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Davis, California

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Men’s basketball preview

Teams: UC Davis vs. Cal Poly; vs. UC Santa Barbara
Records: Aggies, 4-9 (0-2); Mustangs, 7-6 (3-0); Gauchos, 5-9 (1-2)
Where: Pavilion — Davis, Calif.
When: Thursday at 7 p.m.; Saturday at 7 p.m.
Who to watch: The Aggies’ bench has contributed much to their performances this year, and sophomore Clint Bozner is the UC Davis sixth man. His play during the break was exceptional and he posted career-best numbers during the Aggies’ trip to Utah.

The Corona, Calif. native stands at 6’8” and he uses his strength and surprising agility to give opponents fits on the court.

The team was struggling against Utah State when Bozner entered the game and banked in some much-needed points for the Aggie offense. More importantly, his defensive performance sparked a 15-point UC Davis run when he blocked an attempted dunk by Utah State.

Did you know? Cal Poly is ranked second in the Big West Conference behind Hawai’i. Both teams stand at 3-0 and UC Davis will have to work hard to break its hot streak.

Preview: The Aggies are standing at 0-2 in conference. They have been plagued by one frustrating loss after another.

There are currently five Davis players holding top-10 rankings in the nation for various components of the game, and these uncharacteristic losses are leaving Aggie fans wondering what can be done to turn the record around.

A win over Cal Poly would go a long way towards righting the ship. This squad has all the talent in the world but hasn’t been able to utilize it for the duration of a game.

They kicked off the conference season with an overtime loss to UC Irvine and followed it up with late-game disappointment against Pacific.

UC Davis needs to find a break somewhere, and this game in front of an inspiring home crowd might be the turning point its season desperately needs. These struggles are not a result of poor work ethic, and perhaps that is the most frustrating thing about the losses. The energy is there. The individual stats are there. The record is not indicative of this team’s abilities, and its head coach Jim Les knows it.

“I expect the players to come back with a fire and intensity to make amends. It’s my job to hold them accountable, and I expect them to respond,” Les said.

Cal Poly is red-hot as it heads to the Pavilion. The Mustangs have won their past three games, all Big West matchups, and currently stand undefeated in conference. They are hungry to nab that top spot from Hawai’i, but UC Davis is starving for a win.

The players on this team are not content with losing, and they can be expected to come out hard, fast and strong. The Aggies need to battle every second of this game because they need this win and complacency will not give it to them.

Following the game, UC Davis will also host UC Santa Barbara, which usually finishes near the top of the conference. The Gauchos have had a bit of a rough start and could be a jumping spot for the Aggies to return to winning ways.

UC Davis dropped two games to UCSB last year; however, they have an entirely different team this year.

The contest against rival Cal Poly tips off at 7 p.m. on Thursday. Come cheer for your UC Davis Aggies and give them the help they need to topple the Mustangs and start a hot streak of their own.

— Kim Carr


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