Review Category : Men’s Basketball

UC Davis makes a splash on the basketball recruiting trail

There is a saying in basketball: you cannot teach size. Some people are just born tall. While size is not everything in basketball, it is important. A tall player with long arms has the ability to contest jump shots, rebound the ball and shoot over defenders easily. This is the type of player that UC Davis is getting as they add Georgi Funtarov to the roster. Funtarov, who played high school basketball at Vermont Academy, is a 6-foot-8 guard/forward combo. He has the ability to help the Aggies in so many ways, including stabilizing some of UC Davis’ deficiencies. At 6-foot-8, he has the height and the wingspan to clear the boards, a need for the Aggies due to the loss of graduating senior Ryan Howley. Howley was UC Davis’ leading rebounder, averaging 7.5 rebounds a game this year. Funtarov has shown the ability to rebound during his high school career, highlighted by his seven rebounds per game average in his senior year. Hopefully, he will be able to pick... ...

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Men’s basketball turnaround season ends in disappointment

When the Aggies headed down to Anaheim, Calif. to participate in the Big West Tournament Championship, they had every intention of winning. Despite being ranked sixth in conference, this team knew they had what it took to bring that championship banner home. While the UC Davis men’s basketball team was not able to capture the championship, it was not wrong about its talent. UC Davis is home to Corey Hawkins, now named Big West Newcomer of the Year and CBS Sports Big West MVP. The Aggies’ roster also boasts Ryan Sypkens, the second most productive three-point shooter in the nation. The team is also joined by big man J.T. Adenrele whose size allows him to be a presence on all sides of the court. This team was blitzing toward a Cinderella finish, but their tank ran a little dry after their historic game against Long Beach State on ESPN2. The Aggies suffered a heartbreaking loss that night, and they followed it up with another collapse against UC Irvine a few... ...

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Men’s Basketball Preview

Teams: UC Davis vs. Cal Poly Records: Aggies 14-16, (9-9); Mustangs 17-12, (12-6) Where: Honda Center — Anaheim, Calif. When: Thursday at 2:30 p.m. Who to watch: The Aggies are headed to Anaheim, Calif. this weekend and all eyes will be on sophomore Corey Hawkins. Hawkins has been absolutely incredible for UC Davis this year, leading the Big West Conference in scoring and placing in the top ten for eight other individual categories. The Goodyear, Ariz., native was granted First Team All-Big West honors this week, in addition to earning the Big West Newcomer of the Year Award. CBS Sports also named Hawkins the Big West’s Most Valuable Player. Hawkins played a championship-caliber game against Long Beach State last Thursday night, but Saturday’s performance against UC Irvine was unusually muted. To be fair, the Hawk still finished the game with 21 points, 3 assists and 2 steals but he went 9-14 from the free throw line which is highly uncharacteristic for him. The Aggies want to be contenders for Sunday’s... ...

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Men’s Basketball Preview

Teams: UC Davis vs. Long Beach State; vs. UC Irvine Records: Aggies,14-14, (9-7); 49ers, 17-11, (13-3); Anteaters, 17-13, (10-6) Where: The Pavilion — Davis, Calif. When: Thursday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 7 p.m. Who to watch: With all the fanfare surrounding this week’s ESPN2 game it is hard to pick just one player to watch. However, if Aggie fans are looking for electricity, they can find it in junior Ryan Sypkens. The Elk Grove, Calif. local has returned to the roster after being sidelined with a knee surgery last season. In his “comeback” year, he has hit 99 three-pointers, earning him the school record for most three-pointers in a season, as well as career threes as an Aggie. He broke both of those records with one shot, and this Thursday he can crack the 100 mark with another. Additionally, it has been two years since Long Beach State was tasked with defending Sypkens’ hot hands. It may be enough to give the Aggies the competitive edge they will need... ...

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Mancasola makes it happen against Northern Colorado

On Wednesday, UC Davis headed south for a matchup against the Big West Conference’s number one team, Long Beach State. If the 49ers were expecting to blow another team out at home, they were sorely mistaken. The Aggies took the court without their three-point connoisseur, junior Ryan Sypkens. Luckily, sophomore Corey Hawkins decided it would be a great night to emulate Sypkens’ form beyond the arc. Hawkins banked four threes for 12 points in the first half alone. UC Davis was scorching in the first half. Hawkins was not alone in frustrating the 49er defense. Junior Tyler Les also landed three three-pointers of his own, while senior Paolo Mancasola made a three, two assists and a nice steal to help continue to Aggies’ momentum. At the end of the half, UC Davis was leading a stunned Long Beach State 33-24. After the break, the 49ers started to pull back in it. They stepped up their defense and they were finally able to showcase that high-flying offense. Ultimately, this game came... ...

