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Davis, California

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Men’s basketball preview

Teams: UC Davis at Cal State Northridge; at Hawai’i
Records: Aggies 5-10 (1-3); Matadors 9-8 (0-5); Rainbow Wahine 9-7 (3-2)
Where: The Matadome — Northridge, Calif.; Stan Sheriff Center — Honolulu, Hawaii
When: Thursday at 7:05 p.m.; Saturday at 10 p.m.
Who to watch: Junior Ryan Sypkens has been a perimeter threat for the Aggies all season. He has banked 55 three-pointers for UC Davis thus far, earning him a shooting percentage of 48.7 from beyond the arc.

The Elk Grove, Calif., native will be busy this week as the Aggies are traveling to face teams with imposing centers that might neutralize the production of sophomore J.T. Adenrele.

Did you know? Cal State Northridge had a strong start to the season, managing a 9-3 record before Big West Conference play began. Since entering the conference season, the Matadors have gone 0-5 despite averaging about 72 points per game.

Preview: It is time for the Aggies to turn it on. The loss against UC Santa Barbara dropped them to a 1-3 conference record, and they are currently ranked eighth out of the ten teams in the Big West. UC Davis hopes to land in the top eight teams in conference to make it to the conference tournament.

The team’s biggest struggle is its inability to play good, consistent basketball for the duration of the game. It has spurts of incredible play but cannot seem to close out in the final minutes.

Head coach Jim Les wants his players to carry their energy throughout the game.

“We come out with great energy, swagger, whatever you want to call it, and then it falls off somewhere in the middle,” he said.

Although the Matadors are on a losing streak, they will be hungry for a win and UC Davis can not afford to let off the gas on Thursday.

After facing CSU Northridge on Thursday, the Aggies travel to Hawai’i to face off against the Rainbow Wahine.

Hawai’i’s 3-2 conference record has earned it the fourth-place ranking. It started the season hot but has lost its last two games against UC Irvine and Long Beach State.

In order to sweep this weekend, the Aggies need to find the same intensity they had in their epic buzzer beater victory over Cal Poly.

“We cannot let them [the opponent] get into a rhythm early. It digs us into a hole too early,” Les said.

—Kim Carr

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