• BlueGoldAg
    676
    The Aggies continue their road heavy Big West schedule tonight in a late starting 9 pm game at UC Santa Barbara which will be nationally televised on ESPNU. The Gauchos are currently sitting in second place in the Big West and have won 3 of their last 4 conference games including dismantling a good Hawai'i team 75-51 on the island a week ago. UCSB beat the Aggies 69-58 in Davis back on January 17th.

    After tonight's game the will have played 6 of their first 8 conference games on the road. An upset win over the Gauchos send the team home with a huge boost of confidence and energy as they head into the home stretch of conference play with 6 of their last 8 games being playing at home.

    Needless to say the Gauchos will be heavy favorites tonight in the Thunderdome. They are loaded with excellent D1 talent and have been playing well of late.

    The following is an update I wrote about the Aggies for Gauchofreg over on the UCSB Big West Basketball Forum:

    For the first time this season the Aggies have won two games in a row and 3 of their last 4 albeit those wins have been against two teams sitting at the bottom of the Big West, Riverside and twice against Cal Poly. It's been that kind of year for the Aggies in this surprisingly down season.

    The biggest changes for the Aggies since the first game with the Gauchos have been how Jim Les has shaken up the starting lineup. Les revamped his starting lineup against Riverside two weeks ago after the Aggies played poorly in a loss at Hawai'i.

    Siler Schneider, TJ Shorts II and Garrison Goode have been regular starters for the past two seasons but found themselves benched against Riverside. Les decided that a change was needed and he started Joe Mooney, Matt Neufeld, Damion Squire, Rogers Printup and Stefan Gonzalez and it seemed to work. This starting five jumped out to an 11-0 start and the Ags never looked back in defeating the Highlanders 84-71. Shorts came of the bench to lead the Ags with 23 points but they also got solid contributions from all the new starters. Shockingly, Siler Schneider played only 7 minutes total and scored just 2 points.

    Les said the team needed a change and the shake up in the starting lineup was not directed at any individual players. He said he felt the team as a whole had a lot more to give and decided to mix things up. The question for Aggie fans was whether or not Les would continue with the new starters against Poly on Thursday and the answer was yes. The new starting five took the floor against the Mustangs while Shorts, Schneider and Goode came off the bench. So I would expect that Les will go with his revamped starting 5 against the Gauchos as well.

    Two Aggie players who have emerged as consistent contributors for the Aggies lately have been Joe Mooney and Matt Neufeld. Mooney has scored in double figures in 6 of the last 7 games, is shooting the ball well from distance and has been one of the Ags' top defenders as well. Neufeld, a 6'11 Jr transfer from St Louis, has become a solid post-up threat in the paint and the Aggies have been increasingly looking to get the ball inside to him to let him go one-on-one.

    The Aggies have not had a win against a legitimately good team yet this season and it would be a huge upset if that were to happen against the Gauchos on Saturday night. We're playing marginally better but we don't match up well with UCSB on many fronts. As usual, the Ags will work very hard on defense and will need to control the pace of the game to stay within striking distance. We simply don't have the offensive weapons to get out and run with the Gauchos. The Aggie defense kept Poly 10 points under their seasonal average for the game and we'll need that kind of defensive effort against the Gauchos in their house. If not, the Gauchos could win by double digits.

    Note: AJ John and Caleb Fuller did not play in Thursday's game at Cal Poly. It's not known if either of them are injured or not and if they will be available to play tonight.

    Live TV from ESPNU at 9 pm: http://www.espn.com/watch/

    Go Ags!
  • Gauchofreg
    8
    Nice preview BGA.
    The full preview of Davis I wrote, inclusive of the info above, can be found on the Gaucho board.
    Below is a season update on the Gauchos:
    Gaucho Update

    Season summary
    At 17-5, it can be said that Coach Pasternack has been successful in integrating so many new pieces after a massive roster turnover from last year. Last year’s star player, Max Heidegger, with two consecutive 20+ games on high % shooting seems to be back after dealing with injuries and shaking off the rust the first 2/3 of the season. Even with Max now back in the starting lineup, the Gauchos have 4 new starters from a year ago.

