HONOLULU — Max Heidegger, his body and his shot ailing for nearly all of this basketball season, gave UCSB some big shots in the arm by scoring 20 points to lead the Gauchos to a 75-54 romp at Hawaii on Saturday.
It was Hawaii's worst home defeat ever while a member of the Big West Conference.
"For a lot of our guys, this was their first win here," Heidegger said. "It's really hard to win in Hawaii — they're a good team — and this is big for us going forward."
The victory vaults UCSB (16-5, 5-2 Big West) into a second-place tie with Cal State Fullerton in the league race and drops Hawaii (13-8, 4-3) into fourth.
Freshman Amadou Sow also scored 20 points, making 9-of-15 shots, to go with 11 rebounds, tying his career-high. It was Sow's second career double-double.
The Gauchos broke open a close game, having led just 30-26 at halftime, by shooting 65.4 percent in the second half while making 5-of-7 from three-point range.
Heidegger, who converted a pair of three-point plays in the first half to help put UCSB ahead, made all three of his three-point attempts in the second half. He hadn't made more than two in any of the nine games that he'd played previously this season.
"This was huge, especially after Thursday," said Heidegger, referring to UCSB's overtime defeat to UC Irvine on Thursday. "If we make shots in that game, we win that one.
"For me personally, it was big to see some go into the basket. All our guys know the type of player I am and that if I had been healthy, I'd be doing stuff like this all year."
A dazzling reverse layup by Jarriesse Blackmon ignited a 20-3 run for the Gauchos early in the second half, turning a 36-30 lead into a 54-33 runaway.
Hawaii responded briefly with five straight points, which included a three by Jack Purchase, but Heidegger's three from the top triggered another run of 13-5 to put the game away.
UCSB also got 13 points from Ar'Mond Davis and six assists with three steals from Devearl Ramsey.
The Gauchos will play five of their next seven games at the Thunderdome. First up will be Cal State Northridge on Wednesday, Feb. 6 in a contest that will tip-off at 7:00 p.m. UCSB will host UC Davis on Saturday, Feb. 9 in a game that has been moved to 9:00 p.m. to accommodate ESPNU.