Teams: UC Davis vs. UC Santa Cruz
Records: Aggies, 0-3; Banana Slugs, 0-1
Where: The Pavilion
When: Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Who to watch: Guard Mark Payne surpassed his 1000th career point as an Aggie on Sunday in the team’s season-opening tournament.
However, Payne is a pass-first player, says coach Gary Stewart, making this feat a significant achievement.
“Scoring is something we pushed [Payne] to do because he has that type of ability,” Stewart said. “But his natural instinct is to get others involved and to pass the basketball.”
The senior from St. Mary’s High School in Stockton has dished out seven assists, while leading the Aggies with 14.7 points per game.
Did you know? The Aggies are shooting 73.5 percent from the line on the year, good for second in the Big West Conference.
In its season opener, UC Davis shot 81 percent from the foul line, including a perfect 13-for-13 performance by Payne.
Preview: Concentration is the game.
Wednesday’s home opener has nothing to do with the fact that UC Santa Cruz will be coming off a loss to William Jessup University – a Division II program.
It has nothing to do with the Banana Slugs at all.
Stewart’s main focus, is focus itself.
“Concentration is one of those things that can determine a player’s ability,” Stewart said. “If your concentration ebbs and flows, your game is going to ebb and flow. Conversely, if your concentration is at a high level, then you have the potential to be extremely efficient.”
Stewart believes this team is focusing only on what it will take to get into the win column.
“For us, it’s about UC Davis right now,” Stewart said. “We certainly understand that UC Santa Cruz is going to come here with the intention of beating us.
“But we’re going to have to be sound defensively, we’re going to have to value the ball, we have to screen well and take great shots. That stuff doesn’t change, no matter what opponent we’re playing.”
One thing that can change is the impact of a home crowd.
What does Stewart want out of the 2010 home opener?
“7,600 Aggie faithfuls screaming at the top of their lungs.”
As much as Stewart desires a loud Pavilion, he wants something else a little bit more.
“A win,” Stewart added. “We want to build. We want to play better basketball than we played this past weekend. We want to continue to get better and better.”
– Grace Sprague