Bittersweet loss for Aggies as they say goodbye to sole senior
The Aggies have been known for their heart-stopping performances at the end of games this season, and their recent match against Hawai’i, ranked number one in the Big West Conference, was no exception.
Thursday, March 3, was a near replica of the game against UC Irvine last Saturday, resulting in another loss off a foul by junior guard Lawrence White and a final attempt to win the game with a three-point shot by junior guard Darius Graham.
“It stings,” Graham said. “But I’ll take those shots every single time if I need to. I’ll shoot with confidence every single time […] I know my hard work will eventually pay off.”
The message was the same as last week from head coach Jim Les: “They deserve a better result.”
Picking up an early lead against the Rainbow Warriors, the Ags played aggressively with immense intensity to stay in the lead, but near the end of the first half Hawai’i managed to catch up just in time to make the second half of the game all or nothing for UC Davis.
The court lit up with an incredible seven steals by the Ags and 16 turnovers by the Rainbow Warriors along with the spectacle that is senior forward Josh Fox.
The senior put up 19 points and eight rebounds against Hawai’i, his last game in the Pavilion, in what he described as a surreal experience.
“I tried not to think about it all week long, but reality hit when the buzzer sounded,” Fox said.
Notably, the senior said goodbye on a good night as some career highs were tied by the Aggies, including junior guard Brynton Lemar’s 15 points and freshman guard Siler Schneider’s eight rebounds.
Fox received a standing ovation at the end of the game as he finished his final home game as an Aggie.
“I’m very sad that it’s coming to an end,” Graham said. “That’s the guy I’ll run through a wall for. It’s the last game here, but it’s definitely not the last game together.”
The sole graduating senior and former Sixth Man of the Year shares that upon graduating from UC Davis, he would prefer to stick with basketball, but has other plans as well.
“If not, open a restaurant or something,” Fox said jokingly. “[I think I’m going to leave this team] with some cooking recipes. But hopefully I showed them to just try hard. Every night I just try to leave it out there, [and] hopefully it shows to the guys […] this is an emotional game. I wear my heart on my sleeve when I play and hopefully I leave that with the guys and they continue this legacy of Davis basketball.”
While Hawai’i picked up their seventh road win (zero losses), the Aggies prepared for their match on Saturday, March 5. They ended up defeating CSUN 87-83 in triple overtime.
With their regular season now behind them, the UC Davis men’s basketball team prepares for the Big West Tournament. They went 11-18 overall, and 6-10 within their conference. The fifth-seeded Aggies will play fourth seed UC Santa Barbara on Thursday.
“They’re giving me everything they have,” Les said. “They are peaking and playing their best basketball at the right time […] when it matters the most.”
Written by: Veronica Vargo – firstname.lastname@example.org