Event: “Blackout Night” (Thursday) presented by Sequoia Equities
Teams: UC Davis vs. UC Riverside; UC Irvine
Records: Aggies 6-12, (1-5); Highlanders 7-10, (2-3); Anteaters 10-10, (3-3)
Where: The Pavilion
When: Thursday at 7 p.m.; Saturday at 7 p.m.
Who to watch: Joe Harden has covered a lot of ground this year.
The senior guard out of Acampo, Calif. has averaged 14.6 points per game – roughly one quarter of the team’s average points per game.
Harden is shooting 44 percent from the field, with six blocks and 23 steals.
Additionally, he leads the team in both offensive and defensive rebounds with 25 and 81, respectively.
Did you know? At this point last season, UC Davis had a record of 7-11.
The 2009-2010 squad made it to the quarterfinals of the Big West Conference Tournament.
Preview: After Saturday’s 87-54 loss to Big West Conference rival Pacific, coach Gary Stewart said the Aggies are in a slump.
“We’re missing defensive assignments and rotations, and offensively, we don’t have continuity,” Stewart said. “We look like a team that’s playing our first exhibition game. We’re struggling on both sides of the ball, and we don’t have an identity.”
While last weekend’s loss illuminated a number of areas in need of fixing, senior guard Mark Payne says the uphill battle starts with getting boards.
“[Rebounding] has been plaguing us the last four or five games,” Payne said. “That’s something we’ve been talking about and I think that’s what’s going to need to be corrected before we can start turning it around.”
The Aggies rank last in the Big West with a -10.2 rebounding margin.
Fortunately for UC Davis, however, UC Riverside and UC Irvine also sit in the bottom half in that category.
The Highlanders have been out rebounded this year by an average of 1.4 per game, and the Anteaters by an average of 4.7.
Nonetheless, UC Davis will face a high-scoring opponent in UC Irvine, who will be coming off an 86-76 victory over conference leader Long Beach State.
The Aggies will need a healthy and focused lineup heading into week five of Big West play.
Though Payne and senior Todd Lowenthal returned from injury to play last weekend, their conditions were still being evaluated as of Saturday after the game.
Thursday’s game will be televised on Comcast Sportsnet California.
– Grace Sprague