The nightmarish 2011-12 season continued for the Aggies this week, as the team’s struggles continued in Big West Conference play.
UC Davis opened the week Thursday at Long Beach State, playing a strong first half before being thoroughly outplayed in the second frame.
The Aggies proceeded to let one get away on Saturday, losing to Cal State Northridge after giving away an 11-point second-half lead.
The losses drop the Aggies to 0-5 in conference play, 1-16 overall.
The current 13-game losing streak is the longest for UC Davis since 1953.
Head coach Jim Les was disappointed with the week’s results, but emphasized that his team is continuing to work.
“I told the team they battled their ass off,” Les said. “Nobody likes these circumstances, but they battled.
“We’ll keep working. Keep battling.”
Thursday — Long Beach State 86, UC Davis 58
UC Davis fought hard in the first half of the contest and went into the break only trailing by six against one of the best teams it had faced all year.
The upset was not to be, though.
Long Beach State came out firing in the second half, scoring 11 points in the first three minutes to regain a comfortable lead.
The Aggies are not a high-scoring team, and a counter-run never came from Jim Les’s squad.
The struggling UC Davis team allowed Long Beach State to shoot over 65 percent in the second half, 58.6 percent for the game.
The Aggies were outscored 51-29 in the second frame.
Sophomore Josh Ritchart led UC Davis with 12 points, followed by junior Harrison DuPont with 11.
Saturday — Cal State Northridge 84, UC Davis 80
Possibly the most heartbreaking loss of the Aggies season thus far came Saturday night at the hands of Cal State Northridge.
UC Davis shot a season-high 50 percent from the field and scored 80 points for only the second time this season, but was unable to get defensive stops down the stretch.
Five different times in the second half UC Davis held an 11-point lead, including a 71-60 advantage with only 6:40 remaining in the game.
From then on, however, the UC Davis defense collapsed, allowing CSU Northridge to go on a 16-0 run and take a five-point lead with 2:36 remaining.
The Aggies never recovered from that deficit.
“You’ve just got to finish the game and get stops,” Les said. “They made more plays than us coming down the stretch and that’s part of a young team and a team that’s not used to winning and closing out games.”
UC Davis was only the second team this season to allow CSU Northridge to score more than 75 points, with the Matadors season average hovering around 65 points per game.
“You just see the momentum change,” Les said. “We need some guys to step up and make some plays.
“We went down a stretch when we had the lead. We’ve got to be a team that makes teams play defense and work on that end. When we do that 80 points has got to be enough on a given night.”
CAELUM SHOVE can be reached at email@example.com.