning a road game. The Anteaters won 61-52 at the Thunderdome and UCSB returned the favor, winning 76-60 at the Bren Events Center. The Gauchos and Cal Poly had met 109 times in a series that began in 1937. Santa Barbara's all-time edge of 75-34 includes wins in San Luis Obispo (76-73) and at the Thunderdome (69-55) last season. Overall, UCSB has won the last five games over the Mustangs.  

Dome Sweet Dome? 
UCSB is 2-3 at home this season. After opening the year with home losses to Omaha and San Francisco, the Gauchos won back-to-back home games. They recorded their first home win on Dec. 1 as they defeated Sonoma State and then, on Dec. 27, they came from 17 down in the second half to beat Cal State Bakersfield in overtime, 62-60. On Dec. 30, the tables were turned as UCSB blew a 20-point lead over the last nine minutes in an 80-76 loss to Seattle University. 

Possible Starters - Quick Fact
G 1 Eric Childress -
Has 354 career assists, ninth all-time...Has three or more assists in 10 of the 13 games...Has 10 assists in the last 2 games.
G 2 Gabe Vincent - His 38 3-pointers gives him 175 in his career, 10th all-time...Only Gaucho with 10+ points in all 13 games...Made his last 9 free throws.
F 10 Maxwell Kupchak - Tied his career-high with 10 points and had a career-high 9 rebounds at UC Davis...Averaging 6.0 rebounds in last 3 games.
F 12 Alex Hart - Had 10 points at UC Davis, his fourth double-figure game...Recorded 10 points and 11 rebounds on Dec. 22 vs. Nevada, his first career double-double.
G 23 Christian Terrell - Started last 5 games...Missed all 3 FG attempts in loss at UC Davis...Had career-high nine rebounds on Dec. 21 vs. Iona. 

Probable Reserves - Quick Fact
F 0  Jarriesse Blackmon -
Sidelined for 4-6 weeks with a fractured left elbow...Started the team's last three games...Made all 3 FGs in 12 minutes at UC Davis.
G 3 Clifton Powell, Jr. - Was scoreless for the second time in 3 games at UC Davis...Was 4-for-5 from the field and had 10 points on Dec. 30 vs. Seattle.
F 5  Jalen Canty - Not currently eligible to play...Second on the team in scoring at 10.2 points per game and the team-leader in rebounds at 7.0 per game.
G 11 Tide Osifeso - Logged 12 minutes vs. UC Davis...Made 2 key 3-point baskets in comeback win over CSUB...Was scoreless in last 2 games.
G 13 Sam Walters - Made his only field goal attempt in the loss at UC Davis...Had 4 straight DNPs prior to the game against the Aggies.
F 14  Ami Lakoju - Is currently ineligible...Team-leader in field goal percentage at 61.2% and second in rebounding at 5.7 per game.
F 21 Max Heidegger - Played a season-low 12 minutes at UC Davis...After averaging 19.0 points per game in the previous 2 games, scored 4 at UC Davis.
F 24 Felix White - Is not currently eligible to play...Played in just 6 games and an average of 4.2 minutes per game.
F 43  J.D. Slajchert - Fouled out in 15 minutes at UC Davis...Set new career-highs for points (10) and rebounds (8) and assists (3) in loss to Seattle.

Vincent Approaches Some Milestones
Gabe Vincent scored 12 points in UCSB's Jan. 4 loss at UC Davis and, in the process, moved within 48 points of becoming the 28th Gaucho player to score 1,000 or more career points. Vincent has tallied 952 points in his two and a half seasons in Santa Barbara. Additionally, the native of Stockton, Calif., has made 175 career three-point baskets, 10th in school history. He needs eight to pass Orlando Johnson (182), 13 to pass James Nunnally (187), 16 to pass Idris Jones (190), 20 to pass Alex Harris (194) and 22 to pass Carrick DeHart (196). That would move Vincent into fifth on the school's all-time list.

Childress Climbs the Lists Too
Eric Childress continues to lead the Gauchos in assists with 48, an average of 3.7 per game. Childress enters the week with 354 career assists in his 109 career games, 3.2 per game. His 354 career assists rank him ninth in school history. He needs just four to move past Justin Joyner and into eighth on the all-time list. If he were to maintain his average of 3.7 assists per game and play 16 more games, he would finish with about 410 and would rank third in UCSB history. In addition, Childress has 111 career steals, 10th in school history. He needs six to leapfrog four players and move into sixth. If he could maintain his 1.5 steal per game average, he would finish with about 135 and would rank among the top-three in history.

Heidegger Sets Freshman Free Throw Marks
Guard Max Heidegger played a pivotal role in UCSB's 62-60 overtime win over Cal State Bakersfield on Dec. 27. Heidegger was just 2-of-12 from the field, but he hit 16-of-18 free throw attempts to finish with 21 points, the most by a Gaucho freshman since March 18, 2015 when Gabe Vincent scored 22 in a game at Oral Roberts. In addition, Heidegger set new freshman school records with his 16 free throws and 18 free throw attempts, breaking records most set by a trio of players, most recently on March 4, 2006 when Chris Devine hit 12-of-14 from the line. Overall, the 16 free throws made are the third most in school history and the 18 attempts are tied for second all-time.

These Halves Aren't Quite Pointless, But They're Close
The Gauchos have suffered through a 15-point first half twice in the last three games. On Dec. 27 against Cal State Bakersfield UCSB trailed 28-15 at the end of the first half before coming back to win 62-60. In the first game of the Big West schedule on Jan. 4 at UC Davis, the Gauchos trailed 32-15 at the break and ultimately lost 73-47. The 15 points in a half equals the 10th lowest scoring half in school history and the eighth lowest scoring first half.

The Lid Came Off...But Just for a Half 
Every once in a while, UCSB has a half when things just click offensively. The first half of its Dec. 30 game against Seattle was one of those games. In that game, the Gauchos scored 47 points on 18-of-39 shooting from the field overall, 46.2%, and 9-of-20 from three-point range, 45.0%. In the second half, things didn't go as well as they made just 11-of-31 overall, 35.5%, and just 3-for-17 from outside the three-point arc, 17.6%. That trend continued in the next game, a Jan. 4 contest at UC Davis. Against the Aggoes, UCSB was 18-of-58 overall, 31.0%, and just 2-for-16 from three-point range. In the last three halves, the Gauchos have made just 29-of-89 overall, 32.6%, and 5-of-33 from three-point territory, 15.2%. They are now making 36.7% overall and 27.8% of their threes. They have made 36.6% or below seven times in 13 games, including five of the last six. In the last six games, Santa Barbara has made 135 out of 408 field goal attempts, 33.1%. 

Free in Name Only
UCSB's troubles shooting the ball don't end with field goals and three-pointers. The Gauchos are shooting just 61.4% from the free throw line. In their last game, they made 9-of-14 free throws, 64.3%. The percentage was actually their fifth highest of the season. Each of Santa Barbara's three top free throw shooting efforts have come when it has attempted 10 or fewer. The team made 8-of-10 (80.0%) on Nov. 22 at SMU,  7-of-9 (77.8%) on Nov. 12 vs. Omaha and 6-of-8 (75.0%) on Dec. 22 against Nevada. The Gauchos have been at 65.0% or below in eight of their other nine games. When they made 75.0% against Nevada, it ended a streak of three consecutive games under 60.0%. In their last nine games, they have made 89 out of 151 free throw attempts, 58.9%.