FULLERTON — In the first half, it was J.T. Adenrele, who had a double-double by intermission on his way to a career night. In the second half, it was momentum-shifting defensive plays from Josh Ritchart and clutch free-throw shooting by Tyler Les and Corey Hawkins.
For the UC Davis men’s basketball team, it all added up to a 71-68 road win at Cal State Fullerton, spoiling the Titans’ Senior Night.
The victory helped the Aggies (14-14, 9-7 Big West Conference) set two new program highs. With nine league wins and six road victories to its credit, this year’s squad is now responsible for recording the most Division I wins in each category in the program’s history.
UCD now enters Thursday’s nationally televised home game against Long Beach State with 14 overall wins and an opportunity to set another program high — most D-I wins in a season. The Aggies tied the mark with Saturday’s victory.
In the win, Adenrele scored a team-high 22 points and pulled down a career-high 15 rebounds.
Entering the locker room at the break with 13 points and 10 rebounds, the sophomore also was one of several Aggies who stepped up to make key plays in the final moments of the game.
Ritchart was another. In addition to earning his second block of the night on a 3-point attempt by Fullerton’s Chris Collins with the game tied at 64-64, the junior swingman grabbed one of UCD’s 13 offensive rebounds on a play moments later — one that eventually led to his free throw giving UCD a one-point lead with 3:35 remaining.
But it was a play made in the final seconds by Ritchart that ultimately helped the Aggies earn a split of its season series with the (Titans 14-15, 6-10).
With his team leading by one point, and 7.1 seconds left, Ritchart took one step outside the lower left-hand block and stood tall to draw a charge against Fullerton’s Jared Brandon.
Not only did that heads-up play force the Titans to commit their 12th turnover, but it also negated Brandon’s layup that otherwise would have given his team the lead.
Now forced to foul, Fullerton sent Les and Hawkins to the line on consecutive possessions and both calmly stepped to the stripe and drained both of their attempts.
Next up for the Aggies is a home game against Long Beach State, which will be broadcast on ESPN2. The 8 p.m. contest will be the first-ever UCD home game broadcast nationally.