SANTA BARBARA — Senior Ryan Sypkens used a strong second half to finished with a team-high 22 points on Saturday, but it wasn’t enough as the UC Davis men’s basketball dropped an 82-67 Big West Conference contest to UC Santa Barbara at The Thunderdome.
The loss sent UCD to 7-15 overall and into a tie with UC Riverside for last place in the league at 2-5.
Corey Hawkins added 15 points for the Aggies, but the Gauchos (14-6, 5-2) won behind a monster game from center Alan Williams. The Big West’s leading scorer and rebounder poured in 27 points and snagged 20 boards.
UCD actually had an early lead, and stayed close through most of the first half, even after UCSB took the advantage. But with several of the Aggie big men in foul trouble, the Gauchos pulled away just before the break to take a 36-22 lead into intermission.
By canning six of its eight treys in the second half, UCD was able to cut into what was once a 21-point deficit.
A 9-2 run, which featured a pair of Sypkens 3-pointers and a 3-point play from Clint Bozner, helped the Aggies get the lead down to 13 with 11 minutes remaining.
But as the game progressed, UCD’s mini-runs were quickly answered by UCSB scoring spurts, often paced by Kyle Boswell (15 points), Michael Bryson (11) and Williams.
Led by Sypkens, who shot 4-for-7 and scored 16 of his 22 points after halftime, the Aggie bench was responsible for nearly 60 percent of the team’s offense.
In fact, after Williams got one of his seven second-half baskets by barreling his way through Iggy Nujic, the UCD junior chose to take out his frustration on the other end of the floor. Nujic scored six of his eight points in the next two minutes of action as the Aggies briefly remained in striking distance.
And even after the Gauchos built their advantage back up to 21 points, UCD scored 11 of the next 14, to pull within 13 once again with three minutes remaining. But that was as close as the Aggies would come.
Bozner finished with a career-high eight rebounds for UCD, which is back home next week for 7 p.m. games against Cal State Northridge (Thursday) and UC Irvine (Saturday).