Teams: UC Davis vs. Pacific
Records: Aggies, 9-13 (5-5); Tigers, 15-7 (8-2)
Where: The Pavilion
When: Today at 7:30 p.m.
Who to watch: In UC Davis’ Jan. 23 loss to Pacific, Joe Harden went scoreless in the first half. He made up for it in the second, finishing the game with 19 points, five rebounds and two steals.
The Aggies will need the second-half version of Harden to show up tonight if they want to beat Pacific.
Harden is coming off his sixth double-double of the season, where he scored 19 points and collected 12 rebounds against UC Santa Barbara on Saturday. He’s UC Davis’ third leading scorer behind Dominic Calegari and Mark Payne. More important than his scoring, however, is his rebounding.
“If you’re going to beat Pacific,” said coach Gary Stewart, “you need to play defense and rebound the ball well.”
Harden is the team’s leading rebounder (7.2 boards per game). His effort on the glass will be key for the Aggies chances against the Tigers.
Did you know? Both the Aggies and the Tigers were swept this season by UCSB.
Preview: If the Aggies want to avoid losing their 50th straight game to the Tigers, they’ll need to play better tonight than they did in their 77-61 loss on Jan. 23.
They expect a much improved showing this time out.
“Watching the film, nothing we did graded out better than a ‘D-minus’,” Stewart said. “We were fortunate not to lose by 50.”
The Aggies got out to a slow start against Pacific, going into halftime trailing 36-15. The deficit proved to be too much as UC Davis lost despite outscoring the Tigers 46-41 in the second half.
The difference in the game, said Stewart, was not the offense.
“We scored points,” he said, “but we didn’t play defense. We weren’t very physical and we didn’t guard anybody.”
While the team is concentrating on tonight’s contest, the squad is also doing what it can to help relief efforts in Haiti.
All the players and coaches will be making donations to the American Red Cross under the direction of the Larry P. Swanson Leadership Council. They’re asking others to contribute as well. Those wishing to make a donation will be able to do so in person at the game.
“In focusing so closely on school and basketball on a daily basis, it is very easy for us to lose track of what is going on in the world around us,” Calegari said.
– Richard Procter