YOLO COUNTY NEWS

Aggies

High-scoring Aggies fall to CSUN

By December 30, 2010

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NORTHRIDGE — The UC Davis men\’s basketball team set its season high for points in winning its Big West opener earlier this week. On Thursday, the offense was there again, but the Aggie defense couldn\’t do enough to slow Cal State Northridge and UCD went to 1-1 in conference with an 87-81 loss at the Matadome.

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Despite seven ties and 12 lead changes in the first half, the Aggies (6-8 overall) did not lead in the second half and the Matadors (4-9, 1-1) pulled away.

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Northridge used a 15-7 run over a four-minute stretch after the break to take its biggest advantage, 71-55, with 7:36 left in the game. UCD cut it to within five in the final minutes, but the late burst proved to be too little too late, as the Matadors made 9-of-10 free throws in the final 1:14 to seal the victory.

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Ryan Sypkens set new career highs in points (19) and 3-point field goals made (five) for the Aggies, while shooting 6-of-10 from the field and 5-of-7 from behind the arc. Mark Payne also filled up the stat sheet, posting 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting, to go along with six rebounds and five assists.

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But UCD could not stop CSUN\’s Rashaun McLemore, who recorded a game-high 24 points on 10-of-16 shooting. Lenny Daniel added a double-double for the sixth time on the season, with 18 points and 10 rebounds, as the Matadors got everything they wanted on offense, shooting 53 percent for the game, including 56 percent in the second half.

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“We didn\’t have an answer for anything they did on the offensive end,” UCD head coach Gary Stewart said. “We just couldn\’t get stops. We tried a multitude of things, so credit Northridge. They did an excellent job of staying disciplined and aggressive.”

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The first half featured each team shooting 50 percent or better from the field. After an 8-8 tie to start the game, the Aggies had a quick 5-0 burst to take a 13-8 advantage at the 14:23 mark.

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Northridge responded with a 6-0 run of its own, capped off by a McLemore layup. Multiple lead changes ensued, with no team leading by more than five points for the rest of the first half.

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Sypkens had three consecutive treys at one point to put the Aggies on top 29-24 with 6:04 on the clock. UCD had a two-point lead late in the half, thanks to an Alex Tiffin layup with 34 second remaining before intermission. The Matadors took the lead into halftime however, when Cody Raymod\’s three put Northridge on top 42-41.

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The Matadors started the second half with an 8-2 run to take a 49-42 advantage after a Daniel 3-point play with 16:00 on the clock. Northridge pulled away to take a 16-point advantage, thanks to another Daniel layup at the 7:36 mark.

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UCD had the lead down to five on multiple occasions in the final two minutes. A streaking Joe Harden layup brought the score to 78-73 with 1:07 left to play and a Ryan Howley 3-pointer made the score 81-76 with just 36 second remaining. But the Matadors held on.

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“It\’s really disappointing that we averaged 84 points on the week and came away 1-1,” Stewart said. “But that\’s basketball. We live and die with our effort on the defensive end.

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“We\’ll deal with the emotion of the game and settle down, then we\’ll work on some things that we hope to get better at. Hopefully, we can improve by the time we tip it up again on Thursday.”

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UCD returns home next week to play a pair of Big West games, starting with UC Santa Barbara on Thursday at 7 p.m.

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Enterprise staff

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