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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Basketball season ramps up with home-game win as Aggies beat CSUN

A record-high game with a final score of 95 to 75


By MEGAN JOSEPH — sports@theaggie.org


With tensions high on the court, the Aggies played a stellar game against the California State University, Northridge (CSUN) Matadors on Jan. 11. The game began on a rough note with both teams feeling the pressure, acquiring multiple fouls within 10 minutes of the first quarter. Despite both teams’ fouls, it did not take the Aggies long to gain control of the game and the lead.

With a season-high score of 95 points from the Aggies, fans saw strong performances from all over the court, including from fourth-year Kane Milling, third-year Ty Johnson and fourth-year Elijah Pepper. All three players put up a minimum of 20 points in the game, leading the Aggies to control the court. 

Following the recent three-point overtime loss against UC Irvine, the Aggies have been looking for a comeback to their winning streak. After this record game, the Aggies have not only achieved their comeback but so much more. 

Milling, the leading scorer in the game, attained a new personal best of 27 points with his consistently accurate three-pointers. The France native scored in the double figures early on in the game, giving the Aggies the upper hand for the rest of the time on the clock. Since joining the UC Davis team in 2021, Millings has become a force to be reckoned with on the court. As one of the players with the most starts this year, fans can expect to see a lot more from Millings as the season continues. 

Another notable performance in the game — especially regarding free throws — came from Ty Johnson. In most Aggie games, Johnson can be seen contributing to both ends of the court. A dynamic player, he not only scored a total of 20 points against the Matadors but also had a total of four assists. Johnson contributed to the Aggies’ aggressive demeanor in the game with his fast movements on the court and dribbling ability. 

Last but not least in this stellar trio is Elijah Pepper. Pepper, seen wearing jersey number 40 on the court, is an impressive player with his all-time leading scorer record for the Aggies, as well as his ability to distribute the ball. Pepper demonstrated his skills as a well-rounded player as he contributed 20 points and seven assists to the team. As a key performer to the Aggies’ offense this year, Pepper will be pivotal to the team’s ability to make it to the playoffs. 

With the Aggies having such a successful first two quarters, CSUN was left scrambling to stay in the game. At the beginning of the third quarter, CSUN staged a strong comeback with a newfound determination that earned them a considerable amount of points. However, the Aggies had defensive players prepared for a challenge. Forcing 15 turnovers, the Aggie defense prevented a significant amount of CSUN drives to the basket. Fourth-year Niko Rocak had a particularly impressive defensive performance with his considerable amount of steals. 

Rocak, playing as center for the Aggies, currently leads the team in blocks this season. Although Rocak had a decent amount of fouls in this game, it didn’t show in his gameplay, allowing him to become an important part of the Aggies’ 32 total rebounds. As this is only Rocak’s second season playing for UC Davis, his bond with the team is shown through the group’s effective communication on the court. 

Another valuable member of the Aggie’s defense is fourth-year Francesco Borra. Borra proved to be indispensable against CSUN as he kept the Aggie team spirit high, especially when he had a steal-turned-dunk that left the crowd cheering. Standing at seven feet tall, Borra is a great addition to the Davis defense with his unmatched ability to block and rebound.

Overall, the Aggies have really come into their own at the start of a season that leaves fans enthusiastic about what is next. With the team’s unity, communication and power, the Aggies are definitely a strong candidate for the playoffs — and maybe even further. 


Written by: Megan Joseph  — sports@theaggie.org



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