DAVIS, Calif. – UC Davis’ Mark Payne recorded the third triple-double in school history (19 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists) to lead the Aggies to an 83-77 victory over Sacramento State in a non-conference men’s basketball matchup Saturday evening at The Pavilion.
With the exception of a 13-0 spurt to start the game for UC Davis, the Hornets and Aggies played tight during most of the game, including neither team having larger than a eight-point lead during the final 10:58 of the contest.
A three-pointer from the Hornets’ Vinnie McGhee, Jr., drew the Hornets within one point (68-67) of the Aggies’ lead with 3:07 left, but UC Davis was able to score on six of its final seven possessions to put the game away.
After a three-pointer from Dominic Calegari gave UC Davis an eight-point lead (75-67) with 1:28 remaining, the Hornets jumped right back into the game with a three-pointer from McGhee (1:16), and after a steal in the backcourt, another three-pointer from Clark Woods (0:56) to draw within two points.
However, on the ensuing UC Davis inbounds pass, Hornet senior Justin Williams inexplicably fouled Payne in the backcourt with 52 seconds remaining, and Payne knocked down both free throws. McGhee, who scored a game-high 24 points for the Hornets, slipped on the court while driving up the floor and the ball bounced straight to the Aggies, sparking a fast break that finished with a Calegari tip-in to give UCD a 79-73 lead with 41 seconds left.
Sacramento State drew within four points twice in the final 23 seconds, but that was as close as the Hornets would get the rest of the way.
“I felt the team played hard tonight, but unfortunately we are still learning how to play on the road,” Sacramento State head coach Jerome Jenkins said. “I give credit to UC Davis, they knocked down the big shots down the stretch and that’s what won the game.”
With the loss, Sacramento State wrapped up its road portion of the schedule and dropped to 4-23 overall. The Hornets have just one game remaining on their schedule, and that will come at home this Monday, March 3, against Weber State at 7:05 p.m.
The Hornets had defeated UC Davis each of the last two years prior to tonight’s loss. With the win, the Aggies improved to 9-20 overall and moved their record all-time to 45-61 against Sacramento State. The win also clinched the Causeway Cup championship for UC Davis, the annual all-sports challenge between the two schools. Sacramento State had won the previous two Causeway Cup titles. Since the Cup series began in 2004-05, both schools have now won two championships.
The loss spoiled a sparking effort by McGhee, who continues to establish himself as not only the Hornets’ best player, but also a favorite to earn Big Sky Conference Freshman of the Year honors. McGhee finished the game 9-of-15 from the field, including 6-of-8 from beyond the three-point line. He also dished out seven assists to just two turnovers while playing all 40 minutes of the contest. Sixteen of his game-high 24 points came in the second half.
“Vinnie is a very fearless player, and I have more confidence in him than any freshman I have ever coached,” Jenkins said. “He has both a tremendous upside and future ahead of him.”
UC Davis put on a shooting clinic, converting on 57.1 percent (28-49) of its field goal attempts, 47.4 percent (9-19) from the three-point line, and 85.7 percent (18-21) from the free throw line. The Aggies had four players in double figures, led by Calegari’s 22 points and 10 rebounds. Payne’s 19 points came on 4-of-8 shooting from the field and 10-of-11 from the free throw line. That included 6-for-6 during the game’s final 2:08. Joining Calegari and Payne in double figures for the Aggies were Vince Oliver (18) and David Carter (16).
Sacramento State did outrebound UC Davis, 34-32, but could not match the Aggies from the field, shooting 41.1 percent (30-73), and 34.5 percent (9-26) from the three-point arc. UC Davis was whistled for just 11 fouls during the entire contest, as Sacramento State finally found itself in the bonus for the first time with 15.1 seconds remaining in the game.
Joining McGhee in double figures for the Hornets were Woods (15 points, four steals), Williams (14 points, five rebounds, two blocks and four steals) and Loren Leath (10). Jason Davis added eight points, five rebounds and two steals. Freshman Darnell Ferguson led all Hornets with six rebounds despite playing just 16 minutes.
After UCD jumped out to a 13-0 lead, the Hornets spent the entire first half whittling the Aggie lead away until closing the half on an 11-2 run to take a 36-34 lead heading into the break.
Hornet seniors Davis, Woods and Williams will be honored prior to Monday’s game against Weber State for their contributions to the program.