Teams: UC Davis vs. UC Irvine; Cal State Fullerton
Records: Aggies, 10-13 (5-5); Anteaters, 8-15 (5-5); Titans, 12-11 (6-5)
Where: The Pavilion
When: Today at 7 p.m.; Saturday at 7 p.m.
Who to watch: Vince Oliver has all the stats.
The Loyola High graduate is second in the Big West Conference with 19.5 points per league game, shooting a blistering 51.9 percent from the floor.
He’s the fifth highest all-time scorer in school history with 1,385 career points, and he’ll likely overtake fourth-place John Buchwald (1,405) this week.
But right now, stats matter little to the senior guard.
“It’s something I won‘t really think about until the season is over,” Oliver said. “I‘m just focusing on the season right now and trying to get to the [NCAA] Tournament.“
Did you know? For the first time in a month, UC Davis is not leading the nation in free throw percentage.
A 12-for-19 night at the line last Saturday against UC Riverside dropped the Aggies (79.6 percent) to second place in favor of Southern Utah (79.9).
Preview: UC Davis‘ upcoming homestand has the power to make or break where it stands in the Big West.
Currently in a four-way tie for fourth place, the Aggies could be tied for first if they sweep Irvine and Fullerton. With two losses, however, they could be in a tie for last.
The team has to feel confident it can pull off the home sweep after defeating the Anteaters and Titans earlier this season on the road.
On Jan. 17, UC Davis staved off a late Irvine rally by converting 19 of 21 second-half free throws to earn an 88-85 win at the Bren Events Center.
Oliver registered his first career double-double with 24 points and a career-high 10 rebounds. Joe Harden followed with 16 points and six boards. Dominic Calegari added 10 points.
The victory capped a weekend that began at Titan Gym. UC Davis put together a complete effort on both ends, outshooting Fullerton 55.9 to 36.5 percent in an 85-74 win.
Josh Akognon, the conference’s top scorer at 21.1 points per game, went 7-of-23 from the floor, including 2-of-15 from beyond the arc, and finished with 20 points and a career-worst seven turnovers.
Picking up the slack was Jacques Streeter, a freshman guard out of Las Vegas, Nev. Like Akognon, Streeter had 20 points, but his came at an efficient 8-for-15 rate.
If UC Davis can stop Akognon again, Streeter will be forced to break out of a four-game funk. He’s missed 30 of 36 shots over that stretch, averaging only 6.5 points per contest.
Oliver scored 27 points, then a season high, to lead UC Davis. Mark Payne followed with 20 points on perfect 8-for-8 shooting, and Harden had 14 points and a career-high 15 rebounds.