Feb. 9, 2012
DAVIS, Calif. -
Eddie Miller scored 24 points and Josh Ritchart had a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds on Thursday night as UC Davis ended an 18-game losing streak with a 79-71 Big West Conference men's basketball win before 2,256 fans at The Pavilion.
The Aggies, whose last win came against UC Santa Cruz on Nov. 15, improved to 2-21 overall and 1-10 in the Big West. Tyler Les joined Miller with a trio of three-pointers, finishing with 16 points for UC Davis which avenged an earlier loss to the Matadors. Paolo Mancasola added 12 points.
Cal State Northridge, led by 21 points from Josh Greene and 17 from Stephan Hicks, fell to 6-16 overall and 2-9 in the league. Stephen Maxwell had 10 points for the Matadors who have lost six straight Big West games.
"I couldn't be more proud of this group," said Aggie coach Jim Les. "They've been resilient through some unbelievable adversity and continued to fight and continued to progress and get better. And anybody that's watched us consistently they've seen just a steady progress in getting better. The biggest thing we've been focusing on is finishing a game.
"We've been there a number of times," he said. "You come to the last six or seven minutes and we had a group that played a ton of minutes, were tired and just they battled and gutted out an unbelievable win. I'm really proud of them and so many contributions from so many different places."
UC Davis trailed 67-65 after a layup from Maxwell with 5 minutes, 7 seconds to play but took the lead for good on a corner three-pointer from Mancasola that put the Aggies in front 71-69 with 3:35 to go. The Aggies led the rest of the way, opening their lead to 76-71 on a trey from Les and then getting a trio of free throws in the final minute.
It was a close game the entire way with neither team leading by more than eight points in the game.
The teams were tied five times in the first eight minutes of the game and Miller was a catalyst for the Aggies with two early three-pointers but UC Davis wasn't able to forge its first lead until his trey put it up 18-15. Hicks had a dunk and Greene scored inside to return the lead to Cal State Northridge midway through the half.
The Matadors finished a 7-0 run with a three-pointer from Greene that put them up 22-18. The lead swelled to 29-21with less than six minutes in the half before a 9-0 Aggie run - keyed by treys from Les and Ritchart - put UC Davis in the lead 30-29 with 3:11 left. Aqeel Quinn's layup late in the half broke the game's sixth tie and put Cal State Northridge into halftime with a 34-32 advantage.
Miller had 12 of his points in the first half and the Aggies shot 44 percent (11 of 25) from the floor. Greene hit 5 of 8 shots, including a trio of three-pointers, to lead the Matadors in the first 20 minutes.
Cal State Northridge continued to lead through the early parts of the second half, opening a 43-37 advantage less than two minutes in on Hicks' three-point play. But UC Davis then embarked on an 11-0 run over the next three minutes to go up 48-43 on Miller's one-handed slam from the baseline. His layup with 11:16 to go extended the Aggies' lead to 55-48.
UC Davis led by seven points four times, the last one coming 61-54 with 8:31 remaining, before the Matadors battled back with a 13-4 run to lead 67-65 with five minutes to go on Maxwell's layup. Les' long straightaway three-pointer delivered UC Davis a 71-69 with 4:14 left.
Miller's 24 points tied an Aggie season-high while Ritchart's 13 rebounds established a career best. He had nine last week at UC Irvine for his previous high. Mancasola's scoring was also his Aggie high as were six assists.
The Aggies finished 10 of 26 from three-point, their seventh game with at least that many.
Hicks and Maxwell each had eight rebounds for Cal State Northridge.
UC Davis, which ended its longest losing streak since dropping 20 in a row over the course of the 1952-53 and 1953-54 seasons, will host Big West Conference leader Long Beach State at 4 p.m. on Saturday.