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Men’s Basketball Preview

Teams: UC Davis at Long Beach State; vs. Northern Colorado Records: Aggies 11-13 (7-6); 49ers 16-9 (10-2); Bears 9-15 (7-9) Where: Walter Pyramid — Long Beach, Calif.; The Pavilion — Davis, Calif. When: Wednesday at 7:05 p.m.; Saturday at 7 p.m. Who to watch: Junior Ryan Sypkens smashed two long-standing school records with one shot on Valentine’s Day. The historic three-pointer broke the single season three-point record, and also gave him the record for most 3-pointers scored in a career. The Elk Grove, Calif. native is 91-188 from the three-point line this season, giving the Aggie faithful plenty of opportunities to throw their “forks up!” Jokingly known as “Snipe-kens,” Ryan still has six regular season games left to try and break the 100 mark. “Sypkens rarely misses. He shoots with confidence and it shows,” said head coach Jim Les. Did you know? Not surprisingly, sophomore Corey Hawkins has earned yet another accolade this season. During UC Davis’ home sweep last week, Hawkins scored a whopping 52 points and shot 61.5... ...

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Inside the Game with J.T. Adenrele

The UC Davis men’s basketball has all the ingredients it needs to be a successful team. Senior Paolo Mancasola distributes the ball, sophomore Corey Hawkins makes the shots and junior Ryan Sypkens drains the threes. Sophomore J.T. Adenrele brings the size, the presence in the paint and the power. The Roseville, Calif. native has started every game for UC Davis this season and has led the team in points four times, including a career high of 23 against Stanford early in the season. Adenrele is averaging 12.2 points per game and his record of 33 blocked shots is the most on the team. He sat down with Aggie Sports Writer Kim Carr to talk about how he bulked up for this season and how the team’s outlook is for the year. The Aggie even got some bonus interview material from Adenrele’s mother, Bernadette, featured here. What brought you to UC Davis? Family, actually. I had always wanted to go to a big city for school but when one of my... ...

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Men’s basketball Preview

Teams: UC Davis vs. Hawai’i; vs. Cal State Northridge Records: Aggies 9-13 (5-6); Rainbow Wahine 15-9 (9-4); Matadors 13-12 (4-9) Where: The Pavillion — Davis, Calif. When: Thursday at 7 p.m.; Saturday at 7 p.m. Who to watch: Sophomore Corey Hawkins is simply unstoppable. He returned from an injury to score 36 points through his first two games back. As UC Davis prepares to face Hawai’i on Valentine’s Day, the Goodyear, Ariz. native will be a key piece of the game plan. During the Aggies’ last match against the Rainbow Wahine, Hawkins’ shredded their defense, landing 40 points in the game. His incredible performance broke UC Davis’ record for most points scored in a game and it gave Hawai’i their first Big West conference home loss of the season. Did you know? UC Davis’ victory over UC Santa Barbara broke through a five-year barrier, giving the Aggies their first win over the Gauchos since 2007. Preview: As conference play dwindles to a close, the Aggies are not in the place... ...

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Men’s basketball preview

Teams: UC Davis at UC Santa Barbara; at Cal Poly Records: Aggies 8-12 (4-5); Gauchos 7-14 (3-7); Mustangs 9-11 (5-5) Where: The Thunderdome — Santa Barbara, Calif.; Robert A. Mott Gymnasium — San Luis Obispo, Calif. When: Thursday at 7 p.m.; Saturday at 7 p.m. Who to watch: Junior Josh Ritchart scored a season-high 22 points during last week’s loss to Pacific. He will be tasked with the challenge of repeating that performance this week. The Aggies are faced with two tough road games this week, and as if they needed more pressure, they may have to perform without leading scorer sophomore Corey Hawkins. Head coach Jim Les told his players they had to step up to fill the gap left by Hawkins’ absence and Ritchart took that message to heart. The junior landed shots from the field, beyond the arc and the free throw line to spearhead the Aggies’ offense. The best thing about the Auburn, Calif. native is his ability to be a threat from anywhere on the... ...

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Aggies drop 77-64 battle at Pacific

Whether it was a defensive letdown or a lack of depth on the bench, the Aggies faltered down the stretch and lost to conference rival Pacific. The road game tested UC Davis’ physical strength. Pacific is stacked with size and boasts a roster full of shooters. The Aggies were without starting guard Corey Hawkins, but junior Josh Ritchart stepped up to fill the void of leading shooter. Ritchart’s been a threat from all over the court this season, but he was on fire against Pacific. Ritchart banked five three-pointers as well as a field goal and he went 5-7 from the free throw line to score a season-high 22 points. UC Davis started the game by falling into a 12-point deficit, but they managed to come back and pull together a 19-9 point run of their own. At the end of the half the Aggies were trailing the Tigers by a mere four points. As usual, UC Davis left the tunnel with some added fire. Coach Les’ halftime speeches certainly... ...

