UC Davis men’s basketball coach Jim Les likes his team’s unselfish offense. But what he likes even more is the Aggies’ defense lately.
UCD allowed a season low in points in a 73-47 victory over UC Santa Barbara in a Big West Conference opener Wednesday night at the Pavilion.
The Aggies (9-7, 1-0) held the Gauchos (2-11, 0-1) to 15 first-half points, also a season low for a UCD opponent. UC Santa Barbara had only 28 points three-fourths of the way through the game before the Aggies went mostly to their reserves.
UCD beat the Gauchos for the first time in five meetings. The Aggies also won for the fourth time in five games overall and improved to 4-0 at home.
Guard Siler Schneider led UCD with 16 points and six rebounds, and forward Chima Moneke added 15 points and 10 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season, one off the school record.
“He’s a monster,” Schneider said of the 6-foot-6 Moneke. “ I love playing with that guy.”
Gabe Vincent led UC Santa Barbara with 12 points and Max Kupchak and Alex Hart added 10 each.
Mikey Henn’s jumper put UCD ahead 20-5 midway through the first half , capping a 14-1 run. UCD led 35-15 at halftime and by 34 in the second half.
The Gauchos’ point total was the third lowest by an Aggies opponent since UCD went to Division I in 2007. UC Santa Barbara shot 31.0 percent (18 for 58), including 2 for 16 from 3-point range.
“It really starts with our defense,” Les said. “Our defense continues to get better. We still have room to grow, but I’m excited by what this group can do.”
UCD returns to Big West play at 5 p.m. Saturday against Cal Poly at the Pavilion, part of a doubleheader with the UCD women’s team, which plays Hawaii at 2:30 p.m.
Bill Paterson: 916-326-5506, @SacBee_BillP