Jan. 5, 2013
DAVIS, Calif. - For the first time since facing Eastern Washington on Dec. 17, 2012, UC Davis returned to The Pavilion to square-off against the Pacific Tigers in Saturday night's Big West Conference home-opener.
Falling behind early in the second half due to a 10-1 Pacific run, UC Davis trimmed the Tigers' lead to only two after embarking on a 7-2 run of its own midway through the second half. Unfortunately for UC Davis, Pacific was able to pull away in the latter minutes of the game to defeat the host Aggies 74-64.
Sophomore guard Corey Hawkins posted 19 points to lead his team in scoring, sophomore forward J.T. Adenrele ended his evening with 14 points and a team-high seven rebounds.
"J.T. (Adenrele) is bigger and stronger than last year, and has a better understanding of the pace of the game," said head coach Jim Les. "He plays physical each and every game; I respect his talent and will continue to push him and work hard."
Josh Ritchart was the final Aggie (4-9, 0-2 BWC) to drop double-digit points against Pacific (7-7, 1-1 BWC) as the junior swingman finished with 10 points and six rebounds.
After the Aggies withstood Pacific's initial scoring run of the second half, Ryan Sypkens, Adenrele and Hawkins helped pull UC Davis within striking distance with more than 10 minutes still left on the clock.
The trio was responsible for all seven points during the Aggies' run; Hawkins was the first to help his team's cause on his jump-shot in the paint that decreased Pacific's seven-point cushion to five. Shortly thereafter, Tiger forward Ross Rivera pushed it back to seven by making two free throws following a media timeout.
A three by Sypkens, one of two made on the night by the junior guard, and a layup by Adenrele energized the Aggies as they nearly neutralized Pacific's early-half efforts, at that point, to pull within two.
The back-and-forth battle between the teams continued as the game progressed; Pacific responded to the Aggies' run by scoring the following four points to increase its lead back to six, only to watch UC Davis chop it back to its previous margin moments later.
Nearly one minute after Adenrele connected on the second of two free throws, junior guard Tyler Les drained a three from NBA distance to bring the Aggies within two at 46-44, firing up the Aggie faithful in the process.
Pacific then embarked on its final run of the night, a 13-4 streak that ended up being the difference in the game as UC Davis was unable to decrease Pacific's lead to less than nine for the rest of the game.
"We have to get back to work and see the tape, and as I tell them, the tape does not lie. I expect the players to come back with a fire and intensity to make amends. It's my job to hold them accountable, and I expect them to respond," said Les.
UC Davis will continue its season-long three-game homestand on Thursday, Jan. 10, against the Cal Poly Mustangs.