Feb. 28, 2013
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - A 16-6 first half scoring run midway through the first half helped UC Davis build a double-digit lead, one the team would posses until the final moments of Thursday's Big West Conference game at UC Riverside to defeat the Highlanders at the Student Recreation Center by a 59-52 score.
With the win, the Aggies' fourth in the last five games, the team improves to 13-14 overall and 8-7 against Big West opponents. UC Riverside falls to 6-22 and 3-12 with the loss.
UC Davis also earned a sweep of this year's series against UC Riverside with thie win, the Highlanders are the third team the Aggies have swept this season.
Ryan Sypkens led all scorers with 16 points and was one of three Aggies to score double digits against the Highlanders. In addition to the junior guard who was 5-for-7 from the floor, 4-for-13 from three and made both free throw attempts, Tyler Les added another 10 on two three-point baskets, two free throws and a jump shot.
J.T. Adenrele recorded his fourth career double-double by finishing with 13 points and 10 rebounds; equally as impressive was the way he influenced the game on both sides of the floor by blocking a game-high four shots, tying his career high, and earning a career-high four assists.
"J.T. played like a man. It is fun too see him become a more confident player. When he drew attention, I thought he made some unbelievable interior passes to Howley and Josh (Ritchart). He is not being stopped by one guy, he is drawing two and three defenders and finding the open man," said head coach Jim Les.
Also turning in a career game for the Aggies was Paolo Mancasola as he also posted a career best, ending with seven boards.
UC Riverside led the game twice for a collective 46 seconds early in the first half, the only occasions that prevented UC Davis from earning its third wire-to-wire win of the season.
Trailing 8-7 at the 14:34 mark of opening half, UC Davis scored eight unanswered points to take a seven-point lead.
Even a UC Riverside timeout did little to squelch the momentum the Aggies built the half progressed as they dominated the entire court for the rest of the half to enter the locker room at halftime with a 15-point lead.
Throughout the first 20 minutes of Thursday's game, UC Davis made 16 of 36 shots (44.4 pct.) and were 5 of 13 from three (38.5 pct.) compared to the Highlanders who made only nine of their 26 field goal attempts (34.6%) and were limited to only two baskets from behind the arc.
In addition to outrebounding UC Riverside in the first half by a 23-14 margin, the Aggies were also responsible for all five fast break points, all seven second-chance points and six of the collective eight points made off turnovers by both teams.
In addition to the trio of Sypkens, Adenrele and T. Les who scored 14, 10 and five of their respective points in the first half, Ryan Howley earned all six of his points prior to the break.
With five of its six wins earned inside the Student Recreation Center, UC Riverside did make one scoring run in an attempt to pull within reasonable distance of the Aggies.
The Highlanders were able to score five of the last seven points to make the final score a respectable one on paper; behind a strong first-half effort, UC Davis earned its 13th victory of the year, just one shy of tying the all-time Division I program high.
UC Davis will compete in its final conference road game of the season at Cal State Fullerton on Saturday, March 2, at 6:05 p.m.
The Aggies will compete in their first-ever nationally televised game on Thursday, March 7, against Long Beach State. ESPN2 will broadcast the action live from The Pavilion, purchase your tickets for this historic event by clicking here.