March 8, 2014
IRVINE, Calif. – Down by as many as 10 points in the first half of Saturday’s season finale at UC Irvine, a dunk by Clint Bozner capped a 14-5, UC Davis scoring run prior to the break. However, UC Irvine responded with a run of its own once action resumed to pull away and defeat the Aggies 74-46.
With the win, UC Irvine clinched this season’s Big West regular season title and will enter next week’s conference tournament as its top seed.
"We had a good first half, I just think we ran out of gas," said head coach Jim Les following the game.
"Now it is time to have everyone work on getting healthy, work throughout the offseason to get better and return with a vengeance next year."
Saturday’s league contest also marked Ryan Sypkens’ final appearance as he finished with six points-on two baskets from three-and a team-high two steals.
By scoring six points, the senior guard passed Dominic Calegari (2006-10) and is now ranked No. 12 all-time with 1,275 points.
In addition to holding three program records for the most three-pointers scored in a game (10), single season (106) and career (315), the Elk Grove native also ends his brilliant career as the Big West Conference’s all-time three-point sharpshooter.
Trailing by 10 in the middle of the first half, UC Davis knocked the Anteaters on their heels, and nearly erased its entire deficit throughout the following six-plus minutes of action.
Corey Hawkins started the Aggies’ scoring spree by knocking down two shots at the line, then connected on a jumper on his team’s following possession to trim UCI’s lead to six.
Each team took turns trading baskets as the half progressed; a three-pointer from Georgi Funtarov and another from Brynton Lemar pulled the Aggies within three. After forcing one of UCI’s 12 turnovers, Bozner’s dunk trimmed the Anteaters’ advantage to a single point with just over two minutes remaining in the half.
By scoring 17 of the first 21 points in the second half, UC Irvine pulled away from UC Davis early and forced the Aggies to chase a double-digit deficit for the rest of the game.
Led by Funtarov and Hawkins with nine, eight of the nine Aggies that saw action in Saturday’s game recorded at least one point. Lemar and Bozner each chipped in an additional seven points; Bozner also finished with four rebounds, one shy of Hawkins’ team-high five.
UC Davis ends its season with a 9-22 overall and 4-12 league mark, UC Irvine improves to 22-10 and 13-3 with the result.
MBB at Idaho (7 p.m.)