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College Basketball

UCSB Pulls Away to Exhibition Win in Joe Pasternack’s Coaching Debut

UCSB's 92-69 exhibition men's basketball win over Fresno Pacific on Saturday featured the debut of a new head coach, a few new players and one who looked completely renewed. 

Sophomore guard Max Heidegger, who struggled mightily with his shooting during his first campaign as a Gaucho, scored 26 points and made 6-of-9 three-point attempts to help make Joe Pasternack's debut as the program's head coach a successful one.

"I felt like I played with a great deal of confidence today," Heidegger said. "I really battled confidence issues last year so today was an opportunity for me to start over." 

Heidegger made 10-of-17 field goals overall to lead a UCSB attack that shot 56.7% overall and made 11 three-point baskets.

"Max has the ability to play at a very high level," Pasternack said. "Today was just an indicator of what he's capable of." 

Marcus Jackson, a graduate transfer who played his first three seasons at Rice University, came within four rebounds of a triple-double, finishing with 14 points, 10 assists and six rebounds. He also made a pair of three-pointers. 

"I was excited to play a home game in southern California," said Jackson, who hails from Acton, Calif. "My time in Houston (at Rice) was great, but this is so much closer to home." 

Another Gaucho looking for a new start is senior forward Jalen Canty. Last season, he was limited to 10 games because of academic issues. On Saturday, a slimmed down and eligible Canty had 13 points on 6-of-7 from the field. 

Fresno Pacific's Tyler Harris opened the game with a three-point basket to give the Sunbirds their only lead of the game. Heidegger responded with his first three to tie the score and UCSB never trailed again. 

The last tie came at 15-15 with just under 14 minutes to play. At that point, the Gauchos went on an 18-2 run to blow the game open, 33-17. Their lead exploded to 30 late in the second half before they settled in for the 23-point win. 

While he was generally pleased, Pasternack knows his team will need to improve in some key areas to have a successful regular season.

"We will have to get a lot better to win games with the schedule we'll face this season," he said. "Our guys know that. This was an exhibition game and winning is a positive, but we can't lose sight of that there is a lot of improvement that needs to be made."

A significant area of improvement will need to be rebounding. Fresno Pacific outrebounded UCSB 30-29. 

"Our bread and butter is rebounding and forcing turnovers," Pasternack said. "We forced some turnovers today, but we didn't rebound the way we need to." 

The Sunbirds committed 25 turnovers while the Gauchos had 14, 10 of which came in the second half. Santa Barbara had 26 assists in its 38 baskets. In addition to Jackson's 10, freshman Brandon Davis had eight and did not produce a turnover. Sophomore Christian Terrell added three assists and a game-high five steals. Another sophomore, Clifton Powell, ha

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