Dec. 22, 2012
LOGAN, Utah - UC Davis shot 66.7 pct. from three, and scored 52 points in the second half to end its weekend at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan, Utah, Saturday night with an 82-71 victory over the Nicholls State Colonels at the World Vision Challenge, Sponsored by Gossner Foods.
The win caps a busy week for the Aggies who competed in five games throughout an eight-day timespan, ending with wins in three out of their last four played.
Led by junior guard Ryan Sypkens who scored 23 of his career-high 28 points in the second half, the Aggies (4-7) outscored the Colonels by 18 throughout the final 20 minutes of action.
"Not only is Sypkens good at shooting the ball, but he is doing a great job of making precise passes to his teammates to get them involved. Plus, he is always playing hard on defense," said head coach Jim Les.
In addition to Sypkens, three other Aggies posted double-digit scoring totals, with junior guard Tyler Les falling one point shy of becoming the fifth.
Finishing with a team-high five assists, sophomore guard Corey Hawkins also scored 19 points, with junior forward Josh Ritchart and Ryan Howley each ending their evening with 10.
For his efforts throughout the three-day event, Hawkins was named to the World Vision Challenge's All-Tournament Team.
Howley also finished with a team-high 11 rebounds to post his second double-double of the season. Howley and sophomore forward J.T. Adenrele now lead all Aggies with two double-doubles.
Entering Saturday's game with 27 rebounds earned throughout the Aggies' first two games at the World Vision Classic, Howley's efforts under the glass against the Colonels helped the senior guard set a new tournament record with 38 rebounds, shattering the previous mark of 33.
The record is the second one set by Howley throughout the three-day tournament; in the opening game of the Classic against Southern Illinois last Thursday, he finished with 15 rebounds to set a new single-game mark.
Trailing by seven at halftime, UC Davis wasted no time in erasing that deficit as an early 17-4 run helped the Aggies earn their first lead of the second half, one they would possess for the rest of the night.
"I thought the guys faced some adversity in the second half and really dug down to find a way to win this game. That is what it takes at this level. When you play hard on one end to get stops, and make the extra pass on the other end, good things will happen," said Les.
During that stretch, Sypkens sank three of his game-high six three-point shots; a basket from distance by Les pushed the Aggies' lead to seven with 9:14 left in the game, forcing Nicholls State to call a timeout.
Once both teams returned to the court, a three-point play by Ritchart, three-point shots by Sypkens and free throws from Hawkins throughout the subsequent three minutes helped the Aggies push their lead to a double-digit margin.
When Les sank the last of his three shots from behind the arc with 5:26 remaining, he effectively cemented the result for a UC Davis squad that possessed its largest lead of the game at 15 points.
During the second half alone, UC Davis was 15-for-26 (57.7 pct.), 8-for-12 (66.7 pct.) from three and 14-for-16 (87.5%) from the line.
T.J. Carpenter, Amin Torres and Dantrell Thomas led Nicholls State with 21, 14 and 10 points, Fred Hunter lead all Colonels with eight rebounds.
Saturday's game against Nicholls State (1-8) was the final non-conference tune-up for the Aggies, they start their Big West schedule on Saturday, Dec. 29, at UC Irvine.