UC Davis Aggies defeat Long Beach State 84-75
The UC Davis Aggies did not let the foggy weather outside affect their play on Jan. 17, defeating the Long Beach State 49ers in a non-conference game at home 84-75. The Aggies came into the game fourth in the Big West Conference with an 11-6 overall record and a 2-1 conference record for the 2017-18 season. In earning its 17th consecutive win at home, the team advances its home record to 6-0 on the season, and has won 39 out of the last 46 games played at home.
“I think that guys are taking pride in the home streak and I think they like that and take pride in that, it means something to them,” said head coach Jim Les. “The other part of that is that to be in the conference race in late February/early March, you have to win your home games. This league is too tough to win on the road so you can give other teams the opportunity to take those home wins. I like their [the team’s] focus and them embracing the streak, they aren’t running from it, they are running toward it.”
The first half was back-and-forth between the two teams where both were at the free throw line for majority of the half. UC Davis racked up eight team fouls in the half just shy of Long Beach’s 10. For the Aggies, junior guard Siler Schneider led the way in scoring and rebounds in the half, putting up 14 points, three rebounds, four assists and hitting three of four three-pointers taken. Junior guard TJ Shorts II helped lead the assists category as well with four in the half. As a team, UC Davis shot 53 percent from the field compared to the 49ers’ 48 percent. Exactly half of the Aggies first half points came from three pointers, the team draining 7-11 from the perimeter. Going into the second half, UC Davis was looking to keep its lead and ride out the win.
“We knew we had to just keep being aggressive,” Schneider said. “We just had to keep doing what we do in practice, being aggressive in the offensive end and getting a good shot while just letting our defense lead to the offense.”
The Aggies started strong the second half, pushing their lead to as high as 11 in the first five minutes of play. However, a drought from UC Davis — only scoring one point in about a four minute span — allowed for the 49ers to cut down the difference and keep the game close. As the game progressed, it was all Aggie offense and Long Beach could not do anything to catch the deficit, bringing the final score to 84-75 in favor of UC Davis.
The game was one of tying and breaking career records for many Aggie players. Senior forward Chima Moneke tied his career high in blocks, and Shorts II contributed 15 points on 6-12 field goals while earning seven assists, tying his career-high in the assists category. Junior forward AJ John surpassed his career-high in threes, points and tied his career field goals made.
“My teammates found me in open spots and I haven’t hit a shot in a few games so it felt good to finally break that barrier,” John said. “We were able to knock down shots and play well offensively. I think we have a higher level to get to defensively and we know that but we are grateful to come out with the win tonight.”
Despite a large part of the roster contributing big plays, the big break was by Schneider. His 29 points and 11 out of 19 field goals made in the game were both career-highs. He contributed four three’s to the 10 total scored by UC Davis, while the six assists he dished out tied his career high mark in that category.
“The takeaway was that they were going to pack in the zone and try to take Chima [Moneke] away,” Les said about the game as a whole. “We have to get back to defense. I think we had too many breakdowns which allowed them [Long Beach] to hang around in the game and we have to get better on the defensive end. Our offense won it for us tonight but that isn’t a recipe we want to have moving forward.”
Continuing their conference play away against Hawai’i on Jan. 20, the Aggies took the 77-72 loss, pushing their overall and conference records to 12-7 and 3-2, respectively.
Playing at home tonight against CSUN at 7 p.m., UC Davis will surely look to keep on rolling through the season on the winning side of the ball.
Written by: Ryan Bugsch — email@example.com