College Sports

Local college notes: UC Davis men can play spoiler vs. Hawaii

Guard Siler Schneider (5) and UC Davis gave UC Irvine all it could handle in Saturday’s 62-61 loss at the Pavilion.
Guard Siler Schneider (5) and UC Davis gave UC Irvine all it could handle in Saturday’s 62-61 loss at the Pavilion. aseng@sacbee.com

UC Davis can spoil Hawaii’s bid to be the first men’s basketball team to go undefeated on the road in 11 years in the Big West Conference when it hosts the Rainbow Warriors on Thursday.

Hawaii (23-4, 12-2) is 6-0 in conference games away from home; Pacific was 9-0 on the road in 2005.

The Rainbow Warriors can win their first conference championship since 2002 (Western Athletic) and secure the top seed for next week’s Big West tournament with a victory over the Aggies or a loss by UC Irvine (22-8, 11-3) to Cal Poly on Thursday.

Hawaii’s Eran Ganot can tie the Big West record for wins by a rookie coach, matching Jerry Tarkanian (1969-70) and Lute Olson (1973-74). Both won 24 games in their first seasons at Long Beach State.

The Aggies (10-17, 5-9) have lost five in a row, but coach Jim Les was buoyed by Saturday’s nationally televised game against UC Irvine at the Pavilion. The Aggies rallied from 17 points down in the second quarter to take a one-point lead with 14 seconds left before losing 62-61 in front of a boisterous crowd of 4,573. Freshman Siler Schneider’s floater in the key gave the Aggies the lead five seconds after his three-pointer had cut UCD’s deficit to 60-59.

We’ve proven to ourselves that we can play with anyone in this league.

Jim Les, UC Davis men’s basketball coach

“They deserved a better result, but sometimes life is not fair,” Les said. “…We’ve proven to ourselves that we can play with anyone in this league.”

UCD plays Saturday at Cal State Northridge before next week’s Big West tournament at the Honda Center in Anaheim.

Struggling Hornets look to finish strong – Like UCD, Sac State’s men hope to finish the regular season strong after a stretch of futility.

Sac State (11-16, 4-12 Big Sky Conference) has lost six of seven, including a season-worst 26-point defeat at North Dakota on Saturday.

The Hornets host Southern Utah (5-21, 3-13) on Thursday and Northern Arizona (5-22, 3-13) on Saturday before the Big Sky tournament opener Tuesday in Reno.

The Hornets are 10th in the conference and can’t climb higher, but two losses could drop them to last place in the 12-team league.

Vochatzer memorial set – Former UC Davis educator, men’s track and field coach and assistant football coach Jon Vochatzer will be celebrated March 13 at 11 a.m. at the UC Davis Conference Center.

Vochatzer, 71, died Feb. 22 after suffering a stroke in late January.

“Our family has a special request that our remembrance will absolutely be a true celebration of Coach V’s life – casual attire, smiles on faces,” his wife, Deanne Vochatzer, said in statement released through UC Davis.

Bill Paterson: 916-326-5506, @SacBee_BillP

Upcoming basketball games

SACRAMENTO STATE

  • Men: Thursday vs. Southern Utah, 7:05 p.m., 105.5; Saturday vs. Northern Arizona, 7:05 p.m., 1380
  • Women: Friday at Northern Arizona, 5:30 p.m.

UC DAVIS

  • Men: Thursday vs. Hawaii, 7 p.m., 105.5; Saturday at Cal State Northridge, 7:30 p.m., 105.5
  • Women: Thursday at Long Beach State, 7 p.m., 90.3; Saturday at UC Irvine, 2 p.m., 90.3
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