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Davis, California

Friday, February 23, 2024

Aggie men’s basketball can’t keep up with Aloha spirit

Men’s basketball faced Hawai’i on Jan. 23, at the Pavillion. They looked to add another notch to their win column after defeating Cal State Fullerton on Jan. 18.  However, to the team’s dismay, the Aggies couldn’t bring home the victory, as Hawai’i came out on top with a final score of 90-73.

The game started off promising, with the Aggies at one point in the game leading by as many as seven points in the first half. A three-pointer from freshman forward Georgi Funtarov and baskets from junior forward Iggy Nujic and senior guard Ryan Sypkens would give UC Davis an early 15-8 lead. The lead, however, wouldn’t last, as Hawai’i surged ahead, leading by 11 points at halftime with a score of 45-34. The Aggies were able to slash a 20-point deficit in the second half to single digits. Yet, it still would not be enough, as the Aggies were unable to retake the lead at any point in the rest of the game.

Several positives still can be taken from the Jan. 23 matchup. Junior guard Corey Hawkins, who has been solid all season, led the team with 21 points on the night, 12 of which coming from behind the three-point line. Nujic raked up a season-high 17 points followed closely behind by Funtarov and Sypkens, who each had 10 points apiece. Funtarov also performed well defensively, with a team-high six rebounds.

Looking beyond offensive and defensive statistics from the game, Sypkens continued to add to his overall career numbers. After the game, Sypkens now stands alone at No. 4 in UC Davis history for all-time three-point field goals made with 285.

The team as a whole also performed fairly well around the court, with a .509 shooting percent overall, not far behind Hawai’i’s .582. The Aggies also shot nine of 13 from the free throw line. But when it comes down to it the overall numbers don’t lie, and Hawai’i outscored UC Davis, coming away with that 90-73 victory.

This now puts the Aggies at an overall record of 6-14 and 1-4 in Big West Conference play. The team must step it up in the last 11 league games of the season if they expect to have any chance of making the trip down south in mid-March for the Big West Tournament. With every single remaining game of the year counting towards their conference record, any more slip-ups could cost them dearly.

The Aggies are on the road for their next two match-ups. They first play Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo on Jan. 30 in at 7 p.m. Continuing south, UC Davis will then face UC Santa Barbara Feb. 1 before returning home on Feb. 6 to take on Cal State Northridge.

— Sloan Boettcher


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