In a battle to stay out of last place in the Big West Conference standings, the UC Davis Aggies lost to the UC Riverside Highlanders 78-65 in Riverside. In doing so, the Aggies have eliminated themselves from participating in the Big West Tournament next weekend at the Honda Center in Anaheim.
The silver lining was that senior guard Ryan Sypkens broke the Big West all-time career record for 3-point shots made with 313. Sypkens will have one more game to extend his record when the Aggies play Saturday at UC Irvine for their final game of the season.
Freshman Brynton Lemar scored a career-high 19 points in the defeat, while Corey Hawkins chipped in 13 points. Sypkens scored 10 points for UC Davis (9-21, 4-11 Big West). Georgi Funtarov added eight points and seven rebounds. Hawkins dished out four assists for his Aggie teammates.
UC Riverside (10-19, 5-10) secured eighth place in the standings and clinched the final spot in the eight-team Big West Tournament starting March 13. Bruising center Chris Patton led the Highlanders with 20 points, followed by freshman phenom guard Sam Finley (19 points) and Steven Thornton (14 points). Patton nearly had a double-double with nine rebounds.
Sypkens was actually fouled on his record-setting trey and converted the free throw to bring the Aggies within five points with 3:52 left in the first half. Lemar converted all three of his treys in his personal record-setting game.
Midway through the second half, the Highlanders reeled off seven consecutive points, sealing the victory for UCR in their quest to qualify for the all-important Big West Tournament.
UCD shot 44.8 percent (26-for-58) from the field, 43.8 percent (7-for-16) behind the 3-point arc, and 66.7 percent (6-for-9) from the free throw line. UCD was out-rebounded 34-26.
UCR shot 54.7 percent (29-for-53) from the field, 33.3 percent (4-for-12) behind the 3-point arc, and 88.9 percent (16-for-18) from the free throw line.
The Aggies visit the Bren Center at UC Irvine for the regular season finale. Tip off is 4:30 p.m.