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NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Thursday night’s crowd at the Matadome saw firsthand why UC Davis’ defense is the best in the league as the Aggies turned a one-point lead with 3:38 remaining into a 10-point advantage, with 24 seconds left to play, to record a 63-56 victory in a league matchup broadcasted by ESPN3.
“At the final timeout, we talked about finishing the game and getting three stops in a row. That’s one of the things we talk about in practice, and we have defensive drills where the guys remain on the court until they make three straight stops. Everyone is familiar hearing the coaching staff use this terminology, and the guys buy into it,” said UC Davis head coach Jim Les.
“I was pleased with the way we finished the game and made plays when we needed to.”
UC Davis has now won 10 straight vs. CSUN, 14 of the last 16 head-to-head matchups, and will remain in first place entering Saturday’s game at Long Beach State thanks to its 15-7 overall and 6-2 Big West records. ESPN3’s broadcast of that game against the 49ers will begin at 4 p.m.
CSUN will continue its season with records of 5-17 and 2-6.
Led by junior communications major Siler Schneider, who finished with team highs of 15 points and eight rebounds (a new season high), four Aggies finished in double figures. That list also includes senior communication major Chima Moneke (14 points), junior communication major TJ Shorts II (11) and sophomore economics major Joe Mooney, who scored nine of his 11 points after halftime.
At one point during the second half, Mooney scored seven straight to help UC Davis maintain separation from the Matadors on the scoreboard. He, combined with junior psychology major AJ John’s scoring, comprised the Aggies’ bench points, but it was John’s hustle that helped him finish with seven rebounds, including two on offense.
Including that effort on the glass, the Aggies outrebounded CSUN on the offensive boards, 9-4, which led to nine second chance points.
Also aiding the Aggies’ late scoring surge was its success at the stripe, where they knocked down six of their final eight attempts after the team entered the double bonus with 4:38 remaining. Of the UC Davis’ 12 made free throws, 11 were scored after halftime.
During that late run, UC Davis’ free throw shooting and defense, highlighted by two hustle plays, helped it seal the victory and silence the pro-CSUN crowd for good once it built its lead back to double digits.
With 2:30 on the clock and the Aggies up by five, Moneke sprinted from the paint towards the sideline near mid-court to collect one of his four rebounds. On that play, hit the floor, beating three Matadors to the 50/50 ball in the process, and wisely called timeout to help his team maintain possession.
One minute later, UC Davis collected its 10th, and final steal of the night, which iced the result for the Aggies. Once Shorts II gained possession on CSUN’s 17th turnover, he quickly fired the ball down court to a wide open Moneke, whose subsequent layup pushed the Aggies’ lead to seven.
CSUN never possessed a lead and was held to 22 points entering halftime, the second-lowest first half total for a D-I opponent this season. Thursday’s game also continued a defensive trend for UC Davis this year: it has won all 14 games when holding opponents to less than 70 points, and is now 9-0 when allowing 59 points or fewer.
UC DAVIS 63, CSUN 56
UC DAVIS (15-7, 6-2 BWC)
Schneider, Siler 6-15 3-4 15; Moneke, Chima 7-12 0-0 14; Mooney, Joe 4-8 2-2 11; Shorts II, TJ 3-9 5-6 11; Onyebalu, Michael 2-3 1-2 7; Goode, Garrison 1-5 1-3 3; John, AJ 1-4 0-0 2; Russell, Colin 0-0 0-0 0; Hennings, Arell 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 24-59 12-17 63.
CSUN (5-17, 2-6 BWC)
Theus Jr., Reggie 7-9 3-4 18; Dawson, Tavrion 5-14 0-0 10; Gomez, Terrell 3-7 2-2 10; Warren, Micheal 2-5 5-6 9; Pipkins, Jalon 3-4 2-3 9; Guevara, Jonathan 0-4 0-0 0; Kaba-Camara, Mahamad 0-1 0-0 0; Shreiner, Lyrik 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 20-46 12-15 56.
UC Davis...................... 29 34 - 63
CSUN........................... 22 34 - 56
3-point goals--UC Davis 3-13 (Onyebalu, Michael 2-2; Mooney, Joe 1-3; Shorts II, TJ 0-1; John, AJ 0-2; Hennings, Arell 0-1; Moneke, Chima 0-1; Schneider, Siler 0-3), CSUN 4-15 (Gomez, Terrell 2-6; Pipkins, Jalon 1-1; Theus Jr., Reggie 1-1; Guevara, Jonathan 0-2; Shreiner, Lyrik 0-1; Dawson, Tavrion 0-4). Fouled out--UC Davis-None, CSUN-None. Rebounds--UC Davis 33 (Schneider, Siler 8), CSUN 33 (Dawson, Tavrion 13). Assists--UC Davis 12 (Shorts II, TJ 4), CSUN 16 (Gomez, Terrell 10). Total fouls--UC Davis 12, CSUN 16. Technical fouls--UC Davis-None, CSUN-None. A-1006
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