Jim Les lit into his UC Davis team Saturday night after a lackluster performance.
The typical 10-minute cooling-off period as dictated by the Big West Conference turned into nearly 30. The UCD coach had seen enough of his players standing around and watching a teammate "try and convert a seven-point play," Les said, to get the Aggies back into the game against Pacific on Saturday night at the Pavilion.
When Les finally addressed the media, he wouldn't get into the severity of the scalding he delivered after the Aggies' 74-64 loss. But it was lengthy, and when the players emerged from the locker room, their eyes were cast downward and they moved slowly.
"I told them to do a self-check," said Les, whose squad fell to 4-9 overall and 0-2 in the Big West. "These players have a heck of an opportunity provided to them by the university to play Division I basketball, and with that comes a responsibility to play hard and to buy into the system built for them. I didn't see that tonight."
The Aggies led 24-23 at halftime after the teams combined for as many turnovers (19) as baskets. But when Pacific (7-7, 1-1) scored 10 unanswered points to begin the second half, Les' mood soured.
"They need to come out and play with desire and passion, and if not, it's unacceptable for me," Les said. "We talk about the first five minutes of every second half, and Pacific really took it to us. We didn't respond."
The Aggies never regained the lead after the Tigers' quick second-half start. They came within two points, 46-44, with 8:07 remaining, but Pacific responded with a 9-3 run that quieted any comeback attempts, and from there, the Aggies battled double-digit deficits.
Corey Hawkins led the Aggies with 19 points. J.T. Adenrele had 14 points and a team-high seven rebounds.
Adenrele and Tigers forward Tony Gill played together at Oakmont High School in the 2009-10 season, when Gill was a senior and Adenrele was a junior. Saturday night's game was their first matchup against each other. Gill is a junior transfer from Cosumnes River College, and Adenrele is a sophomore.
Adenrele got the best of his former high school mentor. It was Gill's first start of the season, but it was forgettable. He had one point and no rebounds in 12 minutes.
"I'm proud of J.T. and the player he's become," Gill said. "His game has really developed and so has his strength and confidence. I used to push him around all the time. No longer."
Adenrele said it was nice to see his old friend, but he wanted to show Gill what he's learned in the two years since they last played on the same court.
"I was excited, and Tony is like an older brother to me," Adenrele said. "And the younger brother always wants to beat his older brother, to show him what he can do. I'm sure I got some respect tonight."
The Tigers were led by guard Sama Taku's game-high 20 points and eight rebounds.
Pacific is leaving the Big West after this season and joining the West Coast Conference, where the Tigers will face Gonzaga, BYU, Saint Mary's and Santa Clara.