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Monday, April 15, 2024

Aggie pride shines through in nationally-televised game

On March 1, ESPN returned to the UC Davis campus. The 5 p.m. game was broadcast nationally as the Aggies played the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos. Though the game was ultimately a statistical loss as the Gauchos defeated the Aggies, 67-54, the heart and effort that the team put in along with the fans and students who attended left most feeling like the evening was not in vain after all.

The game was not only nationally televised, it was also senior night for the men’s basketball team. The lone senior on the team is Ryan Sypkens, and he was honored before the start of the game to thunderous applause from the more than 5,000 fans who packed the ARC Pavilion to support the Aggies.

“It was a blessing to have a senior night with a packed house, in this environment, on a nationally-televised game,” Sypkens said. “I really felt the support from the community before, and during the game. I cannot thank them enough.”

Pavilion manager and UC Davis alumnus Paul Maginnity worked hard to make this game a reality and liked the response from the fans.

“I was surprised to see students already lined up at the entrance when I arrived in the morning,” Maginnity said. “I was pleased with the amount of energy from the Aggie Pack. I am glad that I was able to experience this and hope that the students had a good time.”

In the midst of the Aggie Pack attending the game was fourth-year political science major Omar Ornelas.

“It was amazing! A group of us went to the tailgate and hung out with all the Aggie fans and you could just tell that everybody was excited for the game,” Ornelas said. “The Aggie Pack was killing it and it was just a good feeling being there. I think we showed ESPN why they should keep coming back.”

Fourth-year economics major Tony Miller attended the game as well and agreed.

“While we may have lost the game, the atmosphere in the Pavilion was a lot of fun,” Miller said. “People were excited for the ESPN game and it showed before and after the game.”

The enthusiasm for the game was felt and seen on campus in the days leading up to it as well.

“I saw people getting pumped up for it a lot on my way to the gym,” third-year computer science and engineering Kevin Parry said.

It seems that UC Davis’ Aggie pride was heard again as the final two games of the season for the men’s basketball team will be broadcast to mass audiences as well. On March 6, ESPN3 will stream the game at UC Riverside live across the country, and on March 8, Fox Sports Prime Ticket will show the game at UC Irvine regionally throughout Southern California.

These televised games are indicative of a basketball program on the rise and of a fanbase hungry for sustained success. As the team develops, so too will the opportunities to showcase the school on a national level.

 

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