The Aggies stayed on the road over the weekend, finishing with games at UC Riverside and Long Beach State.
UC Davis split the two games and now stands 8-12 with a 4-4 record in Big West Conference play.
Thursday – UC Davis 60, UC Riverside 50
With Mark Payne having an off night and Dominic Calegari in foul trouble, the Aggies were forced to look elsewhere for scoring.
They didn’t have to look far.
Joe Harden led UC Davis to a 60-50 road victory over UC Riverside, following his strong second half performance against Pacific with a 19-point, eight-rebound, five-steal effort against the Highlanders Thursday night.
UC Riverside went on a brief 6-0 run to come within one with 3:28 remaining. The Aggies responded with a 12-3 run to close out the game, fueled by six points from Harden, four points from Calegari and a layup from Todd Lowenthal.
Lowenthal did his best to fill up the rest of the stat sheet, finishing with a career-high seven rebounds, five assists and four steals. His performance caught the attention of coach Gary Stewart.
“We had great contributions from everyone and particularly Todd Lowenthal,” Stewart said. “He was outstanding. He did everything but sell popcorn down there. He had a tremendous effort on the backboard, timely steals and made great decisions all night long.”
UC Davis, which came into the game looking to decrease opposing teams’ interior scoring, allowed UC Riverside just 12 points in the paint.
“Our help defense was outstanding and our rotations were excellent,” Stewart said. “We were able to force them into contested shots all night long.”
Saturday – Long Beach State 80, UC Davis 58
The Aggies went into the Walter Pyramid Saturday night looking to end their three-game roadtrip with a victory.
The 49ers had other plans.
UC Davis built an early lead, but couldn’t maintain its offensive production as Long Beach State cruised to an 80-58 win.
“We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well,” Stewart said. “I thought we got great looks all night long. We just couldn’t make layups.”
The Aggies made 37 percent of their shots from the field and shot 15 percent from beyond the arc, converting three of 20 attempts. Conversely, the 49ers shot 50.8 percent from the floor and 42 percent from beyond the arc.
UC Davis went into halftime behind just eight points despite trailing by as many as 18 early. Any thoughts that Long Beach State was wilting were put to rest at the beginning of the second half. The 49ers started the final period with a 14-1 run, putting them ahead 54-33. The Aggies countered with an 8-0 run of their own, but would get no closer than 12 for the rest of the game.
The 49ers got most of their scoring from strong interior play, getting 48 of their points inside the paint.
“We were caught on the wrong side all night long,” Stewart said. “We allowed them to put the ball in the post and they were very physical.”
The 49ers outrebounded the Aggies 38-30.
Payne and Calegari both had 16 points. No other Aggie scored more than six.
The Aggies return home Thursday night to take on the Cal Poly Mustangs.
RICHARD PROCTER can be reached at email@example.com.