Sac State men’s basketball falls to UC Davis 82-71 in Causeway Cup

Hornets’ 3-game winning streak snapped at Golden 1 Center


Alexis Hunt

Senior guard Zach Chappell goes up for a layup against UC Davis Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, at Golden 1 Center. The Hornets were defeated by the Aggies 82-71 after a second-half comeback by UC Davis.

Jordan Latimore, Sports Editor

The Causeway games are just different — always have been, and always will be.

Hornet football handled business on Saturday and women’s basketball redeemed themselves after their last game against the Aggies with a dominant win of their own. 

With men’s hoops up by seven points after the first 20 minutes at Golden 1 Center Tuesday, it was looking like a green and gold sweep for the first time in the recent history of the teams’ Causeway rivalry. 

The brooms coming out seemed like reality — all until the Aggies showed up in the second half with an intention of winning this game.

“Hats off to UC Davis; they made great adjustments at halftime,” Sacramento State head coach David Patrick said. “Coach Les is obviously a great coach. Their adjustment at halftime to get more physical, more into us, slowed us down, [slowed] the momentum down.”

While playing on the same court as one of the hottest teams in the NBA, a potential four-game winning game streak slipped out of the hands of Sac State’s men’s basketball team with an 82-71 loss against UC Davis in the Causeway Cup.

Sac State’s offense recovered from Friday’s game against UC Merced early in this one. The Hornets were able to put a ton of pressure on the Davis defense early on in many different facets.

Junior forward Akol Mawein was getting it done for Sac State on the glass and at the rim. 

Mawein leaned on his 6’9” frame and athleticism to find scoring opportunities in the paint whether it was from put-back layups or low-post touches.

As the second leading scorer in the first half with 11 points, Mawein proved to be a significant catalyst for the Sac State offense until he fouled out in the second half.

When it wasn’t Mawein or senior Center Callum McRae going to work in the interior for the Hornets in the first half, it was junior swingman Austin Patterson hitting shots from outside. 

Patterson — entering this matchup shooting 33% from the three-point line — looked to prove he was the best shooter in the country on the big stage of the Causeway Classic.


Patterson shot the lights out in the first 20 minutes, going 4-4 from downtown.

The Hornets overall shot over 50% from the field and 70% from three-point range as a team as they led 40-33 at the break.

“[Sac State] had us on our heels,” UC Davis head coach Jim Les said. “They made plays, so we gotta give ’em credit.”

Sac State looked like they were in control going into the break, but the Aggies came back out for the next 20 minutes.

Davis was eager to show they could hang with the Hornets — coming off a recent three-game winning streak — and beat them.

Right out of the gates, UC Davis wing Elijah Pepper knocked down a three to cut the Hornet lead to four and the Aggies instantly went into a full-court press, setting a much more physical and aggressive tone on defense.

This press was the ultimate downfall for the Hornets. The Aggies’ pressure on the ball in that kind of full-court setting took time off the shot clock for the Hornets to work with and forced several turnovers. 

The Hornets finished with a total of 19 turnovers, with nine in the second half.

“Our post started catching the ball way off the block instead of catching it deep, and that pressure can make you do that,” Patrick said. “You gotta be able to play through that. That’s college basketball; that’s how elite teams play.”

Despite Sac State managing to temper the lead for most of the second half, near the 12-minute mark, UC Davis’s offenses went full steam ahead as they erupted on a run to cut the score as low as four at a score of 49-53. 

Just a few minutes later, UC Davis junior guard Kane Milling splashed a three to give the Aggies their first lead of the game at the 10:05 mark of the second half.

From this point on, it was a competitive slugfest of physical basketball to see who would take home the bragging rights of the Causeway Cup.

All in all, the final 10 minutes of this game saw three lead changes and a tie. The Aggies’ ability to convert jumpers from the perimeter, especially on the pick and roll, gave the Hornets too much to handle.

Coupled with the intensified defensive approach, in the second half, UC Davis shot over 55% on field goals, over 60% from deep and 82% from the free-throw line on 12 attempts — the Aggies were cooking the Hornets in every which-way to close this game.

“We gotta get things rolling now,” senior guard Zach Chappell said. “We gotta figure out how to keep leads. We’re not missing anything from coaching — our trainers are really good, our players — we’re not missing anything, we have it all here, we just gotta put it all together.”

UC Davis finished the matchup on a 15-2 run to give them a solid comeback victory.

“They’re still learning my voice,” Patrick said. “I think Zach Chappel has his fourth coach in college. Cam Wilbon is on his third. That takes time. That’s been the biggest adjustment when you have so many transfers.”

Sac State’s next game will be played against the University of Hawaii Friday, November 25th at 5:30 p.m. as part of the North Shore Classic.