Feb. 18, 2012
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Harrison Dupont scored 19 points and Tyler Les hit four three-pointers as UC Davis used an improbable comeback to battle from 21 points down in the first half and beat host Northern Arizona 70-65 in an ESPN Sears BracketBuster men's basketball game on Saturday night.
The win, which came after UC Davis trailed 45-26 at halftime, gave UC Davis its first road win of the year and it's second straight win overall as it moved to 4-22 overall. Northern Arizona, which lost its 14th in a row, was led by 26 points from senior forward Norman Durrell but fell to 4-22.
Les hit all four of his three-pointers in the second half as UC Davis, which was just 1 of 9 from three-point territory in the first half, made 6 of 9 (.667) in the second. Adam Malik came off the bench to hit both of his tries from beyond the arc.
UC Davis outscored NAU 44-20 in the second half, rallying with a 34-7 run to take a 60-52 lead before the Lumberjacks fought back to tie the game 61-61 with 3 minutes to go. But Paolo Mancasola hit a pair of free throws, DuPont added one of his own and the Aggies led 64-61 with 1:48 to go.
NAU got to within a point two more times but DuPont's three-point play with 15 seconds to go just about it sealed it 69-65. He capped it with a free throw with just one second to go.
"Give these guys a ton of credit," said Aggie coach Jim Les. "They were challenged at halftime, just about their pride and coming out and playing and doing it one stop at a time. They can score in a hurry. We shoot 63 (percent) in the second half, 66 (percent) from three and we can get hot like that.
"The problem is your defense has got to be solid to keep you in the game," he added. "I thought maybe (the game) was a little bit out of reach but this was the players' win."
Big runs in the first half, including a 12-0 surge early in the game, along with 55.6 percent shooting from the floor, helped the Lumberjacks take a 45-26 halftime lead. They enjoyed their biggest lead at 41-20 late in the half.
But the Aggies turned the tables in the second half, outscsoring NAU by 24 points and doing it in a hurry. They cut the deficit to just 49-44 six minutes into the half and then tied it 50-50 with 11:47 remaining after a DuPont layup.
Les' long three-pointer with 9:50 to delivered UC Davis a 55-52 lead, its first since early in the game. The Aggies built the advantage to 60-52 with 6:54 to go before the Lumberjacks rallied to tie it 61-61 and force the exciting ending.
UC Davis shot 63.6 percent from the field after halftime and 51 percent for the game. Les had 12 points for the Aggies while Paolo Mancasola finished with 10 points and a team-high five assists.
The halves were in stark contrast to each other. Several runs in the first half, fueled by 61 percent shooting, helped stake the Lumberjacks to a 19-point lead at the break. They scored 12 in a row to counter UC Davis' first four points of the game, had an 8-0 run later that pushed their lead to 18-8, and then strung together 10 in a row that made it 35-15 with 5 minutes, 16 seconds left before halftime.
Norman was a big part of that offensive surge, hitting all 10 of his free throw attempts and scoring 16 points. James Douglas hit a pair of three-pointers and had 10 points for NAU which also held a 19-10 advantage on the boards in the first 20 minutes.
The Aggies, though, rallied quickly after halftime. Les' first trey brought UC Davis to within 47-35 as the Aggies started the second half on a 9-2 run while before 13 straight made it 49-48 with 13:11 on the clock. Seven different players scored during the second rally that eventually tied it on DuPont's layup.
The win snapped a 14-game road losing streak for UC Davis which last posted a victory away from Hamilton Court late last season at Seattle. The Aggies will return their on Monday for a 7 p.m. nonconference game before returning home to play Cal State Fullerton next Saturday in their home finale.