78.6 F

Davis, California

Friday, April 19, 2024

Men’s Basketball Preview

Teams: UC Davis vs. Long Beach State
Records: Aggies 5-25 (3-13); 49ers 22-8 (15-1)
Where: Honda Center — Anaheim, Calif.
When: Tonight at 6 p.m.; TBD
Who to watch: While defense will be paramount for the Aggies tonight against Long Beach State, the team must also find a way to score above its season-average 62.6 points per game.

Whether or not UC Davis can do so could depend on its success from behind the three-point line, and no Aggie shoots it better or more often from long range than sophomore guard Tyler Les.

Having made 79 three-pointers so far this season, Les needs just five more to eclipse the single-season UC Davis record for three-pointers made.

The sophomore has made five or more three-pointers in a game twice this season, including a season-high eight threes on nine attempts at San Jose State in December.

Did you know? The Aggies finished the regular season with a 5-25 overall record. It was the first 25-loss season in school history.
Preview: The UC Davis men’s basketball team will play in its first postseason game since 2010 when it takes on Long Beach State tonight in the Honda Center.

For nearly every member of the Aggie roster, tonight’s contest represents the first NCAA-playoff basketball game of his career.

Senior Adam Malik played 19 minutes over two games in the Big West Tournament two seasons ago, and will be the only UC Davis player on the floor tonight with postseason experience.

Juniors Ryan Howley and Ryan Sypkens also played in those tournament games, but both players suffered season-ending injuries earlier this year and will not play a part in the tournament.

For the untested Aggies on the floor tonight, the goal is simple.

“This is a man’s game,” said coach Jim Les. “You’ve got to play strong and play aggressively. [Have] urgency in your effort; there’s no tomorrow.”

The way Long Beach State dominated its conference schedule this season, it will take a miraculous effort for UC Davis to advance in the tournament.

The 49ers won all but one of their Big West games, including two earlier wins against the Aggies by 28 and 20 points.

Compared with the Aggies’ young roster, Long Beach State’s squad is loaded with experience. Its starters include back-to-back Big West Conference Player of the Year Casper Ware, as well as All Conference First Team members Larry Anderson and T.J. Robinson.

Fortunately for UC Davis, Anderson, the Big West Defensive Player of the Year, may not be playing in the tournament. The senior 49er sprained his knee in the final game of the regular season and is considered highly doubtful for the weekend.

If the Aggies are going to succeed, they must do so with smart offensive possessions, says Coach Les.

Led by guards Paolo Mancasola and Tyrell Corbin, Aggies Eddie Miller, Harrison DuPont, Josh Ritchart, J.T. Adenrele and Les have all shown the ability to be efficient double-digit scorers. The key will be whether three of four of them can all have big performances together, something that hasn’t happened often this season.

The defense will also have to tighten up tonight for UC Davis, which gave up 86 and 89 points against Long Beach State in the two earlier games this season.

The Aggies have only scored more than 80 points once this season.

“Our defense is going to have to be solid, aggressive and intense,” coach Les said. “We’ve got to make them work to score points … and we have to be able to rebound.

“We need to go down there … and just play our game. We’ve got nothing to lose.”

If the Aggies are able to complete the upset, they will face the tournament’s highest remaining seed on Friday.

— Caelum Shove


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here