In 2010, the UC Davis men’s basketball team defeated Pacific for the first time in 70 years.
It didn’t take quite that long for the Aggies to repeat their victorious efforts over their Big West Conference rival this time. Five players scored in double figures for UC Davis, led by Harrison Dupont’s career-high 17 points and eight rebounds, as the Aggies sent the fans home happy after a 73-64 win over the Tigers on Valentine’s Day.
With the victory, UC Davis improved to 3-22 overall and 2-11 in conference play, and is riding its first winning streak of the season.
The Aggies came out shooting well, hitting 5-11 from three-point range and shooting over 45 percent from the floor in the first half. Tyler Les and Eddie Miller each had two shots from long distance in the opening frame, while Josh Ritchart contributed one of his own.
Back-to-back three-pointers from Les and Ritchart gave UC Davis its first lead of the game, 17-14, 10 minutes into the contest, prompting Pacific coach Bob Thomason to call a timeout.
The team’s played back and forth for the remainder of the period, and UC Davis took a 31-30 lead into the break.
In déjà vu fashion, Tyler Les opened the second half with a three-pointer followed by a Ritchart three-pointer, and right on cue, freshman J.T. Adenrele stepped up and intercepted a pass on defense leading to another Aggie basket.
The 39-30 lead was short-lived, however, as Pacifc rallied to take a 42-41 advantage with 12:30 remaining, prompting Jim Les to call a timeout.
The Aggies responded to their coach, running out to a 51-42 advantage. After two Tiger free throws, Dupont converted a three-point play to give UC Davis a 54-44 hold over Pacific. Dupont was a key cog for the Aggies in the second half, scoring 14 of his 17 points in the period.
UC Davis pulled to a 60-47 lead with just over 5:30 to play, and held on for the win.
Adenrele was a strong performer throughout the night, helping the Aggies on offense, on the boards and defensively in the center of their 2-3 zone.
“J.T. is a game-changer, and we see that in practice,” said head coach Jim Les. “Our term with him is unleash the beast on game night, because when he does it in practice, he’s dominant for us.”
Adenrele finished with six points, six rebounds, three steals and a block.
Tyler Les contributed with 15 points while freshman Paulo Mancasola added 13.
Jim Les was pleased with his team’s efforts in all facets of the game.
“I thought we took advantage of opportunities for drivers to drive the ball and opportunities to get the ball to shooters, and they stepped up and made shots,” coach Les added. “I thought consistently all night our defense did a nice job. I’m pleased that these guys are just sticking with the process and continuing to work to get better and [play] together.”
UC Davis takes a break from Big West action this weekend as it travels to face Northern Arizona in an ESPN Sears Bracketbusters match-up at 6:30 p.m. Saturday night.
RUSSELL EISENMAN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.