ANAHEIM, Calif. - Josh Ritchart hit five three-pointers and scored a game-high 21 points as top-seeded UC Davis rallied from an 11-point second-half deficit to defeat CSUN, 71-67, in Thursday afternoon's Big West Tournament quarterfinal at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
"I think this game was characterized by two halves," Head Coach Jim Les said. "They are a physical basketball team, it's just a matter of responding to it. We were just a step slower in the first but, in the second half, it was their same physicality, but we responded to it and became the aggressor."
Corey Hawkins added 15 points and J.T. Adenrele finished with 11, including nine after halftime, as UC Davis improved to 25-5. Aaron Parks led all Matadors with 21 points as his team finished its season with a 9-24 record.
UC Davis' next game will take place on Friday, at 6:30 p.m., versus the lowest remaining seeded team after Thursday's quarterfinal round.
It was the fifth time against a Big West team this season that the Aggies have come back from double-digit deficits in the second half to win.
The Aggies trailed for most of the game and didn't take their first lead until Adenrele scored two of his 11 points down low to give UC Davis a 54-52 lead with 7:07 remaining.
CSUN tied the game a minute later but a three-pointer from Tyler Les, from nearly 30 feet, returned the lead to UC Davis. That was the first of four consecutive threes from the Aggies; after Les, Ritchart hit back-to-back threes before Hawkins pushed his team's lead to nine, its biggest margin of the game, with 2:57 left.
"That was a good example of a big play that he (Tyler) has made," Jim Les said. "As long as we can get stops, it doesn't take us long to get out of it, we have that type of offense. Our seniors stepped up and made big plays today."
UC Davis trailed 42-31 but a 7-0 run, capped by a Hawkins layup, pulled the Aggies within four at 42-38, with 16:17 on the clock.
The teams traded baskets until the 11:48 mark when the under-12 deadball timeout took place. When action resumed, CSUN's Stephen Maxwell made one of two free throws to extend his team's advantage to six.
The subsequent three minutes saw UC Davis score eight unanswered points to take its first lead of the day.
"I think, in the first half, we were sluggish on defense," Ritchart said. "In the second half, we wanted to increase our intensity and let our defense get us back in the game. Once we got some stops, we caught momentum offensively."
Two CSUN free throws tied the contest for the second, and final time as Les gave the Aggies the lead for good by hitting a three from another area code.
UC DAVIS 71, CSUN 67
Parks, Aaron 6-12 7-8 21; Maxwell, Stephen 6-8 7-11 19; Hicks, Stephan 4-86-6 15; Drew, Landon 2-5 0-0 6; Elliott, Devonte 1-4 2-2 4; Hale-Edmerson,Tre 1-3 0-0 2; Webb, Taelin 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-41 22-27 67.
UC DAVIS (25-5)
Ritchart, Josh 6-8 4-5 21; Hawkins, Corey 5-12 4-6 15; Adenrele, J.T. 5-71-1 11; Les, Tyler 3-6 0-0 8; Monson, Neal 2-2 2-2 6; Fox, Josh 2-2 1-2 5;Graham, Darius 0-2 3-6 3; Johnson, Avery 0-2 2-2 2; Lemar, Brynton 0-0 0-00. Totals 23-41 17-24 71.
CSUN........................... 36 31 - 67
UC Davis...................... 28 43 - 71
3-point goals--CSUN 5-17 (Drew, Landon 2-5; Parks, Aaron 2-5; Hicks, Stephan1-2; Hale-Edmerson, Tre 0-2; Webb, Taelin 0-1; Elliott, Devonte 0-2), UCDavis 8-19 (Ritchart, Josh 5-6; Les, Tyler 2-5; Hawkins, Corey 1-5; Graham,Darius 0-1; Johnson, Avery 0-2). Fouled out--CSUN-Parks, Aaron, UCDavis-None. Rebounds--CSUN 25 (Hicks, Stephan 8), UC Davis 20 (Adenrele,J.T. 4; Graham, Darius 4). Assists--CSUN 9 (Drew, Landon 6), UC Davis 13(Johnson, Avery 4). Total fouls--CSUN 20, UC Davis 19. Technicalfouls--CSUN-None, UC Davis-None.
2015 Big West Conference Tournament - Quarterfinals