Feb. 1, 2014
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A strong second half by Ryan Sypkens helped the senior guard finish with a team-high 22 points and Corey Hawkins added another 15, but the Aggies were unable to erase its halftime deficit in Saturday's Big West game at the Thunderdome and dropped an 82-67 decision at UC Santa Barbara.
With the result, UC Davis secured a split of its Central California road trip and returns to Davis with a 7-15 overall and 2-5 league mark. Led by junior center Alan Williams, the Gauchos improve to 14-6 and 5-2.
After the Gauchos swung an early UC Davis lead in their direction, the Aggies were able to stay within reasonable distance until the final minutes of the first half. With UC Davis' big men forced to the sidelines due to fouls, the Gauchos entered the locker room with a double-digit lead by scoring the half's final five points.
By canning six of its eight treys throughout the second half, UC Davis was able to trim what was once a 21-point Gaucho lead to 13 with 11 minutes remaining.
Throughout that 2:18 block of time, the Aggies outscored UCSB 9-2 thanks to Sypkens, who hit two of his five shots from three throughout that run, and Clint Bozner who scored three of his own the old fashioned way sinking a free throw after making a layup.
Bozner hit another free throw later in the half to finish with four points in addition to his career-high eight rebounds.
As the game progressed, mini-runs from UC Davis were quickly answered by scoring spurts from Kyle Boswell, Michael Bryson and Alan Williams-UCSB's three main scorers.
Boswell and Bryson finished with 15 and 11 points respectively, but it was Williams who spearheaded Santa Barbara's offense Saturday afternoon. In addition to his game-high 27 points, the Big West's leading scorer and rebounder also picked up 20 boards.
Led by Sypkens, who shot 4-for-7 and scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half, UC Davis' bench was responsible for nearly 60 percent of the team's offense.
After Williams scored one of his seven second-half baskets by barreling his way through Iggy Nujic, the junior forward chose to take his frustration out on the other end of the floor in the subsequent minutes.
By scoring six of his eight points in the following 2:20, Nujic's impromptu scoring run enabled UC Davis to remain within 13 points of the Gauchos.
After UCSB built its lead to a game-high 21 points, UC Davis chopped off a significant chunk of its deficit by scoring 11 of the next 14, to pull within 13 once again with three minutes remaining.
By scoring their team's final five points, Boswell, Bryson and Williams helped the Gauchos pull away, prevent UC Davis from further trimming its deficit, and secure the result.
Awaiting the Aggies next week are two home games starting with Thursday's 7 p.m. matchup against Cal State Northridge, followed by next Saturday's contest versus UC Irvine.
Aggies open season Monday night at Northern Colorado
Gameday Central at Utah Valley
(2 p.m. PT/3 p.m. MT)