Feb. 6, 2004
DAVIS, Calif. - Fowzi Abdelsamad scored 28 points and the Aggie defense sparked a 16-3 run early in the second half that propelled UC Davis to a 74-68 victory over Cal State Los Angeles in a California Collegiate Athletic Association men's basketball game in front of 1,912 Friday night at Recreation Hall.
With the win the Aggies improve to 12-6 on the season, 9-4 in CCAA play. UC Davis increased its winning streak to three and has won eight of its last nine. Cal State L.A. falls to 6-12 overall, 3-10 in conference action.
UC Davis trailed by 12 following a Justen Naughton jumper to start the second half. The Aggies chipped away over the next four minutes sparked by its defense, particularly Gus Argenal. The senior guard had four steals in the opening three and a half minutes as the Aggies took their first lead of the game at 45-44 at the 16:40 mark. Abdelsamad had eight points in the run, the last two coming on a fastbreak layup.
The game remained close for the next six minutes before UC Davis made its final run of the night. With the score knotted at 54, UC Davis scored 13 of the next 16 points to take a 10-point lead at 67-57, with 4:45 remaining. Thomas Juillerat got things going with back-to-back baskets, an Abdelsamad three-pointer and two Argenal free throws pushed the lead to double digits.
The Golden Eagles made a final push, cutting the Aggies lead to two at 67-65, with two minutes remaining. They got no closer as Phil Rasmussen made four straight free throws to keep the game out of reach.
"(Cal State L.A.) has some talented players," said Aggie head coach Gary Stewart. "Justen is the most talented low-post player in the league. I'm really pleased with our effort in the second half. This is a different type of game than we have been in the last few weeks. To come back from a double-digit deficit is encouraging for the program.
"Gus willed this team tonight in the second half," Stewart continued. "His energy permeated through the team and when he elevated his intensity, everyone else followed."
It was all Cal State L.A. in the first half. The Golden Eagles scored the first basket and led the rest of the half as the Aggies had no answer for Naughton. The 6-foot-9 center scored 16 first-half points on 7 of 8 shooting from the field. CSLA matched its biggest lead of the half with :09 seconds remaining following a Brandon Dalton layup. Two Abdelsamad free throws just before the half cut the lead to 10 at 39-29 entering halftime.
The Eagles shot a blistering 56 percent in the first half, a far cry from the 29 percent they shot just one week ago in a 64-38 loss against UC Davis in Los Angeles. CSLA has held a tremendous advantage in the paint, where it outscored the Aggies 28-8 in the opening 20 minutes.
In addition to Abdelsamad, Juillerat finished the night with 16 points and four rebounds, while Ryan Moore added 11 points and a team-high four assists. The Aggies turned 21 Eagle turnovers into 25 points while CSLA managed 16 points off 13 Aggies miscues.
Naughton finished with a game-high 32 points and nine rebounds, while LeMar added 12 points and eight boards. The Eagles shot 54 percent from the field on the night.
UC Davis continues its homestand on Saturday when it faces Cal State Dominguez Hills. Gametime is set for 8 p.m.