DAVIS, Calif. - Darius Graham's 3-pointer from the left wing with 50 seconds left gave the UC Davis the lead for good as the Aggies scored the final six points of the game to upend UC Riverside, 58-55, in a Big West Conference men's basketball game before 2,247 fans at The Pavilion Thursday night.
The Aggies, won their second straight game - both of them on Hamilton Court - to move to 7-10 overall and 2-2 in the Big West. Thursday's victory also extended the Aggies' home win streak against conference opponents to 10.
"We are going to be in a lot of close, grind-it-out games, I love the resolve this team has down the stretch," said UC Davis head coach Jim Les.
"This team derives its confidence from its resiliency and toughness; and it should because this team is fun to watch."
Jaylen Bland scored 12 points and Gentry Thomas added 10 for the Highlanders, who fell to 10-11 overall, 1-4 in league play, and watched Graham lift the Aggies to victory for the second straight season with a clutch three.
When these teams met last year inside the Pavilion, Graham's three gave UC Davis the lead for good in his team's Big West title-clinching game.
There were 11 changes in a game that was tied nine times, with neither team leading by more than eight points. The Aggies led 29-24 at halftime and fell behind 43-39 midway through the second half - their largest deficit of the game - before using five straight points from Graham during a 7-0 run that put them up 50-46 with 7:40 to go.
Secean Johnson's trey with 3:44 on the clock broke the tie of the game and gave the Highlanders a 53-50 lead while Bland's layup a minute later reopened it to three points after Josh Fox scored inside. Fox made two free throws with less than two minutes to go - UC Davis was 13 for 16 from the line and posted a season-high .813 percentage - to get the deficit down to one before Graham's heroics put the Aggies into the lead for good.
Monson had seven points in the first half and the Aggies hit 40 percent of their shots from the floor as they took a 29-25 lead into the break. Brynton Lemar's jumper gave UC Davis a 23-16 lead late in the first half while Graham's free throws with 30 seconds remaining gave them a 29-21 advantage - the Aggies' largest of the game.
UC Davis shot .476 throughout the second half to collect its second last-minute victory in as many games.
Freshman Siler Schneider had a game-high five assists. Graham was 4 of 6 from beyond the arc. Johnson posted 11 rebounds to help pace UC Riverside.
UC Davis makes its longest road trip of the season when it travels to face Hawai'i on Saturday. Tipoff from the Stan Sheriff Center will take place at 9 p.m. Pacific. Video, internet audio and live stats links for this weekend's game are available at ucdavisaggies.com.
UC DAVIS 58, UC RIVERSIDE 55
UC RIVERSIDE (10-11, 1-4 BWC)
Bland, Jaylen 3-9 4-4 12; Thomas, Gentrey 5-7 0-1 10; Johns, Taylor 4-6 0-0 8; Johnson, Secean 3 10 0-0 8; Thames, Malik 2-8 0-0 6; Sylvester, DJ 2-3 0-0 5; Larsson, Alex 2-7 0-0 4; Dijkstra, Menno 1-1 0-0 2; Gomez, Primitivo 0-1 0-0 0; Jones, Steven 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-53 4-5 55.
UC DAVIS (7-10, 2-2 BWC)
Graham, Darius 5-11 7-8 21; Fox, Josh 7-10 6-7 20; Lemar, Brynton 3-8 0-0 6; Monson, Neal 2-9 0 1 4; Printup, Rogers 1-4 0-0 3; Schneider, Siler 1-3 0-0 2; Goode, Garrison 1-1 0-0 2; Onyebalu, Michael 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-46 13-16 58.
UC Riverside.................. 24 31 - 55
UC Davis........................ 29 29 - 58
3-point goals--UC Riverside 7-23 (Thames, Malik 2-4; Johnson, Secean 2-5; Bland, Jaylen 2-8; Sylvester, DJ 1-2; Gomez, Primitivo 0-1; Jones, Steven 0-1; Johns, Taylor 0-2), UC Davis 5-13 (Graham, Darius 4-6; Printup, Rogers 1-4; Lemar, Brynton 0-3). Fouled out--UC Riverside-Johns, Taylor, UC Davis-None. Rebounds--UC Riverside 34 (Johnson, Secean 11), UC Davis 26 (Monson, Neal 9). Assists--UC Riverside 12 (Jones, Steven 3; Johnson, Secean 3), UC Davis 12 (Schneider, Siler 5). Total fouls--UC Riverside 18, UC Davis 14. Technical fouls--UC Riverside-None, UC Davis None. A-2247
Strong second half leads to 74-59 road victory
Aggies open season Monday night at Northern Colorado
Gameday Central at Utah Valley
(2 p.m. PT/3 p.m. MT)