49ers Edge UC Davis In Big West Thriller, 77-76

Ryan Howley had a season-high 12 points for UC Davis Thursday night.

March 7, 2013

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DAVIS, Calif. - Corey Hawkins scored a game-high 34 points but visiting Long Beach State got 24 from James Ennis while surviving a last-second baseline jumper from Ryan Howley that went in and out, as the 49ers edged UC Davis 77-76 in a Big West Conference men's basketball game before a soldout Pavilion Thursday night.

"The energy from the crowd and atmosphere tonight was amazing. I've been to a lot of arenas and a lot of places, this building took a backseat to nobody tonight," said head coach Jim Les.

The game was nationally televised on ESPN2, the first basketball game at The Pavilion to air on the network.

The heart-breaking loss dropped UC Davis' record to a 14-15 and its league mark to 9-8. First-place Long Beach State, which was led by 24 points from James Ennis and 21 from Tony Freeland, improved to 18-11 overall and 14-3 in the Big West.

"I thought the atmosphere was electric, we were definitely energized by our fans. This is a taste of what college basketball is, and should be, and what we want it to become here at UC Davis. This group is going to have many more opportunities like that," said Les.

Added Les, "I could not be more proud of this group."

UC Davis trailed 77-76 after forcing a shot-clock violation with 18 seconds remaining. The Aggies worked the clock down before guard Paolo Mancasola penetrated and found Howley in the far corner for a 19-foot jumpshot. Howley, who finished with a season-high 12 points and a team-high seven rebounds, saw his shot rattle around the rim before ricocheting out of the hoop as time expired.

UC Davis trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half before battling back to just a 36-35 halftime deficit. The Aggies led by as many as seven in the second half due to a 14-0 run that began with 3:59 remaining until the break and stretched into the first three minutes of the second half.

Hawkins hit 12 of 19 shots, including a pair of treys, to finish with 34 points. He also led the Aggies with seven rebounds. Ryan Sypkens matched Howley with 12 points.

"We feel like we can play against anybody, and we plan on seeing them again in the (Big West) Tournament," said Howley.

"When  you lay it on the line like they did, not only today but the preparation leading up to this game, a result like this is going to hurt, and it should hurt. We usually have a 24 hour rule - 24 hours to celebrate or be disappointed, but I cut that to 12 becauuse we have UC Irvine coming here this Saturday," said Les. 

UC Davis will conclude the regular season with a 7 p.m. Big West game on Saturday against UC Irvine.

The soldout crowd was announced at 5,670.

"I have never played in an environment like this before; this place was crazy throughout the game and the fans definitely were a factor," said Howley.