Now that’s what you’d call a Causeway Classic.
The Sacramento State and UC Davis men’s basketball teams met Tuesday night in the annual Causeway Cup battle at UC Davis and it was a down-to-the-final seconds finish.
With Mikh McKinney leading five Hornets in double figures with 25 points and Sac State hitting 10 of 10 from the foul line in the final 28.8 seconds, the Hornets held off the Aggies 73-67 in front of an announced crowd of 2,465 at the Pavilion.
It was a much more entertaining game than Saturday’s 60th annual Causeway Classic football game at Sac State. UC Davis won a yawner 34-7.
But the triumphant Sac State players and coaches insisted there wasn’t much of an emotional tie-in to the football game.
“It’s different; we’re the basketball team, they’re the football team,” said McKinney, a junior guard who made 10 of 10 from the foul line, including four in the final five seconds. “We’re just happy to get a win.”
Sophomore guard Cody Demps played football at Pleasant Grove and has former teammates on both the Aggies and Hornets football teams.
“It’s always disappointing when a fellow Sac State team loses, but we take our games one at a time,” said Demps, who had 11 points and six rebounds. “We just try to treat this like any other game.”
But it was an emotional, physical and, most importantly, entertaining game, especially in the second half.
Sac State, which trailed by 10 points midway in the first half, took the lead for good when sophomore Dreon Barlett drained a pair of 3-pointers back to back on assists from Dylan Garrity and Zach Mills for a 56-50 advantage with 6:02 to go.
The game, however, wasn’t decided until Demps hit a pair of free throws with 10.2 seconds for a 69-65 lead. McKinney finished it out with four free throws.
The Hornets made 20 of 24 (83 percent) from the foul line, shot 48 percent from the field and 53 percent from 3-point range. The Aggies also shot well, hitting 56 percent from the field and 73 percent from the foul line.
Former Franklin star Ryan Sypkens, a senior guard, became the 19th player in UC Davis history to score 1,000 points when he hit a 3-pointer from the right side off an assist from Corey Hawkins with 10:18 to play in the second half. Sypkens finished with 10 points.
Ex-Forest Lake Christian standout Josh Ritchart also continued to play well coming off his Big West Player of the Week honors. The 6-foot-9 senior forward had 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the floor, including three 3-pointers.
While the Aggies have dominated the Causeway Classic football matchup in holding a 43-18 lead, the Hornets now lead the men’s basketball series 65-47.
“We live in our own little fish bowl,” said Sac State coach Brian Katz. “I know we lost on Saturday and no one is happy.
“But if you have to find a reason to get motivated, then you’re playing the wrong game. Whatever the next game is, it’s a big game. We try to take the emotion out of the game and follow the process.”
Craighead, who led Sac State to its best season at the Division I level last season, was hired by San Jose State in September.
UC Davis held a slight lead through the first 10 minutes of the first half, then went on a 16-2 run before the half and never looked back.
The Aggies started the season 0-3, but the losses were to No. 6 Stanford, USC and Pacific, last season’s Big West Conference regular-season champion.
The Aggies will be on the road for the next six games, including Dec. 5 at top-ranked Connecticut.
The doubleheader was a benefit for the Yolo Food Bank.