PORTLAND — Darius Graham’s career scoring high was one of five double-digit Aggie performances, but the UC Davis men’s basketball team couldn’t overcome a slew of first-half foul calls and dropped its season opener, 100-83, at Portland.
Senior Josh Ritchart led UCD with 18 points, Corey Hawkins added 16, Graham poured in 12, Ryan Sypkens scored 11 and Brynton Lemar had a strong Aggie debut with 11 points.
Hawkins, the reigning Big West scoring champ, added eighth rebounds and seven assists for a great all-around effort.
Before the Pilots entered the bonus midway through the first half, the Aggies were clicking on both ends of the floor. At one point, Portland was held without a field goal for more than four minutes while UCD built a four-point lead.
That’s when the large number of whistles — 25 fouls were called in the first half, 16 of them on the Aggies — slowed the action inside the Chiles Center. The Pilots used 15 points from the line to build a double-digit advantage by intermission.
The Aggies couldn’t get closer than 11 after the break.
In addition to Lemar, Friday’s contest also gave Iggy Nujic and Avery Johnson their first taste of regular-season action since transferring from UTSA and San Francisco, respectively. Named a starter by UCD head coach Jim Les, Nujic recorded four points and three rebounds. Johnson, meanwhile, gave Portland fits with his tough defense, posting two steals in 19 minutes of action.
The final newcomer to earn significant playing time at was Georgi Funtarov, whose debut included a three-point, three-rebound effort for the Aggies, who will host Holy Names on Monday in their home opener. Tipoff at The Pavilion is set for 7 p.m.