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Davis, California

Friday, March 1, 2024

UC Davis goes cold in the northwest

The UC Davis men’s basketball team is a work in progress.

Sunday’s 59-79 loss on the road against Eastern Washington was the Aggies’ third loss in a row and drops their record to 1-6.

While the early season results may not inspire fans, the team continues to make strides as it adapts to Head Coach Jim Les’s defensive style.

The issue plaguing UC Davis has been a lack of consistency, which was a problem last week against Sacramento State and again this weekend in Washington.

The Aggies were sound defensively in the first frame against the Eagles, but got away from their strengths in the second period.

“I was pretty happy in the first half,” Les said. “We were more active [and] more mobile, [but] when you come to the second half you have to go win a game. People aren’t going to give you a game.

“It comes down to getting defensive stops.”

Les changed his starting on lineup for Sunday’s contest, replacing center Alex Tiffin with freshman forward J.T. Adenrele, the first career start for the Roseville, Calif. native.

Josh Ritchart was the other forward, with Tyrell Corbin, Harrison DuPont and Ryan Howley playing as guards.

The Aggies were tough defensively in the first period, holding the Eagles to 37 percent shooting.

Ritchart was the high scorer for UC Davis, posting 19 points on 7-12 shooting; 5-10 from behind the arc.

Five three-pointers tied the career high for Ritchart.

After falling behind early in the contest, the Aggies fought back, tying the game at 26 before finishing the half down by just two.

The game was tied again at 46 with 13 minutes remaining, before the Eagles went on a dominant 19-1 run, taking control of the contest.

Eastern Washington shot 60 percent from the field in the second half, outscoring the Aggies were 30-48 in the final frame.

“[If] you let players at this level play to their strengths, bad things are going to happen,” Les said. “We haven’t been able to put two halves together and that’s a big key for this team.”

On their end, the Aggies shot 35.4 percent from the field in the game, below their 42.9 percent season average.

They got to the free throw line 26 times, but only converted on 17 tries.

The Aggies also had 17 turnovers, leading to 21 Eastern Washington points.

“We missed some opportunities to score and then took that to the defensive end,” Les said. “On the road you want to give yourself a chance to be in the game … and it comes down to defensive stops.”

You can follow CAELUM SHOVE on twitter @CalAggieHoops or you can e-mail him at sports@theaggie.org.


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