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Screaming fans showed their local support for UC Santa Barbara basketball in a nationally broadcast playoff game

ISLA VISTA, Calif. - A screaming turnout of fans in Isla Vista and Goleta supported UC Santa Barbara in their NCAA college basketball playoff game Friday morning.

It was a loss to Baylor University, but there were many exciting moments to this game.

UC Santa Barbara ends the season with a record 27 wins and the Big West championship.

Woodstocks Pizza in Isla Vista was packed inside and out. The student fan base this year was strong in the Thunderdome with the team winning nearly all of their home games.

The effort in the NCAA college basketball tournament was impressive and the Gauchos were leading in the first half.

With UC Santa Barbara on the national stage in the college basketball playoffs,  if was fandemonium at the watch parties.

"This team worked their butts off they totally deserve to be on this stage. They're the ones who earned this," said UCSB student Jack Norton.

UCSB played at an impressive level against Baylor University from Texas, and a highly ranked team nationally.

Xander Zabetian a UCSB senior said, "it means a lot we don't get enough recognition on the national level for our sports and just being able to compete in March Madness means a lot ."

Many of these fans attended nearly all the home games.

Norton said, "we're all happy to be together and watching it together."

It was a special time to be together.

"COVID hit everyone pretty hard and definitely took away the camaraderie of the school, all we are is proud and passionate," said Zabetian.

Norton said, "we're super proud of them, we're right here with them."

The Gaucho fans also gathered at the Hollister brewing company in the Camino Real Marketplace.

Katie Turnlund, a UCSB graduate student, was at the Hollister Brewing Company for the game and said,  "I just feel the atmosphere of the anticipation (at the campus.) It is so impactful especially from a school that is not so sports focused to have something to cheer for. I think it is fantastic to see UCSB on such a large stage and be part of the national conversation, it is exciting to see something so close to my heart impact other people."

UCSB had a tougher second half and lost the game 74 to 56,  but the fans made sure the team and their coach felt the year-long support in the 27-win league championship season.

Jonny Stobie was in the front row of many games and said,  "it was awesome, we love coach Joe Pasternak. He really brought this program where it is today. "

Win or lose, Washington said, "and their hearts are out there no matter what  and we are all proud of them for just making it this far."

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3-12. To learn more about John, click here.


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