UC Davis completed a hard fought two-game weekend sweep with a thrilling 78-76 overtime win over Long Beach State men’s basketball team Saturday afternoon, having now beaten the Beach five games in a row dating back to the 2018-19 season.
Aggies’ sophomore guard Ezra Manjon drove to the basket attracting two CSULB defenders as he passed it to an open Elijah Pepper who drained a three-pointer to cap off a career-high 32 points, giving Davis a five-point lead with 10 seconds left in OT.
Sophomore guard Pepper had his best game in an Aggies uniform while also setting career-highs hitting six three-pointers and coming up with five steals.
This comes on the heels of a heartbreaking loss for the Beach after Davis sophomore guard Manjon hit the game-winning layup with one second remaining to beat the Beach 68-66 on Friday night.
Manjon had been kept quiet through the first 40 minutes of regulation but upped his play in OT as he hit a clutch jumper to give the Aggies a four-point lead with 51 seconds remaining.
He finished the game with 11 points while only shooting 3-of-9 from the field.
CSULB freshman guard Jadon Jones hit a three-pointer to put the finishing touches on a 18-5 run for the Beach as they were able to grow their lead to 11 points with just over 5 and a half minutes to go in the first half.
Jones finished the game with 20 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and two steals while shooting 7-for-13 from the field.
However, Davis went on a 16-8 run of their own to close the half, trimming the deficit to just three points heading to the locker room.
A total of 28 fouls were called as both teams collectively shot 37 free throw attempts in what was a physical first half.
The Aggies went on a quick 12-0 run spanning just under four minutes early in the second half as Pepper had seven points during that period, giving Davis a 51-45 lead.
Immediately the Beach responded with a 12-3 run giving them a 58-53 lead.
A layup from Davis sophomore guard B.J. Shaw tied the game at 60 with just over five minutes remaining in the second half.
There were three lead changes and ties from that point on as the Aggies showed resilience fighting back from late deficits with a three-pointer from Pepper to tie it at 65 and a Manjon layup to again knot it up at 67 with 1:03 left in the second half.
CSULB senior guard Colin Slater and junior forward Joe Hampton both missed uncontested layups in the final 90 seconds that could have extended the lead for the Beach to four points or given the Beach a two point lead respectively with 30 seconds remaining in regulation.
The Beach bench duo of guards Colin Slater and Jordan Roberts combined for 24 points, 10 rebounds and nailed 12-of-13 free throw attempts, outplaying the bench duo of Aggies’ guards Shaw and Caleb Fuller who combined for 17 points, 12 rebounds while shooting 7-of-13 from the field.
With the win the Aggies improve to 6-6, 3-3 in conference as the Beach fall to 3-7, 2-4 in conference.
The Beach return to Walter Pyramid to host Cal Poly 3-13, 1-9 in conference on Friday, February 19 at 4 p.m.