Jan. 18, 2014
DAVIS, Calif. - Ryan Sypkens scored all 15 of his points in the second half, Corey Hawkins led all scorers with 22 points and UC Davis used a big second half to rally past Cal State Fullerton, 69-61, in a Big West Conference men's basketball game on Saturday night at The Pavilion.
Iggy Nujic came off the bench to add 10 points for UC Davis which snapped a three-game losing streak and improve to 6-13 overall and 1-3 in the Big West. The Titans, coached by Aggie alumnus Dedrique Taylor, were paced by Alex Harris' 19 points and Michael Williams' 33. Fullerton dropped to 6-11 overall and 1-2 in the conference.
"We won this game on defense," said Hawkins after the game when asked about the key to the Aggies' victory. "We held them to 29 points in the first half, and limited their quality scoring chances throughout the rest of the game."
The Aggies trailed 31-23 early in the second half, but a 21-11 run over the next 11 minutes, capped by the second of two straight three-pointers from Sypkens gave the Aggies a 44-42 lead.
By canning three shots from distance against the Titans, Sypkens now sits alongside Utah State's Tony Brown and UNLV's Anderson Hunt in fourth place in league history with 283 career three-point field goals made.
Nujic made one from long range with 4:38 to go, stretching the lead to 54-46 as UC Davis eventually built its lead to as many as 11 points before winning by eight.
UC Davis shot 61 percent (14 for 23) from the field in the second half and was 50 percent (5 for 10) from beyond the arc. Sypkens was a big part of that attack, making three of them while scoring 15 points after intermission.
Hawkins hit 8 of 16 shots while also tying Justin Dueck, and Avery Johnson with a team-high five rebounds.
Dueck's five rebounds more than double his previous career best of two set last season, his new career high was set in his first start as an Aggie.
UC Davis committed just 10 turnovers in the game while finishing with seven steals, including a game-high four from guard Olivier-Paul Betu who also set a new career best. UC Davis also held a commanding 29-10 advantage on points scored off turnovers and held the Titans to just 38 percent from the floor.
Those 29 points scored off 17 Titan miscues are a season-high total.
"I always preach to the team that you play the way you practice; I thought Justin (Dueck) and OB (Olivier-Paul Betu) set the tone defensively with the way they played tonight," said head coach Jim Les.
Led by Sypkens and Nujic, UC Davis' bench also outscored the Titans 28-19.
"It's nice to get our first conference win, especially at home. Now we have to go back to work at practice and make adjustments for our next game," said Hawkins.
The Aggies will conclude their season-long three-game homestand against Hawai'i Thursday at 7 p.m.