Saturday more than lived up to the hype for college basketball, as the day featured a number of close finishes and a buzzer-beater at Hinkle Fieldhouse that left many searching for the proper words to describe what they witnessed.
But whether you continued to discuss No. 13 Butler’s dramatic win over No. 8 Gonzaga or simply went to bed, there’s a strong possibility that you missed one of the best shooting performances (by both a team and an individual) of the season.
In UC Davis’ 93-82 win at Hawaii the Aggies got off to a hot start, hitting 14-of-21 from beyond the arc in the first half to open up a 54-37 lead at the break. Jim Les’ team found a number of open looks against the Warrior defense and they were sure to take advantage, with Corey Hawkins accounting for seven of the 14 three-pointers.
“Once we found our rhythm early in the first half, it was tough for Hawai’i to break that” Les said following the win. “I thought [point guard] Paolo [Mancasola] really bothered Hawaii when they were on defense and made things really difficult for their big men.”
In the end UC Davis would fall well short of the NCAA record for three-pointers made in a game but their 16-of-26 night from distance is nothing to scoff at. The 16 three-pointers tied a school record, and even though Troy’s record of 28 made three pointers (in a 1994 game against George Mason) remains the Trojans needed 74 attempts to establish that mark.
But back to Hawkins, who set a school record by scoring 40 points in the victory. Hawkins, who shot 8-of-9 from three, finished 10-of-14 from the field (12-of-12 FT) and grabbed 12 rebounds as well. Long-distance marksmanship apparently runs in the family for Hawkins, whose father is none other than Bradley all-time leading scorer Hersey Hawkins (who was a teammate of Les’ in college).
“That is as good as it gets; he has been spending time in the gym before practice, after practice and before games constantly working on his jumper,” Les said of Hawkins.“How often do you see someone score 40 points off 14 shots? He was unbelievably efficient tonight. We want the ball in his hands, especially late in the game; there is nothing more discouraging to an opposing team that is trying to catch up than someone who makes his free throws.”
Hawkins became the third player on the UC Davis roster to make eight three-pointers in a game during their college career, as Ryan Sypkens did so in a one-point loss at Nevada in November and Tyler Les (the head coach’s son) hit eight in a game at San Jose State last season.
Not to be forgotten on this record-setting night was the play of Mancasola, whose 11 assists made him the first Aggie to tally ten or more assists in a game since Mark Payne did so in 2009, and forward J.T. Adenrale (19 points, nine rebounds).
Photo credit: UC Davis Athletics