Dec. 1, 2004
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Guard Rommel Marentez scored 18 points after halftime and the Aggie defense held the Hornets without a field goal over the final 11 minutes, 29 seconds of regulation and overtime as UC Davis rallied for the come-from-behind, 72-63, overtime victory against Sacramento State in front of 1262 fans Wednesday night at the Hornets Nest.
With the win the Aggies improve to 2-1 on the season while the Hornets fall to 1-3.
Jameel Pugh, who finished the night with 12 points, connected for a three-pointer that pushed the Hornet lead to 56-44, with 6:30 remaining it regulation. It was the last Hornet field goal of the contest as the Aggie used a 12-0 run the rest of regulation to force overtime against the bigger Hornet lineup. Two Thomas Juillerat free throws ignited the rally as UC Davis cut the lead to five with just under four minutes to play. As the Hornet offense sputtered, the Aggies took advantage with a pair of Marentez free throws to cut the lead to 56-53 with 1:21 left. Aggie forward JaQay Carlyle blocked a Jason Harris three on the next possession, then grabbed the offensive rebound on Justin Stearns' miss on the other end, setting up Marentez for the game-tying three with 37 seconds left in regulation. Marentez' basket capped a half in which he scored 16 points, including four three-pointers, as UC Davis rallied from double-digit deficits on three occasions in the final 15 minutes.
In overtime, the Aggies took their first lead of the game on a Marentez layup at the 4:02 mark. The teams exchanged free throws over the next two minutes until Fowzi Abdelsamad nailed a baseline three that gave UC Davis a 63-61 lead, a lead it did not relinquish. Senior Ryan Moore, who suffered through the worst shooting night of his Aggie career, came alive in overtime, converting a layup that pushed the lead to four then sinking two more free throws to ice the game. Justin Stearns added three free throws in the extra period as the Aggies hit all four shots from the field and made seven of eight attempts from the line.
Conversely, the Hornets continued their cold shooting in overtime, missing all nine attempts. They hit seven of eight free throws, but it was not enough as UC Davis pulled out the victory.
"That's a tough way to make a living," said Aggie head coach Gary Stewart. "In the first half we were handing them the ball and were lucky not to be down more than 14. We were so tentative in the half and nothing went right.
"In the second half we were more concerned with ourselves," Stewart continued. "I felt like we had to get to a certain level of play and sustain it, and that's what we did."
In the opening 20 minutes UC Davis played its poorest half since Stewart began coaching last season. The Aggies committed 15 turnovers and shot just 28 percent from the field as the Hornets raced out to the 14-point halftime lead. Sacramento State was first to every loose ball as Harris scored 11 points in the half to spark the Hornets.
"We place a high premium on competing and we did that in the second half and overtime," said Stewart. "Everyone started to go on all cylinders and we began implementing the things we talked about the last few days. Down the stretch we made plays and got the ball to the open man, which we didn't do in the first half."
For the game Abdelsamad finished with a team-high 21 points while Marentez added seven boards and three assists as the only other Aggie in double figures. Carlyle finished with a team-high eight rebounds as UC Davis managed a 43-38 edge on the glass. The Aggies finished the night shooting 81 percent from the foul line, hitting 22 of 27 shots.
The Hornets were led by Harris' game-highs of 24 points and 11 rebounds. Pugh finished with 12 points while DaShawn Freeman added seven points and a game-high nine assists. After leading by 12 with 6:30 left in regulation, the Hornets missed their final 15 shots from the field to finish the night shooting 29.7 percent.
UC Davis is next in action on Saturday when it hosts Northern Arizona on "Break The Record Night," the Aggies' annual attempt to set a single-game attendance record at the Pavilion. The game is part of a men's/women's doubleheader, with the women to face Menlo at 6 p.m. and with the men to follow at 8 p.m.