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UC Davis (5-23) at Cal Poly (15-14)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Thursday, March 1st, 10 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Mott Gym (3,032) -- San Luis Obispo, California. Television: None. Home Record: UC Davis 4-8, Cal Poly 8-4. Away Record: UC Davis 1-12, Cal Poly 5-10. Neutral Record: UC Davis 0-3, Cal Poly 2-0. Conference Record: UC Davis 3-11, Cal Poly 6-8. Series Record: Cal Poly leads 25-13..

GAMES NOTES: The UC Davis Aggies and the Cal Poly Mustangs will collide at Mott Gym this evening for a Big West Conference matchup featuring two teams fighting for their spots in next week's conference tournament.

UC Davis has had a miserable year but can still make it into postseason play and be one of the eight teams in the conference tournament with wins in its next two games. The Aggies are just 5-23 overall this season but have played well down the stretch with four of their wins coming in the last six games. The Aggies came through with a huge 78-75 upset over Cal State Fullerton last Saturday and at 3-11 in conference play are a half game up on last place CS- Northridge with just a matchup with UC Santa Barbara this Saturday left on the schedule.

Cal Poly has already locked up a spot in the conference tournament and has a chance at a No. 4 seed as the Mustangs are currently tied for fourth in the conference with Pacific and UC Irvine with a record of 6-8. Cal Poly could have already been well on its way to the fourth seed but a three game losing streak has made the Mustangs dip in the standings. Cal Poly gets the opportunity to down one of the teams vying for the fourth seed in its next matchup when the Mustangs host Pacific.

Cal Poly leads the all-time series 25-13 and was the winner of the first meetings between these squads this season, pulling out a 67-65 victory on the road at the end of January. UC Davis has not won in San Luis Obispo since 2006.

UC Davis led 35-25 at the half and held on in the second period to outlast Cal State Fullerton on Saturday. With both teams shooting around 41.0 percent the game came down to scoring from three point range and the free throw line where the Aggies held 27-24 and 19-13 advantages respectively.

The Aggies are eighth in the nine-team Big West Conference for a reason and a lack of offense is a primary culprit. UC Davis is scoring only 63.5 points per game while also pulling down a conference worst 31.4 rebounds per game. UC Davis has been the wrong end of a number of double-digit defeats with its average scoring differential currently sitting at -10.4. Josh Ritchart and Eddie Miller both put together fantastic performances in the team's upset win last weekend. Ritchart led all scorers with 20 points and also added eight rebounds, while Miller had his first double-double this season with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Ritchart (12.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg) is the team's leading scorer and has now been in double figures in seven of the last eight games and has averaged 7.6 rebounds per game in that span. Miller (9.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg) is right around double figures. while Tyler Les (10.0 ppg) provides another offensive threat.

Cal Poly lost to the team right above it in the conference standings by taking a 68-60 defeat to UC Santa Barbara on Saturday. The Mustangs were terrible offensively, shooting just 33.3 percent from the floor while the Gauchos hummed along at an even 50.0 percent.

In the beginning of the season Cal Poly was one of the better scoring teams in the Big West but has fallen off considerably and is now scoring only 64.9 points per game. The Mustangs have countered the less effective offense with some strong defensive efforts, yielding only 61.6 points per contest. The Mustangs took a hit earlier in the month by losing starting guard Drake U'u (6.1 ppg) for the season to injury. Fortunately the team has still retained its more substantial contributors. David Hanson (11.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg) has paced the squad, but by only a slim margin, as Will Taylor (10.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg) and Amaurys Fermin (9.7 ppg) are just slightly off the mark. On Saturday it was junior guard Dylan Royer (7.6 ppg) ending up at the top of the team's stat sheet with 16 points.

Despite UC Davis' improved play in recent weeks the Aggies are still a very weak team and have had only one win in 13 road games this season. Cal Poly has already notched a win against the Aggies this year and with the Mustangs playing at home. the result should be similar.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cal Poly 68, UC Davis 61

03/01 10:34:16 ET