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Men’s basketball Preview

Teams: UC Davis vs. Pacific Records: Aggies 8-11 (4-4); Tigers 12-8 (6-2) Where: Alex G. Spanos Center — Stockton, Calif. When: Saturday at 7 p.m. Who to watch: Junior Tyler Les brought electricity to the Pavilion when the Aggies faced off against UC Riverside last week. He was called up to fill in for sophomore Corey Hawkins and played a phenomenal game. Les scored 12 points and doled out a career-high seven assists to help UC Davis earn a 79-72 victory over UC Riverside. The Peoria, Ill. native has earned national recognition for his accuracy on shooting, but he has made true progress as a defender. “I’ve been pleased with the defensive intensity I’ve seen from him,” said head coach Jim Les. UC Davis is facing three incredibly tough road games in the next week and they may be without Hawkins for some or all of them. In that case, players like Les have to continue to step up and fill the void so the team can stay in contention... ...

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Inside the Game with Corey Hawkins

The UC Davis men’s basketball team has brought an entirely new look to the courts this season after a disappointing 2011-12 campaign. Part of that fresh start has been from the revitalizing spark that sophomore Corey Hawkins has provided for them. It can be said that basketball is in his blood, as his two brothers also play basketball and his father, Hershey Hawkins, was a successful 13-year NBA player. Hawkins has been a force on offense and hit the game-winning shot against Cal Poly in a thrilling game at home. He recently sat down with Aggie Sports Writer Kim Carr and discussed his new career at UC Davis, life with a former NBA player as a father and what it is like being in a family passionate about basketball. Aggie: You played your freshman year at ASU. How is the atmosphere different here? Hawkins: ASU is a bigger school with more people and bigger facilities so it’s a little different than here. There’s a different energy here though. People definitely... ...

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Game of threes

The UC Davis men’s basketball team disappointed its home crowd by letting a close game slip out of its hands in the final minutes, adding to the growing list of frustrating losses. “We’ve got to stop letting people beat us at home,” said sophomore Corey Hawkins shortly after losing to Cal State Fullerton on Thursday night. The Titans came to town and brought their wickedly talented offense with them. The Big West Conference’s most productive team shot for 54.8 percent from the field, 52.2 percent from beyond the arc and 78.9 percent from the free throw line. The Aggie defense played a strong game, but failed to contain the Titans in the final minutes of the game, which gave the Titans enough time to pull away with a 95-88 victory. UC Davis started banking the three-pointers early and often to score eight treys in the first half alone. Sophomore J.T. Adenrele handled the ball in the paint for the Aggies, going 3-5 on field goals and a perfect 5-5 from... ...

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Men’s basketball preview

Teams: UC Davis vs. Cal State Fullerton; vs. UC Riverside Records: Aggies 7-10 (3-3); Titans 10-8 (3-3); Highlanders 9-7 (3-2) Where: The Pavilion — Davis, Calif. When: Thursday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 7 p.m. Who to watch: Senior Paolo Mancasola really found his niche this past week. He has been an outstanding point guard for the Aggies this season but he has lacked production as a scorer. During last week’s game against Cal State Northridge, Mancasola scored a career-high 18 points and he followed it up with another phenomenal performance against Hawai’i when he dished out six assists. The Redding, Calif. native needs to continue this hot streak because it will prevent defenders from doubling the players in the paint. Did you know? There are four teams tied for the fourth-place ranking in the Big West Conference including UC Davis and Cal State Fullerton. This week of home games could not have come at a better time for the Aggies, because two victories will go a long way towards... ...

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Hawkins explodes in Hawai’i

Eight minutes into Thursday’s game, UC Davis was already trailing Cal State Northridge by 11 points. The Aggies have been prone to slow starts this season and head coach Jim Les has been waiting for them to make a stand on defense. They did. Sophomore J.T. Adenrele spearheaded the defensive effort that held the Matadors to only four points for the remaining 12 minutes of the half. Meanwhile, the Aggie offense went on an 18-point run that gave them a 30-27 lead at the half. The sparring returned after the break and the teams continued to swap the lead back and forth. The Aggies grabbed the lead midway through the second half, but this time, they refused to let it go. Senior Paolo Mancasola scored a career-high 18 points, including a very well-timed three-pointer that secured the 74-71 win for UC Davis. The win was much needed after an ugly loss to UC Santa Barbara at home last week. “We have played in so many close games, it is frustrating... ...

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