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UC Davis basketball fans enjoyed two perfect home records in the last four seasons, and watched the Aggies win three Big West titles throughout that same timespan. Create a home court advantage like no other, purchase your tickets for a men's basketball home game today!
LOS ANGELES –
Eight tied scores and 10 lead changes took place throughout Sunday's non-conference game at the Galen Center, senior communication major TJ Shorts II
led all Aggies with 14 points, senior communication major Siler Schneider
added another 13, and led by junior communication major Matt Neufeld
and his career-high seven, UC Davis out-rebounded the Trojans 32-28 and 12-7 on the offensive glass.
But Southern California's late second-half three-point shooting turned UC Davis' one-point deficit into a 73-55 Trojan victory in the inaugural meeting between the teams.
Of the 10 threes hit by Southern California, seven took place in the second half. It was the Trojans' 70 percent shooting from behind the arc that ultimately turned the Aggies' upset bid into the game's final score.
"I thought our guys really battled, I loved their competitiveness and effort all night long. I thought our execution was solid, for the most part, tonight," said head coach Jim Les
"I have to give Southern California credit because when we turned it up, they turned it up another notch. They made some tough shots ... shots that were contested with our guys being in the right area, and made plays when they needed to."
UC Davis will return home for its final Big West tune-up, which will take place on Jan. 5 against Holy Names, with a 3-10 record. USC will enter league play at 7-6.
Senior economics major Garrison Goode
shined throughout the Pac-12 Networks' nationally televised broadcast: In addition to scoring eight points, he collected a season-high six rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Goode's assists and steals totals are career-high figures.
"I though Garrison's ball-screen defense was the best it has been this year. He has a way of impacting the game without having the ball in his hands, and I thought that effort energized the entire team."
In addition to his final stats, he made one hustle play after another and frustrated USC on both ends of the floor all night long. It was his hard work on the offensive glass that led to four rebounds and extended possessions for UC Davis, and the Aggies made the most of those extra chances by scoring 14 points on those additional opportunities.
The Aggies' offense also found ways to attack the rim all night long, which led to 36 points in the paint, 12 more than their opponent's total. It was that aggressiveness, combined with UC Davis' defense — 15 points were scored off 10 Trojan turnovers — that made Sunday's matchup a close one from the opening tip until USC's final scoring surge.
It was that 13-2 ending, with UC Davis contesting every shot and forcing USC to truly earn each point scored down the stretch, that finally allowed Trojan fans to relax. Until that point of the game, the Aggies matched Southern California's scoring runs with ones of their own, led by as many as seven, and saw numerous players make key plays all game long.
With help from Neufeld's nine points, junior communication major Stefan Gonzalez'
shots from three — he hit two from distance and finished with five rebounds — and freshman Caleb Fuller's
five points, UC Davis either held the lead, or remained within striking distance until that late run.
"I want to thank all the Southern California Aggies for coming out and sharing part of their holidays with us. It was nice to turn around and see some familiar, and friendly faces in the crowd" added Les.
The Trojans are the last of four Power Five teams on the Aggies' non-conference slate, easily the toughest faced by the Aggies since joining the Big West, if not the program's history.
Sunday's game also capped the team's three-game holiday road trip, which opened at Arizona on Dec. 22. Following its upcoming home game, the Aggies will return to the road to open league play at UC Irvine (Jan. 10) and Long Beach State (Jan. 12).
Established during the 2017-18 academic year, the Aggie EVO System is UC Davis Athletics' investment in the primary mission of preparing student-athletes for a successful "launch" after graduation.
Thanks to a collaboration of alumni, university resources, corporate partners, coaches and Student-Athlete Outcomes staff, all Aggies are guided over four years to acquire the skills, knowledge, opportunities and tools to better know and navigate the "World of Work" after graduating from UC Davis.
Follow the Aggie EVO system on Twitter and Instagram at @AggieEVO.
CREATE A HOME COURT ADVANTAGE LIKE NO OTHER
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TOGETHER, WE CAN ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING
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Contact Liz Martin
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ABOUT UC DAVIS
Providing a small-town community feel while providing a world-class academic experience, UC Davis is home to more than 37,000 students and centrally located between San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, and the Napa Valley.
The No. 5-ranked public university in the nation, according to the Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education, offers nearly 100 graduate programs and more than 100 academic majors across four colleges and six professional schools, ranking among the world and nation's best in numerous disciplines, including veterinary science, agriculture, and plant and animal programs.