Aggies’ shooting stumps Panthers

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Aggies’ shooting stumps Panthers

Cornell Johnston, a guard, looks to pass the ball in the game against Ball State University Wednesday in Lantz Arena. Johnston threw 7 assist in the win against Ball State.

Cornell Johnston, a guard, looks to pass the ball in the game against Ball State University Wednesday in Lantz Arena. Johnston threw 7 assist in the win against Ball State.

Kevin Hall

Cornell Johnston, a guard, looks to pass the ball in the game against Ball State University Wednesday in Lantz Arena. Johnston threw 7 assist in the win against Ball State.

Kevin Hall

Kevin Hall

Cornell Johnston, a guard, looks to pass the ball in the game against Ball State University Wednesday in Lantz Arena. Johnston threw 7 assist in the win against Ball State.

Blake Nash, Staff Reporter

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California-Davis defeated the Eastern men’s basketball team, 80-70, Tuesday night for the second time this season.

The Aggies’ Corey Hawkins, the son of NBA great Percy Hawkins, led UC-Davis, which finished the game shooting nearly 60 percent from the field. Hawkins ended the game with 19 points.

The loss dropped the Panthers to 3-6 on the season and 0-3 on the road. The Aggies, predicted to finish seventh in the Big West conference, moved to 7-1.

Senior shooting guard Reggie Smith did not start, but led the Panthers in scoring with 16 points, including 10 in the first half. Forward Trae Anderson and Chris Olivier finished with 12 points apiece for Eastern. However, Anderson picked up his fourth foul with 18:46 left in the second half.

He fouled out with nearly six minutes remaining. Anderson only played 14 minutes.

Before he fouled out, the Panthers missed on four of five possessions, forcing Eastern coach Jay Spoonhour to call timeout. The timeout resulted in a layup by point guard Cornell Johnston, but Hawkins continued his solid night with a pair of jumpers.

The rematch between the two teams, was eerily similar to the last time they met in Charleston on Nov. 20.

The Aggies, who started the game on a 5-0 run, took advantage of that situation for a 6-0 run to start the second half, giving them a 41-32 lead. Dylan Chatman gave the Panthers their first points in the half on a three, but UC-Davis responded with a pair of jump shots for a 45-35 lead.

That is when LaTrell “Snoop” Viser hit a 3-pointer after a couple of Panthers’ buckets, to bring Eastern back within two, but Hawkins responded with a three of his own, giving his team back a five-point lead. Two possession later he hit another to give the Aggies a 55-48 lead.

The Panthers switched from a 2-3 zone to a man defense to slow down the Aggies’ surge. It helped spark the offense to a 4-0 run, making it a 59-55 ballgame, after a pair of free throws by Olivier. Anderson returned into the game and responded with a layup to make it a 61-57 Aggie lead.

The Aggies offense shot nearly 70 percent of their shots in the second half. Spoonhour was forced to have the Panthers press them at the end, but the clock became an issue.

Like Anderson, Josh Ritchart was the Aggies’ leading scorer when he was hit with four fouls in the second half. His absence in the post enabled Anderson and Olivier to pick up second chance rebounds to trim the deficit.

The Panthers’ bench once again had a solid night, outscoring the Aggies by four points, 24-20. The Panthers next game starts at 7 p.m. Saturday at Lantz Arena against Northern Illinois.

Blake Nash can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]