Darius Graham missed a 3-pointer with three seconds left and the UC Davis Aggies couldn’t hang onto an 11-point second-half lead and lost to the UC Irvine Anteaters Saturday night at The Pavilion, 61-59.
Avery Johnson nailed a 3-pointer with 6:14 left in the first half to cap a 7-0 run for the Aggies (8-16, 3-6 Big West Conference) that put them up 29-18.
The Anteaters (16-9, 7-2) fought back to close to within four at 30-26 at halftime.
But UC Davis got off to a hot start out of the break, pushing the lead back out to 11 at 42-31 on Corey Hawkins’ jumper with 15:46 left.
UC Irvine climbed back into the game and took its first lead of the second half with 6:13 remaining, when Mamadou Ndiaye tipped in a miss by Dominque Dunning.
The Aggies came back to take the lead once more on Brynton Lemar’s layup with 2:49 to go.
But that would be the last time UC Davis would score.
Luke Nelson made one of two at the line and later scored a layup with 1:50 to go that put the Anteaters back on top 60-59. The teams were scoreless over the final 1:10 of the game.
Hawkins paced the Aggies with 19 points and Lemar added 11. Georgi Funtarov and Avery Johnson each grabbed seven rebounds and Johnson also recorded three steals.
UC Irvine was 26-for-49 (53.1 percent) overall, 2-for-8 (25 percent) from 3-point range and 7-for-13 (53.8 percent) at the free-throw stripe. UC Davis was 19-for-56 (33.9 percent), 4-for-14 (28.6 percent) and 17-for-22 (77.3 percent).
The Anteaters held a 34-29 edge on the boards, but turned the ball over 16 times, compared to just seven for the Aggies.
The Aggies are back at home on Thursday when they host Cal State Fullerton at 7 p.m. Pacific.