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Davis, California

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Men’s Basketball Preview


Headline: Men’s Basketball Preview

Key games: UC Davis at UCLA; at Cal State Fullerton; at Cal State Northridge

Where: Pauley Pavilion – Los Angeles; Titan Gym – Fullerton, Calif.; The Matadome – Northridge, Calif.

Records: Aggies, 3-4; Bruins, 5-2; Titans, 3-5; Matadors, 3-4

Who to watch: For the first time all season on Saturday, a player not named Payne or Harden led the Aggies in points.

Junior Eddie Miller scored a career-high 20 points in the Aggies 80-58 rout of Seattle.

Did you know? The last time the Aggies matched up with the Bruins was in 2007. UC Davis lost 76-48 to a UCLA team that made it to the NCAA Division I Final Four.

Preview: After a 74-62 loss to the Golden Bears at California Wednesday night, the Aggies now have four games to prepare for Big West Conference competition.

One of those contests will be played in Pauley Pavilion – on the home court of UCLA on Dec. 13.

Last season, the 11-time NCAA Champion UCLA finished with a 14-18 record, capped by an 85-72 loss to Cal in the Pac-10 semifinals.

After the 2009-2010 campaign, UCLA lost three seniors, but picked up four freshmen – each one at least a three-star recruit.

Senior guard Mark Payne has been looking forward to the challenge, classifying the game at UCLA to what he considers to be the most competitive games in the Big West.

“Those are definitely good games,” Payne said. “It’s what it’s going to be like when you play at UC Santa Barbara – those kinds of games – where there’s a lot of energy and a lot of people there. You’ve got to figure out how to stick with it, stay focused, and not let adversity or the crowds get to you. Those games are a great test for that kind of setting in league.”

After traveling to North Dakota State on Dec. 16, UC Davis will head back to the Pavilion to take on Southern Utah on Dec. 21. The Aggies will then hit the road to open up conference play at Cal State Fullerton on Dec. 28.

Cal State Fullerton has a 2-5 record, and will play five games, including one against Arizona, before hosting UC Davis.

The Titans will test what has shown to be a strongpoint for the Aggies thus far in the young season – the defense.

While UC Davis held Seattle to just 58 points on Saturday afternoon, Fullerton has averaged 69 in its first seven contests – good for fourth in league.

For some success over winter break, UC Davis looks to maintain a high level of intensity on both sides of the ball.

“You’re going to have to be very efficient in all facets of the game,” coach Gary Stewart said.

– Grace Sprague


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