UC Davis’ five-point lead turned into a game-high 12-point advantage midway through the second half of its Jan. 23 game at RIMAC Arena, Kennedy Koehler and Caleb Fuller combined to hit seven of their team’s final eight free throws down the stretch, and the Aggies enjoyed a red-hot shooting performance after halftime to earn their first victory, following a seven-week hiatus, by defeating UC San Diego, 78-71.
Men’s basketball home opener on Dec. 4 was its last game before competition was paused to remain compliant with Yolo County health orders.
UC Davis will return home with a 3-3 overall record and begin preparing for its inaugural Big West home series of the season, which starts on Friday with a 4 p.m. matchup against UC Santa Barbara, and continues the following day with another 4 p.m. game.
UC San Diego will continue its season at 3-4.
After forcing the Tritons to commit 22 turnovers in Friday’s game, the Aggies’ defense played a key role in Saturday’s rematch by creating another 21, which led to 31 points. Included in UCSD’s turnover total were a game-high three steals from Elijah Pepper and a pair of blocked shots from Damion Squire.
In addition to recording two steals apiece, Ezra Manjon and Squire each led the Aggies with six assists; the pair finished with a higher total compated to the entire UCSD roster combined (11).
On the opposite end of the court, the Ags shot 56 percent from the floor in the second half and 44 pct. from three.
Led by Pepper and his career-high 20-points, on 9-for-15 shooting, four players finished in double figures. By connecting on six of nine attempts, including two of three from three, and all four at the free throw line, Fuller finished with 18 points in 25 minutes of action. Returning to a familiar environment, he played at UC San Diego as a freshman; Koehler posted 13 points and a team-high six rebounds; for the second straight game, Manjon added another 11 points for the Ags.