Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Aggie Basketball Enjoys Successful Weekend

A memorable homecoming, instant classic, scoring explosion and first league win were just a few of a slew of highlights involving UC Davis men’s basketball that took place this past weekend.

With a litany of Aggie basketball greats in attendance at The Pavilion as part of this year’s Alumni Weekend, UC Davis quickly erased its six-point halftime deficit with a 21-11 run and shot 61 percent from the field to capture its first league victory.

Saturday’s game against Cal State Fullerton also marked the return of former Aggie Dedrique Taylor, current first-year head coach of the Titans.

While the Aggie faithful watched Corey Hawkins post a team-high 22 points, Ryan Sypkens continue his assault on all UC Davis and Big West Conference three-point records, Olivier-Paul Betu earn his second career start and Justin Dueck battle the Titans’ bigs for 22 minutes in his inaugural appearance in the starting lineup, a future Aggie turned heads with his awe-inspiring performances to help his team finish its week with a 2-0 record.

Last Friday night against Normandy High School, Isaiah Walton singlehandedly carried his team to victory thanks to his 37-point performance. In addition to helping Elyria High School earn an eight-point victory, Walton’s scoring total was the highest recorded by a Pioneer in six years–enough to crack the school’s all-time top 10 list for the most points scored in a single game.

Less than 24 hours later, Walton was the difference, literally, in the 19th “Battle of Elyria” involving the Pioneers and cross-town rival Elyria Catholic.

By collecting a rebound on his own miss, Walton scored the eventual game-winning basket with 18 seconds remaining, then came up with a huge play on defense on the subsequent possession to help his team avenge last season’s loss to Elyria Catholic, and earn city bragging rights on its home court.

In his final regular season cross-town contest, the future Aggie finished with a double-double of 27 points and 10 rebounds.

Thanks to Walton’s heroics, Elyria enters this week’s action with a 10-3 overall record.

As for his future teammates, the Aggies will close their three-game homestand against the Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors. Tip time for Thursday’s game is scheduled for 7 p.m.

- Eric Bankston, assistant athletics communications director, cannot wait for Thursday's home game against Hawai'i as the Aggies look to end their homestand with another victory. 

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