Jan. 26, 2013
DAVIS, Calif. - J.T. Adenrele scored a team-high 20 points while Ryan Sypkens hit four three-pointers and scored 17 as UC Davis used balanced scoring for a 79-72 Big West Conference men's basketball win over UC Riverside on Saturday night at The Pavilion.
The Aggies won for the third time in their past four games, improving to 8-11 overall and 4-4 in the Big West. Josh Fox scored a game-high 22 points for the Highlanders who fell to 5-15 overall and 2-6 in the conference.
"I am very pleased with the level of intensity the guys showed on defense tonight. The defensive execution and pressure from the get-go was really good, and that led to some opportunities on offense," said head coach Jim Les.
Five UC Davis players went for double figures in the game with Josh Ritchart adding 13, Tyler Les scoring 12 and Paolo Mancasola scoring 10. The Aggies shot better than 50 percent from the field for the fourth straight game and the fifth time in their past six, making 56.8 percent (24 for 44).
"The defense is forced to choose who to guard the way Tyler (Les), J.T. (Adenrele), Josh (Ritchart) and Sypkens were shooting tonight. When Paolo steps up and makes shots and makes plays for himself, that puts the defense in a real predicament," said J. Les.
UC Davis also made 10 three-pointers, the third straight game its canned at least that many. Sypkens had four while Les added three.
"Paolo (Mancasola) did a great job penetrating UC Riverside's defense. Once he gets deep penetration, that makes it easier for us because defenders have to choose who to guard. J.T. was the man tonight because they had to send two or three defenders down to guard him, that makes it easier for guys like me to take an open shot," said Sypkens.
"I just want to thank these guys (Sypkens and T. Les) for finding me when I am open, they make my job easier too," said Adenrele in response to his teammates' comments during Saturday's postgame interview session.
The Aggies trailed just twice in the game before taking the lead for good on Adenrele's three-point play with 6 minutes, 45 seconds left in the first half. That was part of a 27-13 run that gave UC Davis a 41-30 halftime lead.
A crowd of 2,512 witnessed the Aggies connect on their last 11 straight shots before entering the locker room at halftime, a string of success that took place throughout the final 9:08 seconds. Of the Aggies' 11 baskets, five were recorded from three.
During that nine-minute block of time, T. Les recorded two of his three baskets from distance, both Howley and Ritchart scored their only threes of the night, with Sypkens draining one of his four shots from behind the arc.
In addition to his contributions to the Aggies' spree of threes, T. Les also led all Aggies with seven assists, a new career high.
His total earned against the Highlanders is nearly twice that of his previous career high (4 asts.) earned last season at Hawai'i. Entering Saturday's game, T. Les' posted a season-high of two assists on four occasions, most recently vs. Nicholls State in the final day of action at the World Vision Challenge in Logan, Utah, last December.
The Aggies maintained a double-digit lead for most of the second half with the Highlanders able to get to within six in the final seconds long after the Aggie starters were pulled from the game.
Chris Harriel added 18 points for UC Riverside while Chris Patton added 12.
Adenrele pulled down eight rebounds for UC Davis while Fox and Patton had nine for the Highlanders.
"We are working hard in practice, and improving our defense. We will be ready for our next game when we head to Pacific," said Adenrele regarding the Aggies' upcoming three-game road trip.
"This is a big week of preparation for our next game. If the guys come to practice with the goal of becoming better each day, and work hard, the results will take care of itself. We want to play our best basketball towards the end of the year... and that starts with our next game against Pacific," said J. Les.
The Aggies return to action next Saturday, Feb. 2, at Pacific.