Jan. 10, 2013
DAVIS, Calif. - Corey Hawkins finished with 15 points, but it was his final shot that fans will remember the most as the sophomore guard recorded the last points of the game as the buzzer sounded to help UC Davis defeat the Cal Poly Mustangs in dramatic fashion by a score of 69-67 Thursday night inside The Pavilion.
In addition to earning its first conference victory, UC Davis (5-9, 1-2 BWC) handed Cal Poly (7-7, 3-1 BWC) its first Big West loss of the season as the Mustangs entered Thursday's contest in first place as the only team with an unblemished league record.
"J.T. (Adenrele) deserves credit for keeping that play alive. He had a great game and worked hard all night, we could not have won this game without him," said Hawkins.
"Corey (Hawkins) attracts a lot of attention when he has the ball," explained head coach Jim Les regarding the final play of Thursday's game. "He make a great kick-out to Paolo (Mancasola)... credit Corey for sticking with the play because he followed the ball as the play continued. He has a knack for making off-balanced shots, those are the shots you cannot teach."
Hawkins' buzzer-beater provided the perfect ending for a UC Davis team that erased a 16-point Cal Poly lead, in part, by scoring seven of the final 11 points of the first half, and 10 of the first 14 points in the second.
"That group that closed the first half - Sypkens, Tyler (Les), Corey, Josh (Ritchart) and J.T. (Adenrele) - got the energy going. That group played great on defense, spread the floor and attacked the basket well," said Les.
Cal Poly possessed the lead for the entire first half, and the first three-plus minutes once the teams returned to the court after halftime. Once UC Davis took its first lead with 17:03 remaining, the lead changed hands an additional nine times before Hawkins gave the Aggies the lead when it counted the most.
Sophomore J.T. Adenrele scored 20 points, making all eight of his shots, to lead four Aggies in double figures. Hawkins and Ryan Sypkens each had 15 while Josh Ritchart added 10. Dylan Royer had 19 points to pace Cal Poly including three free throws with nine seconds left that tied the game, 67-67.
Following Royer's free throws, UC Davis brought the ball up for a final shot. Hawkins drove the lane and dished the ball to Paolo Mancasola for a three-point try. His shot was partially blocked and then was knocked out of the key to Hawkins who caught it in mid-air and released a shot in a continuous motion as quickly as possible in an attempt to beat the final horn.
The Aggies trailed 24-8 midway through the first half before cutting the deficit to just 37-31 at halftime. Adenrele's free throw three minutes into the second half put UC Davis in front, 39-38 - the first of 11 lead changes that took place throughout the final 17 minutes of the game.
"When you play hard and respect the game as these guys did, you deserve to win. Even when they were down in the second half, they never hung their heads and continued to make plays. The game rewards you when you respect it like that," said Les.
UC Davis will end its season-long three-game homestand this Saturday, January 12, in a 7 p.m. game against UC Santa Barbara.