SACRAMENTO -- Center Joshua Patton had a game-high 25 points and forward Ethan Esposito recorded a double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds) to help lead Sacramento State to a 61-51 victory over UC Davis on Wednesday evening at the downtown Golden 1 Center.
Sacramento State's defense, which entered tonight's game ranked second in the nation in points allowed (38.0), continued its impressive run this evening. The Hornets limited the Aggies to less than 30 points in both halves and UCD shot just 38% (18-48) from the field and did not make a 3-point attempt. Sacramento State also forced 15 Aggie turnovers, and UC Davis scored 15 of its 51 points from the free throw line.
The victory allowed Sacramento State to improve to 3-0 for the second straight season, and third time in the last five years. All three of the Hornets' games thus far have been played in Sacramento, including convincing wins over UC Riverside and Simpson inside the Nest.
Tonight's game marked the fourth straight season the Hornets and Aggies have played at the Golden 1 Center and Sacramento State has won each of the last two meetings. Overall, the Hornets have dominated the series between the two teams, extending their overall series record to 68-50 in a rivalry that dates back to 1948. In addition, Hornet head coach Brian Katz is now 7-5 against UC Davis since taking over coaching duties in 2008.
UC Davis dropped to 2-4 with the loss, and 1-4 when playing away from home.
After the Aggies scored the game's first two points, Sacramento State responded with a 7-0 run, and led the final 37:47 of the contest. The Hornets opened up a lead as large as 14 points (53-39) with 7:02 remaining in the contest and UC Davis never got closer than eight the rest of the way. Sacramento State held a 29-23 lead at halftime and began the second half on a 6-2 run which included a pair of Patton buckets and Esposito free throws. From that point forward, the Hornets led by anywhere between six and 14 points the rest of the way.
Sacramento State shot 44% from the field (22-50) and 89% (16-18) from the free throw line. That included a perfect 10-of-10 in the second half which helped put the game away. The Hornets also had a 34-26 rebounding advantage and 10 of those 34 rebounds came on the offensive glass.
Patton's 25 points came on 8-of-10 shooting from the field and 9-for-9 from the free throw line. He put up those numbers in just 28 minutes after resting a good chunk of the first half because of foul trouble. Esposito's double-double was the third of his career, and nine of his 10 rebounds came on the defensive glass.
Guard Brandon Davis had four points and nine rebounds, forward Osi Nwachukwu posted seven points, three rebounds and three steals, and guard Izayah Mauriohooho-Le'afa finished with seven points and a steal. Swingman Bryce Fowler posted four points, four rebounds and four assists, and forward Chibueze Jacobs had two points. After using 10 players in the first half, Sacramento State used seven players in the second half.
For UC Davis, Matt Neufeld led the way with 20 points.
Sacramento State will now begin a stretch that will see the team play six of its next eight games on the road. The only home games between now and the month of January are dates with UC Merced on Dec. 3, and Cal Poly on Dec. 18.
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