GAME NOTES: For the second time in as many games the UC Davis Aggies will be squaring off against an opponent from the Mountain West Conference, as they host the Air Force Falcons this afternoon at The Pavilion.
Just three nights ago, the Aggies were matched up against San Jose State and ended up going to three overtimes before falling to the Spartans on the road, 89-85. The defeat was the seventh in a row for a team that at one point had won three times in a stretch of four games.
As for the Falcons, this outing marks their first on the road since they lost to VMI during the All-Military Classic back in early November. Last weekend, the academy capped an eight-game homestand with a 62-52 victory over UC Riverside. The win was the third in a row for the team.
The Falcons won the only previous meeting between the programs by a score of 69-57 around this same time of year in 2009.
Hard to believe, but the Falcons held a considerable rebounding advantage (46-35) against UC Riverside last weekend at Clune Arena, just one of the reasons why Air Force came away with the win. It also helped that the defense limited the visitors to only 3-of-14 shooting beyond the arc and force 20 turnovers. Tre' Coggins scored 17 points and Max Yon 10, to go along with seven boards and four assists.
A starter in all but one of the team's 10 games on the campaign, Coggins leads the Falcons in scoring with 16.3 ppg, thanks in large part to his 42.9 percent accuracy on the perimeter. Marek Olesinski and Yon are both putting up 12.9 ppg, combining for 9.0 rpg and having handed out a collective 56 assists. The Academy is currently putting up 73.6 ppg and is slightly ahead of the competition on the glass, with a +1.4 rpg, but all that can change once the MWC schedule begins at the start of the new year.
Considering the Aggies shot only 4-of-18 from the floor, including 2-of-11 behind the 3-point line in the overtime sessions, it is rather remarkable that the team was able to play a total of three extra periods, en route to the loss at San Jose State earlier this week. Corey Hawkins led six players in double figures as he dropped in 18 points, followed by Darius Graham with 16 and Iggy Nujic 13 points. Georgi Funtarov logged 12 points and eight rebounds for UC Davis, while both Brynton Lemar and Ryan Sypkens posted 11 points apiece as well.
Playing without Josh Ritchart continues to hamper the Aggies since he leads the program in both scoring (17.3 ppg) and rebounding (6.6 rpg), having shot not only 63.2 percent from the floor, but also 56.3 percent beyond the arc before suffering an ankle injury. In his absence, the Aggies have been leaning more and more on Hawkins for his 16.7 ppg and 5.6 rpg, not to mention a solid 30 assists over the course of 11 appearances.
Giving up close to 80 ppg while being outscored by more than eight per game, the Aggies continue to put themselves in a delicate situation every time they hit the hardwood. As long as the Falcons can dictate the pace of today's matchup in appears as though the slide will not end for UC Davis.
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