    Despite leading the conference in scoring defense, KenPom rates the defense below average, ~185, having played one of the weakest schedules in the country factoring into that low rating. The Gauchos started the season as a mediocre three-point shooting team but have improved in this regard outside of the still rusty Max Heidegger (but he has been on fire the last two games). Three of the starters (Ramsey, McLaughlin and Davis) are coming back after a year off so some early season rustiness was not surprising. Ar’Mond Davis in particular has really stepped up and has taken over the team scoring lead while also being a high energy rebounder. Point Guard Devearl Ramsey has taken on the leadership role for the Gauchos and is doing a very nice job running the offense. He is a good three point shooter while showing off his quickness in penetrating deep into the defense. Team chemistry is impressive, especially given how new they all are to each other. They are unselfish and adept at getting the hot hand the open looks on offense; with 7 different players having led the team in scoring this year and three players averaging more than 3 assists per game.

    Trend: In Big West Play, UCSB has defeated all but the other top two teams in conference, CSF & UCI. It could be said that in the past two games, the Gauchos are finally at full strength with Max Heidegger reverting to his last year’s All Big West form. As the season has progressed, the workload for the starters and 6th man Jariesse Blackmon has increased. The Gaucho defense has been improving, tops in the conference in points allowed and climbing to a 185 Efficiency Rating (Kenpom) from a low of about 245.

    The Roster
    The Gauchos experienced major turnover from last year and with leading returner Max Heidegger out for much of the season, played an entirely new starting 5 for all but five games this year. Besides the major roster turnover, the biggest difference is depth. After going 12 men deep early, Pasternack has settled on a 10 man rotation. Four of five starters average double figures; the bench is providing about 28% of the offense compared to 17% last season. With Max back in the starting lineup the Gauchos now have a short starting lineup with three guards, a wing and one true big, but have a very tall bench.

    Probable Starters
    Devearl Ramsey: #4 PG, RS Sophomore. 6’0”, 185 lb 11.2 ppg, 3.7 apg, 3.3 rpg, 31 mpg, 43% from the field, 39% from three and 82% from the FT line. A very athletic and exciting point guard that can drive, Ramsey is eligible this year after the requisite red shirt season after transferring from Nevada. A highly recruited 3-4* player out of high school, his defense is fantastic and helps UCSB shore up it’s Achilles heel from last year, guarding quick point guards. He has become the most accurate shooter from deep for the Gauchos, showing massive improvement as the season has progressed. A vocal leader, he has been named team captain. His aggressive play and ability to penetrate defenses creates opportunities. His blitzkrieg approach sometimes leads to him forcing the issue and make poor passes leading to turnovers, has a 1.6 A/TO ratio. His scoring has dropped over the past couple games as Max has come back.

    Max Heidegger: #21 Guard, Junior. 6‘3”, 180 lb, 10.2, ppg, 86% FTs, 24% from deep, 3.2 apg. ATO ratio of 4.4, 27 mpg. Has played just 11 games after sitting out much of the season with a concussion and a minor leg injury. The Gauchos star player from a year ago, Max had one of the biggest leaps in improvement in Gaucho hoops history from his freshman to sophomore years. An amazing talent, he is a terrific three pointer shooter with NBA range, setting the school record for threes, and can drive & finish. A very capable ball handler, he can run the point but will play the off-guard position most of the time. He seems to be getting his fitness back but his shooting from outside was atrocious up until the last two games. He has been more of a facilitator this season vs. last, so in some respects, he is a more well-rounded player now.

    JaQuori McLaughlin, #3 Guard, RS Sophomore 6’4, 190 lb 10.8 ppg, 3.1 apg, 35% from three, 32 mpg. Another transfer, McLaughlin came to UCSB from Oregon State where he set the freshman record for three pointers made. He can play either guard position. He is the fourth Gaucho averaging double figures and is second in assists but gets most praise from Coach Pasternack for his defense. As a starting shooting guard and a back-up point, he leads the team in minutes played. After a bit of a slow shooting start, he has really improved, and has provided some clutch offense in close games. Like Ramsey, his scoring has dropped with Heidegger taking more shots.

    Ar’Mond Davis: #1 Wing, 6‘6”, 190 lb 14.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 43% FG, 39% from three, 1.7 apg, 29 mpg. Grad Transfer (Alabama). Davis sat out last year with an injury after playing the 6th man role at Alabama his junior year. Prior, he excelled at the College of Southern Idaho, earning a top 5 ranking at the JC level so has had just one year of D1 experience before UCSB. He is athletic and loves to score but has been doing a great job on the boards too, second on the team. He is the go-to guy for the Gauchos on offense. He can drive through the paint or hit from deep, shooting an amazing 56% there in BW play. Leads the team in scoring, three point shooting and FT attempts, hitting them at 77%. He is high energy on the rebounding front and is second on the team in that category.

