UC Davis beats UC Irvine in 2OT, win Big West title

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — TJ Shorts II scored 21 points with seven rebounds, five assists and three steals and AJ John added a career-high 20 points — including six 3-pointers — and nine rebounds to help UC Davis slip past UC Irvine 90-84 in double overtime on Saturday night to win the Big West Conference regular-season title.

UC Irvine beat the Aggies (21-9, 12-4) in the final game to win the regular-season title last year before losing 50-47 to UCD in the 2017 Big West Tournament championship game.

The Anteaters (16-16, 11-5) committed a turnover on three of their first five possessions of the second overtime and John hit his second 3 of the period to give UC Davis an 85-81 lead with 37.6 seconds to play. Garrison Goode and Siler Schneider — who finished with 16 points apiece — combined to make 5-of-6 free throws from there to seal it.

Evan Leonard hit a deep, contested 3-pointer as the shot clock expired to give UC Irvine a five-point lead with 51 seconds left in the first OT. John hit a straight-away 3 and Shorts deflected the ensuing inbound pass off UCI’s Eyassu Worku and out of bounds with 28.4 seconds. Shorts then darted into the lane, was fouled and hit both free throws to tie it and, eventually, force the second overtime.

Leonard led the Anteaters with 22 points.

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