GAME NOTES: The UC Davis Aggies are trying to climb out of a hole they dug themselves in with a seven-game losing streak earlier this season as they travel to face the Cal State Northridge Matadors in Big West Conference action Thursday.
The Aggies lost seven in a row starting at the end of November, but have since won two of three contests, including a 93-69 victory over Simpson last Thursday. The Aggies have been off the hardwood for a week.
Cal State Northridge is looking to fix a two-game skid the team is experiencing. The Matadors seek to get back in the win column in this conference opener against the Aggies, especially after a close 76-75 loss to South Dakota.
Northridge owns a slim 10-8 all-time series lead over UC Davis, although the Aggies have won the last three games in which these teams have met, including a 74-71 victory last season at The Matadome.
UC Davis rolled to a 93-69 victory over Simpson on the back of Ryan Sypkens, who hit a school-record 10 3-pointers Thursday. Sypkens netted a career-high 30 points - all on 3-pointers - going 10-of-14 from beyond the arc. Corey Hawkins added 19 points in the win with a team-best seven assists. Iggy Nujic had 14 points and Georgi Funtarov scored 10. The Aggies shot 53.3 percent from the floor in the blowout win.
Josh Ritchart, who leads the team in scoring this season with 17.3 ppg, has missed six contests this season with a sprained ankle, but is questionable to play against Northridge. Hawkins in the team's second leading scorer, having played in 14 games, netting 17.1 ppg this season. Sypkens, who is shooting 43 percent from 3-point range, is third on the team in scoring with 11.5 ppg.
Cal State Northridge came back from a 13-point halftime deficit to take an eight-point lead with 4:37 to play, then eventually lost it as the Matadors suffered their second straight loss. Stephan Hicks and Stephen Maxwell each scored a team-high 19 points in the losing effort. Hicks grabbed 10 rebounds for a double-double, while Maxwell just missed with nine rebounds. Josh Greene added 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting.
Hicks leads the Matadors this season with 17.6 ppg, while Maxwell isn't too far off the pace with 16.5 ppg. Both are averaging well over seven rebounds per contests, with Hicks checking in at 7.4 rpg and Maxwell at 8.6 rpg. The Matadors as a unit are just barely outscoring their opponents with a 75.3 ppg average compared to 75 ppg for the opposition.
The Aggies are the ones coming off a crucial win, but at home with better all- around scorers, the Matadors should get the advantage in this conference opener.
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