Teams: UC Davis at Pacific
Records: Aggies, 1-16 (0-5); Tigers, 5-11 (1-4)
Where: Alex G. Spanos Center — Stockton, Calif.
When: Saturday at 7 p.m.
Who to watch: Sophomore guard Tyler Les can shoot the basketball with the best in the country.
The son of former NBA player and current UC Davis head coach Jim Les is averaging 9.6 points per game and is shooting above 45 percent from long range this season.
His 45 three-pointers so far this season rate him second in the Big West Conference and 53rd in the country. At San Jose State earlier this season Les tied the UC Davis school record with eight three-pointers in the game.
The sophomore also has 22 assists this season, the fifth-most on the Aggie squad.
“Tyler works extremely hard at his shooting,” Jim Les said. “I think a lot of credit goes to his teammates who seem to find him when he’s hot, and when he’s open he rewards them by knocking down shots.”
Did you know? On Feb. 10, 2010, the Aggies beat the Tigers 62-59 at The Pavilion. The win snapped Pacific’s 49-game winning streak over UC Davis.
Preview: The men’s basketball team has another opportunity on Saturday to stop their 13-game losing streak, which stretches all the way back to mid-November.
The Aggies, standing last in the Big West, head to Stockton to face a Tigers team that has only won five games this year and is second-to-last in the conference.
As always with coach Les, UC Davis is focusing on its defensive game plan this week.
“We’re getting back to some basics, especially defensively,” he said. “We’re making too many mistakes. There’s not enough emphasis on the importance of getting stops and putting out the effort and energy needed to win.”
Like UC Davis, Pacific is a low-scoring team, averaging less than 65 points per game.
The Aggies have struggled to hold teams to their average this season and are last in the Big West in scoring margin, giving up 75 points a game while only scoring 62.
UC Davis scored 80 points in its last contest, though, shooting 50 percent from the field and 54 percent from three-point range.
“I thought we attacked the defenses well [against CSU Northridge],” Les said. “We got to the free throw line, we made our free throws and we shared the ball. Offensively I was very pleased with what we did.”
Another 80-point performance on the road this week would likely put the Aggies in a position to win their first game against a Division I opponent this year.
On the road against a local rival, UC Davis must rebound well and limit their turnovers.
The Tigers are the worst in the Big West in defensive rebounding, while UC Davis is last in turnover margin with 265 turnovers compared to 196 takeaways.
And should the Aggies find themselves in another close second-half game on the road, coach Les is confident that his young team will soon figure it out.
“We need to continue to get better and make the necessary plays coming down the stretch to close out games,” Les said, before noting that three of the five league games so far have come down to two or fewer possessions.
“We’ve got a lot of young guys playing in situations that they haven’t played in before,” Les continued. “Part of it’s a new system and part of it’s learning how to win.”
Hopefully for Aggie fans, the team learns how to win soon.