LONG BEACH — Despite entering the second half with a nine-point lead — and a good chance to become the first Big West team to win at Long Beach State in three seasons — the UC Davis men’s basketball squad let it slip away in a 71-65 loss to the 49ers on Wednesday.
On the court for all 40 minutes, Corey Hawkins finished with a team-high 21 points for the Aggies (11-14, 7-7). J.T. Adenrele added his third double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.
Long Beach State (17-9) improved to 13-2 in Big West play, in a game that was closer than the score reflects.
It wasn’t lack of effort that hurt UCD — which was playing without sharpshooter Ryan Sypkens, who sat out with flu-like symptoms. The short-handed Aggies dove for loose balls, went hard after boards and forced 11 turnovers.
In the first half, UCD took its lead by nailing eight 3-pointers and forcing eight turnovers. The 49ers shot over 60 percent in the second half to draw even, then made five of six free throws down the stretch to clinch the win.
Now, the Aggies return home for an ESPN BracketBusters contest against Northern Colorado on Saturday. Tipping off at 1:30 p.m. the game is the opener of a doubleheader with the UCD women, who follow with a 4 p.m. game against Cal State Fullerton.