Jan. 12, 2012
LONG BEACH, Calif. - Josh Ritchart scored 12 points for UC Davis but Eugene Phelps had 23 points and 11 rebounds for host Long Beach State which broke open a close game at halftime to beat UC Davis 86-58 in a Big West Conference men's basketball game on Thursday night.
The Aggies trailed just 35-29 at halftime but Long Beach State, behind 17 second-half points by Phelps, quickly rebuilt the lead to double-digits as it pulled away for the win.
UC Davis dropped to 1-15 on the season and 0-4 in the Big West while Long Beach State, the preseason favorite to win the conference title, improved to 11-6 overall and 4-0 in the league.
Guard Ennis James picked up 18 points for Long Beach State, T.J. Robinson had 12 and guard Casper Ware added 11.
For the fourth straight game UC Davis went down by double-digits in the first half but for the fourth consecutive time the Aggies battled back. Long Beach State, which scored the first six points of the game, went up 12-2 on James Ennis' bucket before stretching it to a dozen on a pair of free throws from Nick Shepherd.
A three-pointer from Richart nearly eight minutes into the game - the Aggies' first field goal of the contest - and a basket from Eddie Miller brought UC Davis to within 14-7. The 49ers again pushed it to 10 at 19-9 midway through the half before a a 7-0 Aggie run - which included a trey from the left wing by Howley - sliced the deficit to just 19-16.
The Aggies stayed within striking distance the rest of the half, getting to within 35-29 at halftime after Tyrell Corbin's put-back on a fastbreak just before the break. Corbin had five rebounds in the opening 20 minutes, surpassing his previous career-high for a game by two, as UC Davis outboarded Long Beach State 18-14.
Long Beach State shot 50 percent from the field in the first half but the Aggies were close to that, making 48 percent (12 of 25).
The 49ers, however, wasted little time rebuilding their lead to double-digits after the break, scoring 11 points in the first three minutes, including nine from Phelps, as it eventually took a 46-30 lead. Howley's second trey of the game made it a 13-point game.
Phelps continued to assert himself, scoring 15 points in the first nine minutes to start the second half as Long Beach State went up 58-40. UC Davis got to within 14 points but the 49ers were able to stretch the advantage down the stretch.
Long Beach State outscored UC Davis 51-29 in the second half, shooting 65.6 (21 of 32). It was 58.6 percent from the field overall.
The Aggies were only outrebounded 35-33 with Ritchart posting a team-high six boards. He was also 3 for 6 from beyond the arc and had two assists - one of four Aggies with two.
Phelps finished 11 of 16 from the field and had four offensive rebounds in his 11 total.
UC Davis will look to end its 12-game losing streak on Saturday when it travels to Cal State Northridge for a 7 p.m. Big West matchup.
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