Feb. 2, 2013
STOCKTON, Calif. - UC Davis entered the Alex G. Spanos Center for Saturday night's Big West Conference matchup against the Pacific Tigers seeking a split of the season series, and its fourth win in the last five games. Entering the locker room at halftime trailing by four, the Aggies remained within striking distance until Pacific pulled away in the second half to down UC Davis 77-64.
UC Davis falls to 8-12 and is 4-5 against conference competition, Pacific is 13-8 overall and 7-2 in Big West games.
"I thought our lack of depth tonight, coming down the stretch (was a factor). This was a physical game and I thought some guys wore down as the game went on. I thought they battled and really worked hard, but give credit to Pacific. They're playing pretty well and are a pretty tough out here," said UC Davis head coach Jim Les referring to the Tigers' now 9-2 home mark.
Junior guard/forward Josh Ritchart led all scorers with a season-high 22 points, a total shaped by his shooting prowess from three. Of his six field goals, five were recorded from distance as he was responsible for half of his team's baskets from three.
Of the other five three-point shots recorded by the Aggies, four were scored by Ryan Sypkens. The junior guard was 4-for-6 from behind the arc and finished with 14 points and four rebounds.
Sophomore forward J.T. Adenrele chipped in 12 points and was one of two Aggies that ended with a game-high seven rebounds.
In addition to scoring seven points againt Pacific, Ryan Howley also ended his evening with seven rebounds - three of which were possession-extending offensive boards.
Before the first media timeout of the game took place, Pacific jumped out to an early 12-point lead. After they withstood the Tigers' game-opening run, the Aggies responded with a 19-9 scoring run of their own to pull within two with 7:29 remaining until the break.
Throughout the following six minutes, both teams traded baskets until UC Davis tied the game at 34 apiece in the final moments of the half.
The back-and-forth battle continued into the second half; a four-point Tiger halftime lead was quickly trimmed to a solitary point when junior guard Tyler Les posted the first points of the half by sinking a three.
After trading baskets throughout the subsequent two minutes, a layup from Adenrele tied the game at 41-41, forcing Pacific to call a timeout.
Once the teams returned to the court, Pacific followed with a 9-1 run of its own to extend its lead to eight, eventually building a lead as large as 12 with just under eight minutes remaining.
Undaunted, UC Davis slowly trimmed its deficit throughout the following four minutes to a more manageable two-possession margin with 4:39 remaining.
Responsible for six of Pacific's final 10 points of the game, Lorenzo McCloud responded to every attempt the Aggies made to further decrease their deficit.
After Ritchart connected on his final three of the game at the 4:39 mark, McCloud helped increase his team's lead to eight. When the Tigers entered the bonus in the final minutes of Saturday's game, it was he who helped maintain Pacific's cushion by making his shots at the stripe.
Said Les: "I thought we guarded their actions for the most part really well. It was that last 10, 12, 13 seconds of the shot clock when they broke us down with some penetration, some drawn kicks. I thought they took it to the basket and got to the free-throw line a little bit more than we did.
Not only did Pacific earn an additional five trips to the free throw line compared to UC Davis, the Tigers also made their last six straight free throws to keep the Aggies at bay. As a team, Pacific entered Saturday's game with a .685 free throw percentage compared to UC Davis' .720 success rate.
As a team, the Aggies were 21-for-47 (44.7 pct.) from the floor, 10-for-23 (43.5 pct.) from three and 12-for-15 (80 pct.) from the free-throw line.
UC Davis will continue its three-game road trip at UC Santa Barbara on Thursday, Feb. 7.