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Oregon State Basketball: UC-Santa Barbara Gauchos Preview (Game 5)

The Gauchos are coming to Corvallis.

NCAA Basketball: Big West Conference Championship-Cal State Fullerton vs. UC Santa Barbara Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

UC-Santa Barbara Gauchos (1-2)

  • Head Coach: Joe Pasternack (3rd Season)
  • Top Performer: Max Heidegger (20.3 PPG, 2.7 APG)
  • Points For: 75.0 PPG (T-151st)
  • Points Against: 73.7 PPG (262nd)
  • Last Game/Streak: 82-81 Loss vs. Rice (2L)
  • Conference Affiliation: Big West Conference

The Skinny

When UC-Santa Barbara comes into Gill Coliseum on Wednesday night, one familiar face on the Gauchos roster will be easy to pick out from the crowd.

Former Oregon State point guard JaQuori McLaughlin (9.7 PPG), who left the Beavers program in 2018 shortly after the start of his sophomore season, is a key piece for the Gauchos and third year head coach Joe Pasternack. McLaughlin helped the team to a 22-10 mark last year, that ended in the Big West Tournament semi-finals, and he’s hoping to push the squad into the NCAA Tournament in his second go-round with the program.

Key out-of-league clashes like the one that UC-Santa Barbara will have against the Beavers could go a long way in determining how real of a dream that is.

While McLaughlin is the easiest name to recognize, the one that the Beavers may need to be most aware of is guard Max Heidegger (20.3 PPG), who has shot out of the gate to be a potential all-league talent early on in the 2019-2020 campaign. Heidegger is currently playing with great confidence and efficiency, while also stroking it at a tremendous 59.0% clip from the field.

For those who follow Beavers basketball closely, another name that may stick in your head is Gauchos forward Amadou Sow (15.3 PPG), a nightly double-double candidate who also was a target of the Oregon State program coming out of high school. A bruising 6’ 9”, 240-pound physical freak, Sow already has 26 rebounds on the season in just three games and is a great free-throw shooter for a player of his size.

NCAA Basketball: Big West Conference Championship
Big man Amadou Sow is not afraid to do the dirty work on the floor for the Gauchos.
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Between Heidegger, Sow and McLaughlin, UC-Santa Barbara has a likeable top three that could be the best the Big West has to offer. That’s not good news for a team like Oregon State who can’t afford any let-ups. And while those three talents will ultimately have their impact, no doubt about it, it could be the play of the role pieces in this one that decides how much the Gauchos have to offer.

Matt Freeman (9.0 PPG), a 6’ 10” stretch-four from New Zealand is always a tough cover, as is Robinson Idehen (5.3 PPG), a similar framed talent who lives on the interior. On the perimeter, Devearl Ramsey (2.7 PPG), a one-time Nevada transfer, is a looming giant has yet to really find his form after averaging double-figures in scoring last season and don’t forget about Brandon Cyrus (6.0 PPG), who comes across as slightly lighter Alfred Hollins-type of glue guy for the Gauchos.

Overall, as nice as it would to have an easy day at the office, this is not a game that Oregon State can take lightly. UC-Santa Barbara is a dangerous mid-major squad who will be out searching for a signature victory. They have a head coach who cut his teeth in the Pac-12, some players who know the league inside and out, and oh yeah, this is the last power conference squad they’ll see all season. I think the Beavers can hang on in the end, but don’t think twice about this one potentially being decided in the final minutes of action.

Player To Watch

NCAA Basketball: UC Santa Barbara at Southern California Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Max Heidegger (Guard - Senior)

There’s a lot of really likable pieces on this Gauchos roster but at the end of the day, it starts and ends right now with Max Heidegger. The senior is making the most of his final campaign on campus, jumping his scoring average just under 9 points from a season ago. If Heidgger continues to produce at this level, UC-Santa Barbara has a real shot at the big dance.

Game Info

  • Date: Wednesday, November 20th
  • Time: 7:00 PM PT
  • Location: Gill Coliseum (Corvallis, OR)
  • Coverage: Pac-12 Network