    Amadou Sow: #12 Forward, Freshman, 6’9”, 235 lb 11.2 ppg on 57% shooting, 6.6 rbg. 23 mpg. One of the more highly rated recruits in Gaucho history, Sow turned down the likes of Cal, Illinois and Wichita State to come to UCSB. The athletic freshman demonstrated range to outside the arc in high school but has sticks to patrolling the paint at UCSB. The only true big that starts, Sow is showing improvement in his defense. Still suffers freshman mistakes at times and needs to improve on handling double-teams—only 5 assists on the season. Is a bit up & down, had a monster game vs. USF, earning him BW POW honors but followed it up with a stinker vs. Cal Poly. Is coming off a double-double vs. Hawaii and a near double-double vs. CSUN.

    Main Reserves
    Jarriese Blackmon: #2 Forward, Senior, 6’7”, 220 lb 4.9 ppg, 4.3 rbg, 20 mpg The “Glue Guy” for the Gauchos, Blackmon’s high energy and athleticism earned him the starting role while Heidegger was injured. Blackmon leads the team in blocks and is third in rebounding. He has impressed all the Gaucho fans with just how much he has improved in all facets of his game over last year. His defense is terrific, his unselfishness and team-first attitude deserve a lot of credit in setting an example for all the new players and is a big reason why team chemistry is so good on this team. He has some decent moves within the arc and is shooting 53% from the field.

    Jay Nagle: #5 Wing, Freshman. 6’8”, 205 lb 3.9 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 45% from three The son of basketball coach, Nagle was the first HS recruit signed by Pasternack. A terrific outside shooter but not the quickest or best athlete, he is still effective on defense with high basketball IQ. His minutes have been eaten up some by Heidegger.

    Robinson Idehen: #35 F/C, Sophomore, 6’10”, 230 lb 4.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg. 11 mpg Shooting 70% from the field. A JC transfer, the strong & athletic forward improved over the pre-conference season. Still raw at times.

    Sekou Toure: #0 Guard, Freshman, 6’5”, 185 lb 3.8 ppg, 2.7 rbg 9 mpg Lightly recruited, Toure made great strides his senior year at Prolific Prep where Sow also attended, averaging 16ppg and 8 boards; UCSB may have got a steal in him. Toure has terrific skills in slashing through the defense and finishing. His defense is good, but, like a typical freshman, his decision making isn’t a strong suit.

    Ami Lakoju: #14 Center, Senior, 6’9” 260 lb, 2.7 ppg, 2 rpg, 7 mpg A physical presence, Ami has been prone to foul trouble over his career and is struggled with that earlier this season. Has seen his minutes replaced by Idehen & Blackmon. Has had two double-double games, both against non-D1 competition.

    UCD-UCSB History/Game 1 Recap
    This will be the 69th meeting between the schools with the Gauchos holding a 39-29 advantage. The Gauchos defeated the Aggies 69-58 in Davis in January starting a new winning streak. Armond Davis led the way with 23 points and 8 rebounds while both Nagle & McLaughlin pitched in with a pair of three pointers each. The Gauchos out rebounded the Aggies 37-21
  • Gauchofreg
    8
    Forgot the link to the Gaucho board/preview:
    https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/ucsbgauchos/uc-davis-game-t22893.html
    My preview is several posts down in the thread.
  • DrMike
    294
    No nuefield?
  • DrMike
    294
    I believe I’m the only one at the Livermore Shriners crab feed watching this
  • agalum
    83
    After a very slow start, 31-25 Ags at half :).
  • DrMike
    294
    Any word on nuefield? No John also?
  • BlueGoldAg
    676
    John has been in for a few minutes. Not sure what's up with Neufeld. Les is playing lots of different combos of players. Our defense has been great but the height of the Gauchos is making it tough for us on the defensive boards.
  • Zander
    97
    Really liked this half of Aggie basketball. Didn't have to play great the whole time, just kept it close when we were struggling for points and then kept the momentum going once a few things started going the Ags' way. Brings me back to some of the gutty ESPN wins from back in the day
  • BlueGoldAg
    676
    We ended up shooting 52% in spite of the very slow start and held UCSB to 39%. We can win this game if we continue to play defense like that for another 20 minutes.
  • Zander
    97
    Joe "Buddy Heild" Mooney
  • DrMike
    294
    Gutsy win. Back in the race for the top half.
  • DrMike
    294
    Shorts is pretty good. I’m just saying. John was good. A lot of contributions from guys like gonzo, goode and Mooney. Fun watching the last half
  • agalum
    83
    61-57, Ags. Great win for the guys!
  • Oldbanduhalum
    287
    Amazing win. It feels like last year. Just figuring out ways to win. Wild big west!
  • BlueGoldAg
    676
    Best win of the season by far! Awesome defense by the Aggies. I love that even when they miss a open layup they hustle back on defense and lock down. No hanging their heads and taking a play off...just hard nosed defense.
  • Zander
    97
    I know we're probably not competing for a title this year without serious chaos, but...

