Aggies Can't pull Off Another Comeback, Fall To UC Irvine 71-64

Jan. 24, 2005

Box Score

DAVIS, Calif. - Aaron Fitzgerald scored 14 points and the Anteaters made five of six free throws in the final 30 seconds as UC Irvine held on for a 71-64 win over UC Davis in a men's nonconference basketball game Monday evening at the Pavilion.

With the loss the Aggies end their brief two-game winning streak and fall to 8-10 on the season. UC Irvine wins its third straight and improves to 9-6.

The game was tied with 5:00 remaining following a jumper by UC Irvine's Greg Ethington that made it 55-55. That began a 13-4 run over the next four minutes as UC Irvine built the lead to seven with :49 seconds remaining. Five different players contributed to the run as UC Irvine gained it biggest lead to that point. UC Davis, which has made a habit out of coming from behind of late, found no magic tonight as it drew no closer than five the rest of the way. Forced to foul on each Irvine possession, the Anteaters made the Aggies pay by hitting five of six free throws to seal the victory.

"Defensively we struggled to guard them tonight and get to their perimeter players," said Aggie head coach Gary Stewart. "We gave up too many easy baskets. We got beat by a better team tonight but we realize we can play better."

The game began with UC Davis scoring the first 10 points as Ryan Moore and Fowzi Abdelsamad hit back-to-back threes to highlight the rally. It was then UC Irvine's turn to make a charge, outscoring UC Davis 20-6 over the next nine minutes before things settled down. After a scoring drought of over five minutes, Moore's jumper cut the deficit to 20-18, with 6:40 remaining in the half. The Aggies got another three from Abdelsamad at the 1:00 mark as UC Davis carried a 29-28 lead into halftime.

In the second half the Aggies held their biggest lead at 40-36 following Moore's second three of the game with 14:35 left. Irvine countered to take a 46-42 lead three minutes later as the two teams went back and forth for much of the half. With 5:22 left, UC Davis took its final lead of the game on two Rommel Marentez free throws, but Ethington's jumper began the comeback that UC Davis had did not match.



In all there were nine lead changes and eight ties in the contest. Abdelsamad led the way for UC Davis with a game-high 22 points, hitting 8-of-12 shots, including 6-of-8 from three-point range. He entered the contest tied for 10th among all Division I players with 56 trey's on the season. Moore ended his night with 19 points, snapping a four-game stretch of 20-plus points while Marentez added nine points, three assists and a career-best nine rebounds. As a team the Aggies shot 41 percent from the field and 86 percent from the line, though they made just seven trips to the charity stripe. Conversely, the Anteaters went to the line 26 times on the evening, making 17.

For the third straight contest the Aggies connected for double-digit three-pointers, hitting 10-of-23 attempts, led by Abdelsamad's six. UC Davis also committed a season-low seven turnovers.

In addition to his 14 points, on 6-of-7 shooting, Fitzgerald also posted team-highs of seven rebounds and five assists. He was one of three Anteaters in double figures as Ross Schraeder added 13 and Jeff Gloger 10. UC Irvine shot a blistering 62.5 percent from the field, shooting the same percentage in each half.

UC Davis is next in action on Saturday when it continues its homestand with a meeting against Cal State Northridge at the Pavilion. Gametime is set for 7 p.m.