UC Davis scored nine straight points early in the second half of Saturday’s Bronco Invitational finale vs. Idaho State, as part of a 15-3 run, which included back-to-back threes from Caleb Fuller and a three-point play from Kennedy Koehler, to tie the game at 38 apiece with 14:40 left to play. When Elijah Pepper connected on a fast break jumper shortly thereafter, the Aggies took the lead for good and ended its week in Santa Clara with a 70-61 victory.
UC Davis will enter Friday’s 4 p.m. home opener vs. William Jessup with a 1-2 record, Idaho State will return home at 0-3.
Known nationwide for its defensive intensity, UC Davis forced Idaho State to commit 11 of its 21 turnovers throughout the second half. The Aggies took advantage of errors committed by the Bengals by scoring 24 points off those miscues in Saturday’s tournament finale at the Leavey Center.
Once UC Davis took the lead, threes from Cameron Ba and Ezra Manjon kept their team’s cushion at a two-possession margin, as the game continued, whenever the Bengals started to pull close to the Aggies. When ISU was forced to foul, the Aggies took full advantage of those opportunities.
Not only did the Aggies shoot 86 pct. overall (12-14) from the free throw line, they made their final 10 shots at the stripe thanks to Damion Squire (6 FTM), Pepper and Manjon (2 FTM each) who came up clutch during crunch time.
UC Davis took full control of the game and never looked back, thanks to a 15-3 run that spanned five minutes and started with a layup from Fuller. Following its three consecutive three-point possessions, a layup from Manjon took place between two baskets from Pepper and the Aggies never trailed throughout the final 12 minutes of the game.
Manjon and Pepper led the Aggies in scoring with 23 and 13 points apiece; both shot 50 pct. for the game with the latter ending the weekend as one of two players with a team-high six rebounds.
Koehler also finished with six rebounds and six points.
Led by Fuller, who scored 10 of his 12 points after halftime (on 5 of 8 shooting overall), UC Davis’ reserves tripled up on their counterpoints, and outscored ISU’s bench, 16-5.
When opportunities arose all game long, UC Davis was comfortable pushing the pace of play, and frustrated the Bengals’ defense throughout the entire afternoon by scoring all 20 of the game’s fast break points.
Saturday’s game marked the seventh 20-point total for Manjon and the third in as many games played this season. Last year, the Big West Freshman of the Year scored 20 or more in four games.
In addition to its success at the line, the Aggies hit nearly half of their field goal attempts (26-54; 48 pct.) and 6 of 18 from three (33 pct.).