DAVIS — Bob Hamilton has been the basketball coach at the UC Davis since, well, since anyone can remember.
"I think he's been here since Moses parted the Red Sea," Cal State Northridge Coach Pete Cassidy said before Friday night's game between the Matadors and the Aggies, which Davis won, 53-41.
Only a few hours earlier, when Hamilton was asked if he would try to pressure the Matadors, the old coach said, "Hell no, we don't have the quickness to put much pressure on anybody."
So what happened the first time CSUN brought the ball up the court? There, clear as day, was an Aggie full-court press.
But on two other counts, Hamilton was more honest.
"We bang. We have a bigger front line than we've ever had. So that's the way we'll play," he said.
What he meant to say was that Davis would play hard, physical basketball.
Hamilton also said, "We get the ball up the court as quick as we can. Some of our guys think the 45-second clock has a decimal between the 4 and the 5."
That was true for both teams. Shots were going up from all over the place. As a result, neither team shot well.
But Davis was able to make at least some baskets down the stretch and CSUN couldn't keep up.
"I think all the fog they've had up here permeated our brains," Cassidy said. "Our players were standing around. We had no movement. When they finally moved, it was aimless. I saw nothing but street ball out there. When we opened the game with two turnovers and a 25-foot shot, I said this would be a long night. I didn't know what was going on out there."
Even when the Matadors managed to get the ball to the open man, it wouldn't drop. "We just couldn't do it tonight," said center Paul Hobus. "Even the inside shots wouldn't go." CSUN shot 32%.
After a close first half, the Aggies jumped ahead, 31-22, mostly by pounding the ball inside to Hamilton's big men. Brad Tatom and Pete Buchwald combined for 27 points.
The Matadors fought back to draw within four, 40-36, with 7:49 left. But after a string of Northridge misses, Davis led, 48-39, and CSUN was unable to recover.
Neither team could get untracked in the early minutes of the first half. In fact, after five minutes the score was only 3-2, in favor of Davis.
The Matadors missed a lot of forced shots, and easy ones as well. Midway through the half, forward Jimmy Daniels first missed a layup. Then he missed a five-foot jumper in the lane.
After 10 minutes, Davis and Northridge combined for 11 points on the scoreboard. It was 6-5, Davis.
Momentarily, it looked like CSUN had slipped out of its drought, going ahead, 10-7, after a 17-foot shot by Paul Drecksel. But Davis came back to take the lead, 17-14. From there it was a one-point game for most of the half.
The Matadors play Cal State Sacramento Saturday night at Sacramento.