March 8, 2008
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - UC Davis was defeated by UC Riverside, 75-66, Saturday night at the Student Rec Center in the regular season finale for both teams. As a result of the victory, UCR clinched the final spot in next week's Big West Tournament. With the loss, UC Davis ends its season at 9-22 overall and 2-14 in the Big West. Dominic Calegari led UC Davis with 22 points. Mark Payne scored 15, and Kyle Brucculeri added 12. David Carter was the fourth Aggie in double figures with 11 points.
Sean Cunningham led UCR (8-20, 4-12 Big West) 22 points. Aaron Scott posted 13 points, and Larry Cunningham finished with 12. The Highlanders led for most of the game and by as many as 10 points in the final minute.
UC Davis, which suited up just eight players, played primarily with six players the entire night. Five Aggies, including Brucculeri off the bench, played at least 31 minutes.
The Aggies took an early 6-2 lead behind a pair of jumpers from Calegari and another by Payne. A three-pointer by UCR's Sean Cunningham was followed by a trey by Brucculeri and another bucket by Payne, and UC Davis led 11-5 seven minutes into the game.
With UC Davis leading 13-7, the Highlanders went on a 7-0 run sparked by a basket by Cleavon Barlow. The stretch was capped off by a three-pointer from Larry Cunningham with 9:47 left in the half, and UC Riverside had just its second lead of the game.
UCR built the lead to as much as 23-19 and led by four another time before the Aggies tied it on a pair of free throws by Payne with 39 seconds remaining in the half. UCR went to the break with a 27-25 lead after a bucket by Scott with two seconds left in the half.
It was still a four-point lead at the 14:21 mark of the second half before UC Riverside went on a 7-3 run to take a 49-41 lead with 12:36 to play. The lead was 52-44 when the Aggies went on a 5-0 run. Carter made a free throw followed by a Brucculeri jumper. The mini-run was capped off by a put-back dunk by Calegari, and the Aggies were within 52-49 with 7:49 left in the game.
The Highlanders built the lead back to eight and never led by fewer than four points the rest of the way. The last time the Aggies were within that many was with 3:45 to play after a Payne jumper. UCR led 69-59 with just under a minute to play.
UC Riverside shot a blistering 71 percent from the field in the second half on 15-of-21 shooting. The Highlanders finished the game 59 percent from the floor. UC Davis shot 47 percent.
After scoring a combined 52 points in the first half, the teams combined for 89 in the second half as UCR outscored UC Davis, 48-41, in the final 20 minutes.
The Aggies had another strong night from the free throw line, finishing 23-for-26 from the stripe. Over its final three games, UC Davis went 57-for-63 from the line. Calegari, alone, shot 11-for-12 against UC Riverside. Carter made seven out of eight attempts.