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DAVIS, Calif. - Junior communication major Siler Schneider scored his 1,000th point as an Aggie on his first shot of the second half, and junior communication major TJ Shorts II showed a crowd of 3,392 fans who attended Thursday’s Big West Conference home game why he is one of the league’s elite talents by finishing with a game-high 28 points, in addition to eight assists and seven rebounds — both career highs.
Leading by five with 1:28 remaining, UC Santa Barbara withstood the Aggies’ second-half scoring surge, which trimmed a 12-point halftime deficit to five entering the final minutes, by scoring its last six points at the free throw line throughout the final 43 seconds, to post a 90-81 victory.
With this rare result — the Aggies’ last loss took place on March 3, 2016 — UC Davis’ home win streak ends at 19 games. Saturday’s 5 p.m. home contest vs. Cal State Fullerton is the Aggies’ next chance to start another home win streak; they will enter that game with a 16-8 overall and 7-3 Big West record.
Since UCSB is off this Saturday, it will continue its season next week, one that includes another matchup against the Aggies next Saturday (Feb. 17) in Santa Barbara, with records of 19-5 and 8-2.
Senior communication major Michael Onyebalu also set a new career high by scoring 12 points, on 4 of 7 shooting overall, and converting on all four opportunities at the free throw line.
With UC Santa Barbara catching lightning in a bottle early in Thursday’s battle between the Big West’s first place teams — eight of its first 12 baskets were scored from three — the Gauchos jumped out to a 20-point lead midway through the first half. But the Aggies rebounded from UCSB’s hot start, scored seven in a row and pulled within 12 at halftime thanks to a three from Onyebalu and a jumper from Schneider on the team's final two possessions before the break.
A half that began with Schneider’s milestone-reaching shot (he is now the 23rd player in program history to score 1,000 or more points) continued late in the game with a 13-2 UC Davis scoring run, which spanned 3:07, and pulled the team within seven with 5:25 remaining. With a raucous crowd fueling UC Davis’ efforts on both ends of the court, it ultimately turned a once-sizable deficit into a two-possession margin with 43 ticks on the clock.
Now trailing by only five, UC Davis was forced to foul to preserve as much time as possible. With momentum clearly on UC Davis’ side, UCSB needed to hit its free throws to keep the Aggies from further slicing its lead — something it was able to accomplish by scoring their final points at the stripe, to escape the Pavilion with a victory and claim sole possession of first place.
Including last Saturday’s heroic effort at Long Beach State, Shorts II has scored a combined 59 points in his team’s last two games. In Thursday’s game vs. the Gauchos, 19 of his points were scored after the break.
UCSB (19-5, 8-2 BWC)
UC DAVIS (16-8, 7-3 BWC)
UCSB.......................... 49 41 - 90
UC Davis...................... 37 44 - 81
3-point goals--UCSB 11-20 (Vincent, Gabe 4-5; Heidegger, Max 3-3; Jackson, Marcus 2-4; King II, Leland 2-5; Terrell, Christian 0-3), UC Davis 10-19 (Onyebalu, Michael 4-4; Schneider, Siler 3-3; Printup, Rogers 2-4; Mooney, Joe 1-4; John, AJ 0-4). Fouled out--UCSB-Vincent, Gabe, UC Davis-Goode, Garrison. Rebounds--UCSB 33 (King II, Leland 15), UC Davis 26 (Shorts II, TJ 7). Assists--UCSB 15 (Heidegger, Max 5), UC Davis 14 (Shorts II, TJ 8). Total fouls--UCSB 19, UC Davis 17. Technical fouls--UCSB-None, UC Davis-None. A-3392
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