Nov. 8, 2013
PORTLAND – Darius Graham fueled a blistering start for UC Davis by scoring nine of his career-high 12 points in the first half, but a slew of whistles called against UC Davis before the break helped the Portland Pilots down the Aggies 100-83.
UC Davis will enter Monday’s home opener with a 0-1 overall record; Portland opens its season with a 1-0 mark.
In last year’s season opener, at Oklahoma State, Graham scored seven points in his UC Davis debut — a total he matched before the 10-minute mark of Friday’s game.
Led by Josh Ritchart and his 18 points, Corey Hawkins (16) and Ryan Sypkens (11) returned to last year’s form and were able to keep UC Davis within distance throughout the opening moments of the second half.
Also finishing with eight rebounds and seven assists, Hawkins fell just short of recording the Aggies’ first triple-double since Mark Payne accomplished the feat (19 pts./10 rebs./10 asts.) versus Sacramento State in the final weeks of the 2007-08 season.
Friday's contest also provided Iggy Nujic and Avery Johnson with their first taste of regular-season action since transferring from UTSA and San Francisco respectively. Named a starter by head coach Jim Les, Nujic recorded four points and three rebounds. Johnson gave the Pilots fits on defense throughout his 19 minutes to force two of their eight turnovers off steals.
In his regular season debut, Brynton Lemar
added another 11 points and collected three of the Aggies’ 36 rebounds.
The final newcomer to earn significant playing time at Portland, Georgi Funtarov's debut included a three-point, three-rebound effort. Funtarov was also responsible for one of the Aggies' two blocks, with Ritchart collecting the other.
Before Portland entered the bonus midway through the first half, the Aggies were clicking on both ends of the floor and executed their plays to near-perfection. At one point, Portland was held without a field goal for over four minutes while UC Davis’ quintet of scorers helped their team hold its lead.
Included in this block of time were easy baskets from Ritchart, and thunderous dunks from Clint Bozner.
Ten lead changes, and five tied scores took place throughout the first half until a slew of whistles brought action inside the Chiles Center to a halt. Of the 25 fouls, UC Davis was whistled for 16; with 15 of their first-half points scored at the line, the Pilots were able to build a 13-point lead before the break.
When play resumed, UC Davis was able to chip away at Portland’s lead, pulling within 11 on numerous occasions throughout the final half.
Outshot on the by four baskets, UC Davis was 29 of 64 compared to Portland who finished 32 of 63 from the floor, the Aggies' fared better from distance to outscored the Pilots by 12.
It was the numbers at the stripe that provided the biggest discrepancy as Portland took an additional 13 attempts, and doubled the Aggies' 15 points earned at the line.
UC Davis will return to action on Monday, Nov. 11, in its home opener against Holy Names. Tipoff from The Pavilion is scheduled for 7 p.m.