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Gauchos advance to NCAA Tournament as they whip UC Irvine in Big West title game

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Gauchos punch ticket to NCAA Tournament.

UC SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Gauchos are dancing for the first time since 2011 as they pulled away from UC Irvine 79-63 to capture the Big West Tournament to advance to the NCAA Tournament.

Big West Player of the Year JaQuori McLaughlin scored 22 points including 16 in the second half as the Gauchos broke open a tight game.

The senior guard was named the Big West Tournament Most Valuable Player.

He hit 3 three-pointers in under a five minute span as the Gauchos turned a 49-44 lead into a 64-48 advantage with 6:12 left.

Miles Norris sealed the deal from there as he drained back-to-back three-pointers and added a slam.

He finished with 19 points as the Gauchos got their revenge on the Anteaters.

UCSB lost back-to-back games at UC Irvine in late December to start the Big West 0-2.

But since then the Gauchos have now reeled off 18 wins in their last 19 games and will head to the NCAA Tournament with a 22-4 record.

Article Topic Follows: College Sports

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Mike Klan

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