The UC Davis men’s basketball team closed the first half of its conference schedule with a second half it’d rather soon forget.
Pacific responded from a 30-26 halftime deficit to shoot 67.9 percent from floor out of the break, outscoring the Aggies 26-4 in the paint to roll to an 80-65 win at the Pavilion on Saturday night.
“I thought they were far more aggressive than us in the second half,” said coach Gary Stewart. “We didn’t stop them. That was the difference in the game.”
It was the second straight outing in which UC Davis saw a second-half home lead unfold for a loss.
With 16:33 remaining, Vince Oliver hit a three-pointer to give the Aggies their biggest lead of the night, 37-31. Pacific then went on a 16-0 run over the next 4:23 to take a controlling 10-point lead.
Ryan Silva and Oliver answered with back-to-back three-pointers to start an 8-2 run, but the Tigers staved off the Aggies by turning it on defensively, allowing only two field goals in the final 10:39 of the game.
“It hurts,” Mark Payne said of the loss, which took place one week after the team saw Cal Poly come back from a 16-point second-half hole. “To be up at halftime and just let it go – it seems like it’s happening too much. It just hurts.”
Oliver continued his standout senior season, tying a career high with six 3-pointers on eight attempts to lead all scorers with 20 points. Payne had 13 points, and Dominic Calegari and David Carter added 11 and 10, respectively.
Chad Troyer scored a team-high 16 points for Pacific (12-7, 5-3), which moved to third place in the Big West behind Cal State Northridge (9-10, 6-3).
The loss dropped the Aggies to 9-12 overall and 4-4 in Big West play, two games behind league leader Long Beach State (11-9, 6-2). UC Davis opens up the second half of its conference schedule when it meets the 49ers on Thursday in Long Beach.
“I’m confident that we will do better in the second half,” Stewart said. “I’m excited. …We’re looking forward to next week. We’ve got a lot of basketball left.”
MICHAEL GEHLKEN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.