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YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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Balanced attack leads UCD in Fullerton

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December 28, 2010 | Leave Comment

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FULLERTON — At the beginning of the season, UC Davis men\’s basketball coach Gary Stewart knew he would be able to rely on seniors Mark Payne and Joe Harden to score.

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He also knew that having just two reliable scorers wouldn\’t be enough for the Aggies to succeed

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in Big West play and hoped some other players would step up. Fast forward to Tuesday\’s conference opener at Cal State Fullerton:

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Four different UCD players reached double figures — and only one was a senior — in an 88-72 win at Titan Gym. Freshman Josh Ritchart and junior Eddie Miller each registered 20 points for the Aggies (6-7, 1-0) as Ritchart caught fire after intermission and poured in 17 of his in the second half.

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The UCD offense was firing on all cylinders in that second stanza, scoring 52 points to complete a season-high 88-point performance. The Aggies also nailed 13 3-pointers in the game, nine of which came in the second half. UCD shot 50 percent (30-of-60) for the contest and 40 percent

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(13-of-32) from behind the arc.

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Fullerton (4-9, 0-1) climbed to within one on multiple occasions in the second half, but never led.

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Ritchart\’s 20 points came on 6-of-11 shooting, with a 4-of-7 mark from long range and a team-best seven rebounds. Miller had 20 points for the second consecutive game, on 7-of-15 shooting.

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Ryan Sypkens (17 points) and Harden (15 points) were the other Aggies in double digits.

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“We got in a good rhythm and the ball naturally flowed to the open person,” Stewart said. “We feel like we\’ve built a team where anyone who gets open and squares their shoulders can knock down shots.”

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After a 12-12 tie through nine minutes, UCD went on a 14-2 run to pull ahead 27-14 with 5:18 on the clock. The Titans finally got their offense going in the final minutes of the first half, outscoring UCD, 13-10, over a five-minute stretch.

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But by holding Fullerton to just 35 percent shooting in the opening frame, the Aggies took a 36-27 advantage into intermission. Sypkens had a game-high 10 points at halftime on 4-of-8 shooting.

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The Titans opened up the second half with a 12-4 spurt that cut the gap to one at 40-39 with 15:29 left. UCD responded with an 11-2 run of its own, going up 51-41 when Ryan Howley made a jumper with 12:13 on the clock.

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After trading baskets, the Aggies started to heat up from long range. Ritchart hit back-to-back treys, as part of a run of four consecutive threes made by UCD. Later, a Ritchart layup gave the Aggies their biggest lead of that game, 65-48, with 8:07 to play.

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Fullerton, however, would not go away, slicing the advantage back to five with just under five minutes remaining. But UCD put the game away from there with 13 unanswered points. Sypkens\’ mid-ranged jumper gave the Aggies their largest bulge at 81-63 score

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“As we have practiced together and gotten more continuity, we have significantly improved our ability to pass the ball,” Stewart said. “We\’ve gotten more opportunities because of that and we were able to capitalize on that (Tuesday).”

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Payne had nine points and matched Sypkens for the team lead with five assists.

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UCD will be back in action on Thursday, playing its second Big West game of the season at Cal State Northridge. The contest tips at 7:05 p.m.

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Enterprise staff

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