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RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Junior communication major Siler Schneider scored 11 of his 15 points throughout the second half, and junior communication major TJ Shorts II’s three, hit with 1:22 remaining in Thursday’s Big West Conference game at UC Riverside sealed a 75-65 victory for UC Davis in a game that aired across the nation on ESPN3.
Even though the Aggies ended the game by scoring 17 of the final 25 points throughout the final 5-plus minutes, two clutch plays that took place early in that block of action that created a lead the team possessed for the rest of the night.
On one of Shorts’ game-high four steals, senior communication major Michael Onyebalu nailed a three from the near corner, which turned a one-point deficit into a two-point lead. Also taking place on the play was a UCR foul drawn by senior communication Chima Moneke who was battling for position in the paint, if a rebound was needed.
By hitting an ensuing free throw, Moneke finished a four-point play and the Aggies never trailed for the rest of the night.
On UC Davis’ next possession, the Aggies scored another two fast break points when Moneke threw down a monster dunk on Shorts’ alley-oop feed from three-point territory. With the final media timeout taking place immediately thereafter, the only noise that was heard throughout SRC Arena came from Aggie supporters in attendance and every player in a UC Davis uniform.
Moneke finished with 20 or more points for the sixth time this season with his game-high 21, in addition to leading all players with eight rebounds.
With Thursday’s victory, UC Davis (the sixth-ranked public school in the nation) improved to 11-5 overall and 2-0 in league play.
Since Cal State Fullerton narrowly escaped UC Irvine with a three-point victory, Saturday’s showdown on the Titans’ home court, a game that will also air on ESPN3, will feature the BWC’s final two teams with an undefeated conference record.
UC Riverside will continue its season with respective records of 5-12 and 0-3.
“I told the guys after the game that good teams find a way to grind out a win when they are not playing their best,” said UC Davis head coach Jim Les. “When you are on the road, you will eventually face some adversity. By knowing that is coming, it is easier to handle.
“We just hung around and kept grinding, the guys stayed together, which allowed the staff to coach them, and make some adjustments. I thought we wore them down thanks to our bench, which played well and allowed our starters to get some rest,” Les added.
In addition to Moneke and Schneider, Shorts finished with a game-high five assists and 11 points. Punctuated by that late three, Onyebalu became the fourth Aggie double-digit scorer by chipping in another 10.
Once action resumed following Moneke’s dunk, UC Davis’ defense — ranked No. 1 in the league — never allowed UCR to generate momentum, or climb within striking distance, for the rest of the night.
By connecting on five of their final six free throw attempts, all taking place with less than a minute left in the game, UC Davis pulled away to win their fourth game in the last five played by a game-high margin that doubled as Thursday's final score.
UC DAVIS 75, UC RIVERSIDE 65
UC DAVIS (11-5, 2-0 BWC)
Moneke, Chima 6-9 8-12 21; Schneider, Siler 7-11 1-2 15; Shorts II, TJ 4-6 2-4 11; Onyebalu, Michael 2-6 4-5 10; Hennings, Arell 1-2 2-2 5; Mooney, Joe 2-8 0-0 5; John, AJ 1-4 2-2 4; Goode, Garrison 0-2 2-2 2; Russell, Colin 1-2 0-0 2; Jackson, Delveion 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-50 21-29 75.
UC RIVERSIDE (5-12, 0-3 BWC)
Martin, Dikymbe 6-13 4-5 19; Larsson, Alex 7-10 0-0 14; Sylvester, DJ 2-8 4-4 9; Jackson, James 3-6 0-2 6; Dijkstra, Menno 2-2 0-0 5; Rosser, Brandon 2-2 0-0 4; Rwahwire, Eric 1-5 0-0 3; Murray, Chance 1-9 1-2 3; Diallo, Idy 1-1 0-0 2; Kennedy, Ajani 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 25-59 9-13 65.
UC Davis........................ 30 45 - 75
UC Riverside.................. 36 29 - 65
3-point goals--UC Davis 6-18 (Onyebalu, Michael 2-4; Mooney, Joe 1-6; Hennings, Arell 1-1; Moneke, Chima 1-1; Shorts II, TJ 1-1; John, AJ 0-2; Schneider, Siler 0-3), UC Riverside 6-21 (Martin, Dikymbe 3-7; Rwahwire, Eric 1-4; Sylvester, DJ 1-3; Dijkstra, Menno 1-1; Murray, Chance 0-4; Jackson, James 0-2). Fouled out--UC Davis-None, UC Riverside-Diallo, Idy. Rebounds--UC Davis 32 (Moneke, Chima 8), UC Riverside 30 (Murray, Chance 7). Assists--UC Davis 14 (Shorts II, TJ 5), UC Riverside 20 (Sylvester, DJ 5). Total fouls--UC Davis 19, UC Riverside 25. Technical fouls--UC Davis-Moneke, Chima, UC Riverside-Sylvester, DJ. A-870
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