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MENâ€™S BASKETBALL HANGS ON LATE FOR 59-57 ROAD WIN AT UC DAVIS
DAVIS, Calif. – Sacramento State raced out to a 35-27 halftime lead and saw UC Davis miss three field goal attempts in the final eight seconds as the Hornets knocked off the Aggies, 59-57, in the men’s basketball version of the Causeway Classic Wednesday evening at The Pavilion.
In a game where neither team led by more than six points the final 19:39 of the contest, Sultan Toles-Bey knocked down a pair of free throws to give Sacramento State a 59-55 lead with 2:01 to play. That was the last points Sacramento State would score as UC Davis got a jumper from Julian Welch to get within two points (59-57) with one minute remaining.
The Aggies then rebounded a Michael Selling miss with 30 seconds left, setting up a wild final possession. UC Davis dribbled the clock down to 10 seconds before Mark Payne drove hard to his left and pulled up for a jumper which he missed with eight second remaining. Ryan Howley grabbed the offensive rebound and fed to Payne who missed an eight-footer with three seconds to play. Howley then grabbed another rebound and tossed up a contested short distance attempt which fell off the mark as time expired.
Sacramento State won the game despite UC Davis attempting 20 more shots from the field (60-40), outrebounding the Hornets, 34-28 (including one Hornet offensive rebound) and forcing Sacramento State into 23 turnovers. The Hornets, however, were proficient from the field, knocking down 52.5 percent (21-40) of their field goal attempts compared to UC Davis shooting just 33.3 percent (20-60) from the floor. The Hornets also scored 28 of their 59 points in the paint, including numerous layups and dunks.
With the victory, Sacramento State defeated UC Davis for the fourth time in six years, improved to 63-42 all-time against the Aggies, and gained 10 points in the Causeway Cup, an all-sports competition between the two schools. The Hornets now hold a 32.5-22.5 lead in the Causeway Cup, a competition Sacramento State has won three of the last five years.
In addition, the Hornets improved to 4-4 overall this season, including 3-3 away from home, after going 2-27 overall last season. Three of Sacramento State’s last four games have been decided by two points or less and the Hornets are 2-1 in those decisions, including a 65-63 victory at Oregon State on Nov. 21.
With the loss, UC Davis, which had just won at Ball State last Saturday, dropped to 3-4 this season.
“That’s three games in the last two weeks that have come down to the last shot and we’ve found a way to win two of them,” Sacramento State second-year head coach Brian Katz said. “We were very fortunate that UC Davis missed all three of those attempts in the final seconds, but our guys kept battling and we got the win.”
The Aggies took their largest lead of the game at 17-12 with 11:58 left in the first half, before Sacramento State immediately responded by going on a 17-2 run spanning 7:02 of clock to take a game-high 10-point lead (31-21) with 4:13 left. During the run, Hornet junior forward Duro Bjegovic scored eight of his season-high 10 points. Both teams exchanged baskets the next few possessions until Sacramento State eventually went into the break with a 35-27 lead.
UC Davis began the second half on an 8-2 run to cut the Hornet lead to two points (35-33) with 18:18 left to play. The Aggies eventually took their only lead of the second half on a Mark Payne layup (43-42) with 14:00 minutes remaining. However, Sacramento State immediately responded with a three-pointer from Domineek Daniel and never trailed the rest of the way.
In a game that included just four fast-break points (two for each team), Sacramento State was led in scoring by freshman John Dickson as the swingman finished with 14 points, two blocks and two steals before fouling out with 1:31 to play. Joining Dickson in double figures for the Hornets were Toles-Bey (13 points, four rebounds and two steals) and Bjegovic (10 points).
Senior Justin Eller added eight points, four of which came during the final 5:20 of the contest. Daniel had a packed stat line with seven points, three rebounds, eight turnovers, three blocked shots and six steals in 18 minutes. Shooting guard Antonio Flaggs had seven points and five assists and point guard Mike Marcial added six assists, four rebounds and two steals.
Sacramento State finished with a season-high 13 steals, including at least two from four different players. After making their first two three-point attempts of the evening, UC Davis went just 2-of-18 from long distance the rest of the game.
The Aggies were led by Payne’s 21 points, six rebounds and three steals. Joe Harden had 11 points and four rebounds before leaving with an ankle injury 10:39 left to play. Sacramento State limited Dominic Calegari, who entered the game averaging 16.0 points per game, to just four points this evening.
Sacramento State returns to action this Saturday, Dec. 5, when the team opens up Big Sky Conference play against Weber State at home. Tipoff is 7:05 p.m. The Wildcats are the defending Big Sky regular season champions.
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