Men's Basketball

UC Davis men can't hold off Utah in NIT opener

UC Davis' Rogers Printup (23) and A.J. John, rear, battle with Utah's Jayce Johnson for the ball Wednesday in Salt Lake City. The No. 7 Aggies lost 69-59 to No. 2 Utah in a NIT first-round game.
UC Davis' Rogers Printup (23) and A.J. John, rear, battle with Utah's Jayce Johnson for the ball Wednesday in Salt Lake City. The No. 7 Aggies lost 69-59 to No. 2 Utah in a NIT first-round game. The Salt Lake Tribune via AP

UC Davis' run in the National Invitation Tournament is a one and done.

The seventh-seeded Aggies lost 69-59 to No. 2 Utah on Wednesday night in Salt Lake City. UC Davis' season ends with a 22-11 record.

The Utes (20-11) lost coach Larry Krystkowiak to an ejection in the first half, but a strong second half catapulted Utah to the NIT's second round. The Utes will host No. 3 LSU, which beat No. 6 Louisiana-Lafayette 84-76 earlier Wednesday.

Utah's Justin Bibbins led all scorers with 21 points.

A.J. John led UC Davis with 11 points, and TJ Shorts II, Siler Schneider and Michael Onyebalu each scored 10 for the Aggies, who won at least 20 games for the third time in four years.

“This is a great group of young men who are a joy to be around and have great personalities," UC Davis coach Jim Les said after the game in a release on the team's website. "They took us all, coaching staff included, on an awesome ride."

Shorts, the Big West Conference Player of the Year, narrowly missed the school's Division I single-season record for assists, according to The Associated Press. He had five on Wednesday and finished with 146, which is two short of the mark.

The Aggies led 33-29 at the break, but were outscored 40-26 in the second half, including 22-11 in the final quarter.

There will be a new NIT champion this year. TCU, which won it all in 2017, is a No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament this year.

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