The UC Davis men’s basketball team hopes to get a boost from its fans as it tries to snap a four-game Big West Conference losing streak Saturday at the Pavilion.
Not only will the Aggies play UC Irvine and 7-foot-6 center Mamadou Ndiaye, they’ll do it in front of a national television audience and what is expected to be the largest home crowd of the season.
The game was moved from 5 to 9 p.m. to accommodate ESPN2. It had been scheduled as the second game of a doubleheader following the women’s 3 p.m. game against Cal State Northridge.
Since UCD changed the seating system at the Pavilion in 2009, the four games with the largest attendance have been broadcast by ESPN. Last season, UCD won thrilling overtime games at home on national TV against Long Beach State and Cal Poly before announced crowds of more than 5,000.
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The Aggies (10-16, 5-8) will have their hands full against UC Irvine.
Ndiaye had three blocked shots in the Anteaters’ 75-71 loss to first-place Hawaii on Saturday to become just the fourth Big West player with 200 or more blocks. He needs just eight to tie the UC Irvine record held by Will Davis II, the former Sacramento High standout now playing professionally in Greece.
The Aggies are trying to find more consistency and a better offensive touch. They were outrebounded 46-26 at Cal Poly and had 20 turnovers against UC Santa Barbara. They made only 38.7 percent of their shots (79 of 204) during the four-game losing streak and have scored fewer than 60 points in five of their last six games.
While the men’s team will have one more home game March 3 against Hawaii, the UC Davis women (15-11, 8-5) will play their final regular-season home game Saturday, the final time seniors Alyson Doherty, Celia Marfone, Heidi Johnson and Lauren Beyer will play at the Pavilion.
Hornets on roller coaster – The Sac State women’s basketball team’s final road trip was much like its season.
The Hornets upset second-place Eastern Washington 94-91 on Maranne Johnson’s three-point shot with one second to play Thursday in Cheney, Wash., then lost by 47 points to Idaho on Saturday, their most one-sided loss in five seasons. The 107-60 loss also ended the Hornets’ three-game winning streak.
Seventh-place Sac State (10-15, 7-7) will host eighth-place Northern Colorado (11-13, 6-8) on Thursday at the Nest. The Hornets will play their final home game Saturday against North Dakota (13-12, 9-5).
Hornets senior guard Adella Randle-El has become one of the Big Sky Conference’s best all-around players. She’s third in NCAA Division I in steals with 3.76 per game, and she’s fourth in scoring in the conference with 15.6 points per game. She leads the Hornets in scoring and assists (3.2) and is second in rebounds (5.0).
UCD mourns coach – Former UC Davis men’s track and field coach and assistant football coach Jon Vochatzer died Monday after suffering a stroke last month.
Vochatzer, 71, who coached track at Davis for 30 years, was conference coach of the year 11 times and West Region Division II coach of the year six times while leading the Aggies to four top-five finishes in Division II. Vochatzer also was an assistant football coach under Jim Sochor from 1979 to 1985, including the 1982 team that reached the NCAA Division II championship.
Vochatzer and his wife, Deanne, who coached the successful women’s track program at UCD and was the 1996 USA Olympic Track and Field women’s coach, were renowned in the national and international track community. Both were involved with the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials at Sacramento State in 2000. He also was an assistant coach for the U.S. team for the 1999 IAAF World Outdoor Championships.
As an instructor at UC Davis, Vochatzer developed an array of physical education programs for mentally and physically challenged athletes.
The Vochatzers both retired as UCD coaches in 2010 and were inducted into the Cal Aggies Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013.
Services are pending.
Upcoming basketball games
- Men: Thursday at Northern Colorado, 6:05 p.m., 105.5; Saturday at North Dakota, 12:05 p.m., 1380
- Women: Thursday vs. Northern Colorado, 7:05 p.m.; Saturday vs. North Dakota, 2:05 p.m.
- Men: Saturday vs. UC Irvine, 9 p.m., ESPN2, 105.5
- Women: Saturday vs. Cal State Northridge, 3 p.m., 90.3