GAME NOTES: The UC Irvine Anteaters have won two games in a row and will put their 6-2 conference record on the line against the UC Davis Aggies in a Big West Conference showdown at the Pavilion.
UC Irvine is coming off back-to-back wins over Cal Poly and Long Beach State, respectively. The Anteaters downed LBSU, 61-58, on Thursday night to improve to 6-2 in the conference, which ties UC Santa Barbara atop the Big West.
UC Davis avoided a two-game losing streak with a 90-86 overtime victory over Big West rival Cal State Northridge Thursday night. The Aggies pulled away from the Matadors with the win, and are now 3-5 in the conference standings.
UC Irvine holds the all-time series lead over UC Davis, 18-12. These two teams will meet up again later this season on March 8 at Irvine.
UC Irvine went into the intermission Thursday knotted with Long Beach State, 31-31, and barely outlasted the 49ers in the second half, 30-27, for the three-point win. Luke Nelson scored 28 points to pace the Anteaters on 10- of-15 shooting. Chris McNealy was the only other UC Irvine player to net double digits in the win, scoring 10. Mamadou Ndiaye just barely missed out on a triple-double with eight points, 10 rebounds and 11 blocked shots.
Nelson has taken over the role of the Anteaters' top scorer, averaging 12.8 ppg this season on 42.3 percent shooting from the floor. His 70 assists is second on the team to Alex Young's 108, and 24 steals is just behind Young's 27. McNealy is second on the team, averaging 11.7 ppg, and Will Davis II is third at 10.9 ppg and a team-best 6.6 rpg.
Georgi Funtarov netted a 3-pointer with seven seconds remaining in overtime to lift the Aggies over Cal State Northridge in Big West play. Funtarov scored 15 points for UC Davis with seven rebounds, but was outdone by Corey Hawkins, who had 27 points, six boards and six assists. Ryan Sypkens added 16 points off the bench, and Brynton Lemar had 12 points. Avery Johnson rounded out the Aggies' double-digit scorers with 10 points on the night. UC Davis shot 45.6 percent from the floor in the game.
Hawkins upped his team-leading scoring total with the 27-point effort against Cal State Northridge to 18.3 ppg on 45 percent shooting from the floor. Hawkins's 66 assists on the season is second behind only Darius Graham's 78 total helpers. Ryan Sypkens is second on the active UC Davis squad with 12.6 ppg with a team-best 4.7 rpg. The Aggies are scoring 72.5 ppg and giving up 79 ppg to their opponents.
UC Irvine may be taking this Big West tilt on the road, but the Anteaters haven't backed down to any conference opponent this season. At 6-2 in the Big West, UC Irvine will be looking to bump itself past UCSB.
Game Date and Time