Although most of the UC Davis population continued their slow recovery from New Year’s festivities, the student-athletes on the UC Davis men’s basketball team were already back in action taking on Simpson University in a matchup on Jan. 2. The men welcomed 2014 on a high note, defeating Simpson University 93-69.
The game began fairly even for the two teams, with the score tied at 12-12 to begin the first half. However, the Aggies leapt ahead with an 11-2 run shortly after. Certain players were especially effective on the night, aiding in the Aggies’ win.
Senior Ryan Sypkens was a huge part of that victory. Sypkens racked up a school-record 10 three-pointers in the victory. His 10 threes were not only notable in their own right; they were also made in an efficient manner as he had made 10 of 14 from behind the arc. He also scored a career-high 30 points, altogether having an outstanding first game early in the new year.
“Ryan is an elite shooter,” said head coach Jim Les.
He proved that with his strong performance, making six of his 10 three-pointers right off the bat in the first half.
However, Sypkens was not the only player that displayed his skills in that essential victory. Junior Iggy Nujic also posted a career-high 14 points for the Aggies, while junior Corey Hawkins collected 19 to add to the team’s margin of victory.
Overall, UC Davis dominated Simpson, who fell to a 2-15 record after the loss. The Aggies had a 40-30 rebound advantage, and only had 11 turnovers. At one point, the Aggies led by 30 points. In the second half, the Red Hawks could not get closer than 14 points. Coach Les was happy with the way the team performed.
“I liked the way we moved the ball around tonight,” coach Les said.
The Aggies have not had the strongest start to their season. Prior to the match-up versus Simpson University the team held a 4-10 record. However, with the win the team now moves to 5-10 and can carry some momentum into their Big West Conference opener at Cal State Northridge.
Northridge currently has an 8-7 overall record. However, unlike the Aggies the Matadors lost their Jan. 2 matchup at South Dakota. With a close loss of 76-75, Northridge can’t boast a victory to start 2014 like Davis. With momentum on their side, the Aggies hope to use the win over Simpson to start their conference games off right, with a win in Northridge on Jan. 9.
— Sloan Boettcher