Playing his final game as an Aggie, Corey Hawkins put up one hell of an encore performance. The Big West Player Of The Year had yet another stellar outing, scoring 34 points and 5 rebounds. Unfortunately, the rest of the team could not support him they way they would have liked.
UC Davis, a team who lives by the three and also dies by it, seemed to fall on their sword tonight, as the Aggies fell to the Stanford Cardinal 77-64. UC Davis shot an abysmal 37.3% from the floor, which is not horrible per se, until the realization hits that this is a team who shot nearly 50% during the regular season.
A home game at Stanford's Maples Pavilion, did not seem to phase the Aggies. However, Stanford's heavy pressure on the ball leading to consistent contested shots and continuous Cardinal rebounds allowed UC Davis little chance in this game. The Aggies' high point in the game came when after being down 12 points early in the first half, charged back quickly and tied the game using their deadly deep-ball offense. The Cardinal responded effectively, however UC Davis was able to keep the game to a one-point deficit going into the half.
In the second half, Stanford kept the high pressure around the arc, easily collecting the UC Davis misses and slowing down the pace of the game, enough to pull away with a comfortable win and allow Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins to cool down the hot seat.
This game can not be seen as a disappointment to Aggie fans: after dominating Division II hoops, including a national title, this was the first opportunity for UC Davis to show the nation it could compete on a larger stage. Head Coach Jim Les has turned this team into a force to be reckoned with, creating one of the largest turnaround seasons in recent history of college basketball (from 9-22 last season to 25-6 this season).
Even though the team graduates four seniors who were all great from beyond the arc, especially Corey Hawkins, they will return experienced big men next season who will surely improve on their league-worst rebounding and defensive numbers.
Be hopeful Aggie fans, the future looks even brighter than the present.