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Davis, California

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Tales of two halves

The UC Davis men’s basketball team overcame a 19-point halftime deficit at Northern Arizona on Saturday night to earn its first road win of the year, beating the Lumberjacks 70-65.

The team carried the momentum into Monday’s contest at Seattle University and led the Redhawks by 5 points at halftime. The Aggies couldn’t maintain the lead, though, as a first half shoulder injury to Paolo Mancasola left the team without a point guard. Regular starting point guard Tyrell Corbin was also unavailable for Monday’s contest, which the Aggies ultimately lost 59-73.

Neither of the President’s day weekend games were a part of the Big West Conference schedule, and UC Davis now has an overall record of 4-23.

Saturday — UC Davis 70, Northern Arizona 60

Still in search of their first road win of the year, the Aggies traveled to Northern Arizona over the weekend to play in an ESPN Sears BracketBuster game.

After a listless first half that saw UC Davis trail by 21 points with only a few minutes remaining, the Aggies came out firing in the second half.

The previously stagnant UC Davis team made nine of its first 11 field goal attempts in the second half, with five of them coming from behind the arc. A layup by Harrison DuPont tied the game at 50-50 with 11:47 remaining in the contest.

The game would be tied twice more, the final time at 61-61 with just under three minutes remaining. The Aggies never trailed in the final 10 minutes of the game.

Head coach Jim Les said that he challenged his team’s pride at halftime following the slow start.

“We were running in mud,” Les said. “We were a step, maybe two steps slow in everything we did [in the first half].

“I challenged them a little bit. It wasn’t overly emphatic; it was just a little challenge to their pride. Give these guys a ton of credit … this was the player’s win. This was them gutting it out, not giving in, battling and going to fight to get a road win.”

The Aggies shot 63.6 percent from the field in the second half and 51 percent in the game. They outscored the Lumberjacks 44-20 in the second half.

DuPont led UC Davis with 19 points and was named College Sports Madness Big West Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for his performance.

Monday — Seattle University 73, UC Davis 59

In contrast to their performance earlier in the long weekend, the Aggies started Monday’s contest against Seattle in good form.

UC Davis shot 41.9 percent from the field in the first half compared to just 28.6 percent for their opponents. The strong defense and solid shooting allowed the Aggies to open up a 14-point lead after just 12 minutes of play.

It would quickly fall apart for UC Davis as Seattle used a 12-minute 37-6 run that spanned both halves to turn a four-point deficit into a 56-39 lead.

The Aggies could not cut Seattle’s lead to less than 14 points over the final 13 minutes of the game.

One of the reasons for the Aggies’ struggles in the second half was the lack of a true point guard. Without Corbin for the game, the loss on Mancasola partway through the first half forced UC Davis players into uncomfortable positions, and the offense struggled as a result.

The Aggies committed 22 turnovers in the contest and shot only 36.8 percent from the field, 25 percent from three. UC Davis was only 10-21 from the free throw line.

Josh Ritchart was the leading scorer for the Aggies with 16 points. He also had 12 rebounds, recording his second career double-double.

CAELUM SHOVE can be reached at sports@theaggie.org.


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