IRVINE — Facing the top team in the Big West Conference, the UC Davis men’s basketball stayed close through much of the first half, but host UC Irvine pulled away after the break for a 74-46 victory.
The Aggies (9-22, 4-12) end their season as the ninth-place team in the conference, while the Anteaters (22-10, 13-3) clinched the Big West regular-season title and the top seed in this week’s league tournament.
Saturday’s contest also marked the final game for UCD senior Ryan Sypkens, who nailed a pair of 3-pointers to increase his all-time Big-West leading total to 315. His 6 points moved him past Dominic Calegari (2006-10) for 12th on the Aggies’ all-time scoring list at 1,275.
Sypkens led the team with two steals in his last UCD outing.
In the first half Saturday, a dunk by Clint Bozner capped a 14-5 Aggie run and pulled them to within one point of the powerful Anteaters with just over two minutes left until intermission.
Corey Hawkins started a UCD spurt by knocking down two shots at the line, then connected on a jumper on his team’s next possession. Later, 3-pointers by Georgi Funtarov and Brynton Lemar pulled the Aggies within three and, after forcing one of UCI’s 12 turnovers, Bozner’s dunk trimmed the advantage to 29-28.
But, by scoring 17 of the first 21 points in the second half, UC Irvine took control of the contest.
Funtarov and Hawkins (five rebounds) led the Aggies with 9 points apiece, while Lemar and Bozner (four boards) each chipped in 7.