    It just feels like we're back. Especially with the schedule ahead -- even with all the usual chaos in the conference, everyone has to especially fear the Aggies, the way it should be in the Big West.
  • BlueGoldAg
    676
    That NBA 3 by Mooney with the score tied late was an ice cold dagger. Gutsy long range bomb. Good for Joe!
  • BlueGoldAg
    676
    In the post-game radio interview Les said that Neufeld is "ailing" and they hope he gets healthy this week. He credited the whole team for being locked in on defense and praised the toughness and play of TJ and AJ. Lastly, he said, "It's going to be a long, happy bus ride home."
  • Toke69
    96
    What a great game! I was not ready to see the Ags upset UCSB down in the Thunderdome. I don't think I've ever seen a performance with more heart than what TJ did tonight. The Gauchos had no answer for him and he kept getting knocked down, literally, and getting back up. Nice contributions from Mooney and John. The only disappointment was Schneider who had fewer points than turnovers and fouls (Has anyone ever heard him get called the "Red Rifle?") and the high number of missed bunnies (Ags could have won by double digits). I think this bodes well for the rest of the season, especially the playoffs. This is the team I saw last year.
  • Zander
    97
    I'm pretty sure the color commentator made up the nickname on the spot, not that I'm complaining. This commentator crew was actually pretty entertaining, as far as late-night ESPN units go:

    "All UCSB has to do is make two free throws, miss the third, and get it to bounce outside for the three. Easy, right?"

    "I've done it!"

    "Wait, you have?"
  • 69aggie
    245
    Is there anyway to watch this replay?
  • SoCalAggie
    33
    yes via the watch espn app
  • Oldbanduhalum
    287
    That Mooney shot was the type that we weren’t getting earlier in the year. Keep on rollin’
  • BlueGoldAg
    676
    It was such a gutsy shot. His confidence has grown so much in the second half of the season this year...so great to see.
  • BlueGoldAg
    676
    Coaches comments:

    Jim Les: "The guys made big plays down the stretch: they were diving on the floor for loose balls, made big shots, battled for rebounds and made big free throws. This was a complete team effort," said UC Davis head coach Jim Les.

    "These guys faced adversity, looked it in the eye and kept working. They stuck together, faced the challenge as a team and now good things are happening for them."

    "We turned to AJ ... and said 'next man up.' And he was more than ready to go. He gave us some great minutes and great production," said Les.

    Les added, "everyone refused to lose and gave a great effort. This is a game that could propel us throughout the upcoming weeks."

    Joe Pasternack on TJ and the game: "He was the Player of the Year in the conference last year and he's still one of the best," said Pasternack, regarding the way Shorts II impacted the game. "They are the defending league champions and they're playing like that now."

    https://ucdavisaggies.com/news/2019/2/10/mens-basketball-defense-leads-aggies-to-61-57-victory-at-ucsb.aspx
  • Toke69
    96
    I think it's time to give Jim Les some credit for shaking up the lineup to get out of whatever slump the team was in. If the team continues to win and winds up, say, in third place, he will have done a great coaching job.
  • BlueGoldAg
    676
    Couldn't agree more. I can be critical of Les at times when he lets his emotions get the best of him but, time and time again, he proves that he is indeed an outstanding coach. This has been a tough year for the Aggies and, like you say, if they finish in among the leaders in the Big West, this might be one of his best coaching efforts in his 8 years here when you take into consideration the difficulty this years's schedule, the injuries that have sidelined John and Gonzalez for long stretches and lots of competitive losses with little to show for it in the win column. He currently has them willing themselves to find ways to win in spite of all of the adversity they have faced this season and that say a lot.
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