Jan. 14, 2012
NORTHRIDGE - UC Davis sophomore guard Tyler Les hit five three-pointers and scored a team-high 15 points on Saturday night but host Cal State Northridge was able to rally from a late 11-point deficit to edge the Aggies 84-80 in a Big West Conference men's basketball game at The Matadome.
Josh Ritchart and Ryan Howley each had 14 points while Harrison Dupont added 11 for UC Davis which fell to 1-16 overall and 0-5 in the league. The Aggies have lost three of their five Big West games by a total of seven points. Howley had a career-high four three-pointers.
Vinnie McGhee scored 16 points to lead the Matadors who used a 16-0 run with just over six minutes left to turn a 71-60 deficit into a 76-71 lead with 2:36 to go.
UC Davis went down by eight points but later cut it to three on Eddie Miller's driving layup with 20 seconds remaining but it was unable to get any closer.
The Aggies shot a season-high 50 percent (23 of 46) from the field and made their first 19 free throw attempts, finishing 21 of 23 (91.3 percent) from the line. They also made 13 three-pointers - just one off their high mark for the season - and shot 54.2 percent from beyond the arc.
Northridge made 52.5 percent overall and had eight treys, six of them in the second half. Stephan Hicks had 13 points while Stephen Maxwell added 10 for the Matadors.
"You've just got to finish the game and get stops," said Aggie head coach Jim Les. "I told the team they battled (hard) and nobody likes this circumstance, but they battled. They just made more plays than we did coming down the stretch and that's part of a young team and that's part of a team that's not used to winning and closing out games.
"Hopefully we get used to that and hopefully we're able to conquer some of those demons."
UC Davis led for most of the second half, taking a 43-41 halftime advantage and stretching it to 55-45 on Alex Tiffin's layup with 13:27 left. Tiffin's two free throws a minute later pushed the lead to 59-48, an 11-point cushion the Aggies enjoyed three more times, the final occasion coming on Tyrell Corbin's trey from the left wing with 6:40 to go that made it 71-60.
The Matadors, however, held UC Davis scoreless for the next five minutes while embarking on a 16-0 run that was sparked by three-pointers from McGhee, Hicks and Ari Feldman. DuPont's free throw made it 76-72 with 1:33 to play but Northridge was able to hold the Aggies off down the stretch.
UC Davis was productive on the offensive end for the first nearly 34 minutes of the game, opening a 22-9 lead in the first half and only trailing briefly before halftime after taking the lead early in the game.
UC Davis came out of the gates fast, making its first six shots and scoring 15 of 19 points to break an early tie and go up 18-7 six minutes into the game. The lead eventually reached 13 points when Ritchart finished a three-point play for a 22-9 Aggie lead a minute later.
The Aggies, who made all 15 of their free throw attempts in the first half, were also torrid from beyond the arc, canning 6 of their 7 shots from long distance. Howley led the way, making all three of his tries.
Trailing 29-20 with nine minutes to go in the half, Northridge went on a 12-2 run over the next four minutes to lead take their first lead since early on, 32-31. The teams were tied twice more before the Matadors went up 39-37 on a dunk by Hicks.
UC Davis tied it again with 1:06 left before Corbin's jumper gave them a 43-41 halftime lead. The Aggies shot an impressive 61 percent from the field over the first 20 minutes.
Les made a three-pointer early in the second half as the Aggies scored the first five points after the break to go up 48-41. They remained in control, not letting Northridge get any closer than five points until it made its big push in the closing minutes.
Four Aggies had four rebounds each as UC Davis matched the Matadors' total of 28. Corbin added four assists while Howley picked up two steals. Howley's four three-pointers bettered his previous high of three, achieved three times.
UC Davis finishes a three-game roadtrip and tries to snap its 13-game losing streak when it plays in Stockton next Saturday against rival Pacific. Tipoff is 7 p.m.