DAVIS, Calif. – A big UC Davis run in the second half proved to be too much to overcome for Air Force on Saturday as it fell 80-74 despite 20 points apiece from Tre’ Coggins and Justin Hammonds.
The Aggies overcame a four-point halftime deficit by mounting a 17-3 run that put them up by 13 points with 8:49 remaining. Air Force closed to within four, but its rally fell short in its final nonconference game of the season.
The Falcons (6-5) host Utah State on Jan. 1 in the Mountain West opener.
“We are getting better,” Air Force coach Dave Pilipovich said. “We are much better than we were at the Military Classic (in early November) and excited about our progression.”
Tre’ Coggins scored 14 of Air Force’s first 17 points and the California native had 16 by halftime as the Falcons led 38-34. Assists led to 14 of Air Force’s 16 first-half field goals.
The Falcons jumped ahead 9-2 and UC Davis (4-9) did not hit its first field goal until nearly 4½ minutes had ticked off the clock.
A 3-pointer from Zach Kocur off the bench sparked a 9-0 run for the Falcons in the first half that gave them their biggest lead at 28-20, but those points proved to be the one of the only scoring contributions from a non-starter as Air Force’s bench was outscored 32-6.
Perhaps that depth was a problem late, as UC Davis controlled much of the second half.
“We got some scoring opportunities, but we missed some inside shots,” Pilipovich said. “They scored too easy on the inside against us in the second half. We have to get better. They took advantage of some mismatches inside. We have to get stronger inside. We’ve made progress but we need to get stronger inside.”
Air Force junior DeLovell Earls made his season debut when he checked in with 4:17 remaining in the first half. Earls attempted one shot in three minutes but compiled no other statistics. He had missed the first 10 games as he recovered from a broken tibia.
Corey Hawkins, the son of former NBA player Hersey Hawkins, led UC Davis with 20 points. The Aggies are known as a perimeter team, but they made just 5-of-21 3-point shots. Instead they were able to outscore Air Force 44-32 in the paint.
Coggins had a career-high seven assists to go with his 20 points. For Hammonds, who added seven rebounds and three steals, the 20 points represented a career high.