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UC Davis beats UC Irvine in Best West, earns first tourney bid

UC Davis' Brynton Lemar celebrates as the Aggies earned their first NCAA Tournament berth by defeating UC Irvine 50-47 Saturday in the Big West Tournament final. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)
UC Davis' Brynton Lemar celebrates as the Aggies earned their first NCAA Tournament berth by defeating UC Irvine 50-47 Saturday in the Big West Tournament final. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)
By Jill Painter Lopez Associated Press

ANAHEIM, Calif. – UC Davis is going to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.

Brynton Lemar scored 20 points to lead the second-seeded Aggies to a 50-47 victory Saturday night over UC Irvine in the Big West championship game.

In the regular-season finale between the teams just a week ago, UC Irvine routed UC Davis 79-49. What a difference seven days can make.

The Anteaters won the Big West and the No. 1 seed for the conference tournament. And this matchup was very much like a home game for UC Irvine as its campus is 15 miles from Honda Center. But Irvine was cold from the field at the start and Luke Nelson, the Big West player of the year, couldn’t get untracked. Nelson finished with a team-high 14 points.

UC Davis transitioned to Division I status in 2004 and joined the Big West in 2007. A decade later, the Aggies are in the NCAA Tournament.

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