by Charlie O. Mallonee
The UC Davis Men’s Basketball team played the defending Big Sky Champion Weber State Wildcats in the first-round of the GCI Great Alaska Shootout on Thanksgiving night. The Wildcats lived up to their reputation of being a very good basketball team coming away with a 86-55 win over the Aggies (4-2).
Weber State put on a scoring barrage in the second half putting up 47 points to 26 points for UC Davis. The Wildcats shot 64.0-percent (16-for-25) from the field in the closing half and hit on 7-of- 13 opportunities beyond the 3-point line. The Aggies shot 34.8-percent in the second half and went 3-for-7 from long range.
UC Davis held a 20-9 lead in the first half, but Weber State hit 6-of-12 shots from behind the 3-point arc to make a comeback in the half. As the teams went to halftime Weber State held a 39-32 over the Aggies.
Joe Mooney was the Aggies leading scorer with 12 points. He was a perfect 4-for-4 from the floor including two 3-pointers.
“We have a lot of confidence in Joe, he is a good player. He will continue to earn minutes; you can tell that he is becoming more comfortable as the season progresses,” said head coach Jim Les.
Siler Schneider added 11 points, Chima Moneke had eight points and eight rebounds while Mikey Henn scored seven points for the Aggies.
Dusty Baker led the Wildcats scoring with 21 points in 22 minutes on the floor. Jeremy Senglin produced 20 points and was 4-for-8 from long range. Weber State (2-2) as a team shot 52.0-percent (13-for-25) from downtown.
No rest for the weary
UC Davis faces a quick turnaround as they will face Drake (1-3) in a 3:00 PST tipoff on Friday. Drake – a member of the Missouri Valley Conference – lost their first game of the tournament to Iona 64-53.
The Aggies will have one more game in the consolation bracket on Saturday at either 1:00 or 3:00 PM depending on the results of the Drake game.
This could be the last Great Alaskan Shootout
This the 39th and possibly the last Great Alaskan Shootout. The tournament has been financially challenged and now the Alaska State Legislature is threatening to reduce the funding it gives the event.
There are so many tournaments in warm weather locations that are more attractive to teams and their fans. There are also the several Las Vegas opportunities. Frankly, the winter conditions in Alaska with temperatures in twenties, snow and six-hours of daylight is not a big draw for fans who like to travel with their team.
Unless the tournament is able to find a larger corporate sponsor or a higher-paying television contract, the Great Alaskan Shootout may be history.
Portions of the information in this story were supplied by the Sports Information Departments of UC Davis and Weber State