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Davis, California

Friday, April 12, 2024

Men’s Basketball Preview

Teams: UC Davis vs. Pacific

Records: Aggies, 7-10 (3-2); Tigers, 10-6 (3-1)

Where: Alex G. Spanos Center – Stockton, Calif.

When: Saturday at 7 p.m.

Who to watch: Joe Harden started his game against UC Irvine as number 22. He finished as number 15.

Out on a fast-break in the first half, Harden took a hard foul and had to leave the game as blood poured from a cut on his forehead. He came back in the second half with bandages, a headband and a jersey free of blood splatters. He finished with 10 points, four rebounds and three assists.

Did you know? Dominic Calegari leads the Big West Conference in scoring during league games, averaging 22 points per contest.

Preview: You know what they say: The 49th time is the charm.

The Aggies hope so, at least.

UC Davis has dropped 48 straight games against Pacific, a losing streak that goes back to the 1940s. The Aggies lost all three contests against the Tigers last year, including a 67-60 decision that ousted UC Davis from the Big West Tournament.

The Aggies are just 1-6 on the road this season and are 0-2 on the road during conference play.

Coach Gary Stewart, however, thinks his team is just starting to show its potential.

“The exciting thing is that I don’t think we’re close to touching the tip of the iceberg,” Stewart said. “We’ve got a lot of upside.”

Nine Aggies played at least 11 minutes in their win over UC Irvine. Core players Calegari, Harden and Mark Payne are all healthy along with most of the bench.

The Aggies will be playing against a balanced Pacific team. Only forward Sam Willard is averaging double-digits in scoring (10.2 points per game), but the next five Tigers on the stat sheet all average between 7.1 and 9.5 points per contest.

Both teams will be trying to make the other side play to their tempo. The Aggies prefer a faster, higher scoring game, averaging 70.6 points per game to their opponents’ 71.8. The Tigers, meanwhile, prefer a slower pace, netting 63.8 points per contest to their opponents’ 60.4. Pacific holds opposing teams to just 40 percent shooting from the field.

A close game may favor UC Davis. Although the Aggies have not been shooting well from the free throw line over the course of season (65 percent), they appeared to turn a corner against the Anteaters, shooting 17-for-19 from the charity stripe in the second half. The Tigers shoot 64 percent as a team.

The Aggies will have to contend with a hostile road atmosphere. Pacific is 7-1 at home and has an average attendance of 3,431 fans per game. The season-high at the Pavilion this season is 2,438.

– Richard Procter


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