Ferriday native Joe Pasternack believes his fourth basketball team at Cal-Santa Barbara is one of his best.
And it’s hard to argue that with the Gauchos on a 10-game winning streak, including an overtime victory at Hawaii on Saturday.
“We’ve got more depth, we’ve got talent and experience,” he said. “All that may not mean anything if you don’t have chemistry. This team has great chemistry.”
Pasternack points to one particular reason for his team’s success this season.
"We’ve been rebounding really well," said Pasternack, who moved from Ferridsay to New Orleans with his family at the age of five. "We’re 11-0 when we out-rebound our opponents."
The UC Santa Barbara men's basketball team continued its winning ways Saturday defeating host Hawaii 81-74 in overtime.
The Gauchos, who have now won 10 straight games and trail the all-time win streak record by just one, have proven to be resilient and adaptive in finding ways to win the game.
UCSB saw a trio of scoring leaders including JaQuori McLaughlin who paced the Gauchos with 19 points, seven of which came in overtime. He added five assists and four rebounds and is now six points away from becoming just the third Gaucho in history to have 1,000 points and 300 assists.
Amadou Sow etched his own name into UCSB history by tallying 16 points on 50 percent shooting and becoming the 30th Gaucho to join the 1,000 point club. He now ranks 29th on the all-time scoring list and is the 20th Gaucho to eclipse 1,000 points and 500 rebounds.
Sow is a junior forward from Barnako Mali who played at Prolific Prep Academy in Napa, Ca.
"He's a big time player who chose us over Cal, Virginia and UCLA," Pasternack said.
UCSB returns home after six straight road games to host Big West newcomer Cal State Bakersfield in back-to-back games at the Thunderdome. Game one is set for Friday.
"We just have to keep grinding," Pasternack said. "We're definitely playing at a high level. We have six regular season games remaining. Our next few are the toughest and going to be a challenge."
The Big West Conference Tournament at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas begins March 9.
"We have to stay injury free," Pasternack said.
And, of course, there is the issue with COVID-19.
"We get tested three days a week," Pasternack said. "When we flew to Hawaii it was a big ordeal. It was the first time we flew to a game. The airplane was packed and there were babies with no masks on. But we’ve been fortunate so far. The guys have really been self-disciplined. I hold my breath that they keep honoring the process. Championships are going to be won off the court this year as much as on the court. It only takes one guy to test positive and that can mess up your whole season at this stage."