Special to the News-Democrat
An 11-1 California-Davis run over the final 1:50 of the first half changed the Southern Illinois University Cougars' fate Friday as the Aggies earned a come-from-behind 80-75 win in the opening game of the Portland State Tournament in Portland, Ore.
Rozell Nunn drained a jumper with 2:05 to play before halftime to put SIUE up 37-25 when the Aggies' Josh Ritchart took over.
Ritchart scored all 11 of UC Davis' points during the run. The only Cougar point the rest of the half came on a Kris Davis free throw. Ritchart forced a steal at the end of the half, then heaved a three-quarter-court shot that rimmed in to make the score 38-36 SIUE at the half.
The Cougars fell to 1-3 with the loss. UC Davis improved to 2-2.
"We had some break downs down the stretch of the first half," SIUE coach Lennox Forrester said. "We let them go on a run. It was our turnovers and lack of intensity and focus on defense in the first half."
Ritchart led all scorers with a career-high 35 points. He tied his career-high with 13 rebounds.
UC-Davis took its first lead with 3-pointer by Avery Johnson 1:10 into the second half. Christian Salecich answered for SIUE with a 3-pointer of his own to make it 41-39 SIUE. Nunn extended SIUE's lead to four (43-39) with a layup with 17:43 to play. Ritchart, Corey Hawkins, and Johnson hit consecutive jumpers to put UC-Davis back on top with 16:15 to play.
Michael Messer gave SIUE its last lead with a 3 with 15:47 left, which made the score 46-45 SIUE.
The Aggies built their lead to as many as 11 in the second half when a Ritchart 3-pointer made it 64-53 with 9:02 left. It was a 10-point (73-63) advantage when the Cougars went on a 12-3 run. Another Messer 3 had the Cougars within one point at 76-75 with 2:19 remaining, but the Cougars couldn't get any closer.
Nunn led the Cougars with a career-high 17 points. Messer finished with 11 points.
Hawkins scored 11 points for the Aggies.
McKendee 77, Hillsdale 74, OT
In Springfield, A 3-pointer from sophomore guard Liz Gilman at the buzzer in overtime propeled the McKendree Bearcats to a win over Hillsdale College at the Great Lakes Valley Conference/Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Crossover Classic hosted by University of Illinois-Springfield.
The Bearcats improve to 2-1 overall and will play Lake Superior State University today at 1 p.m.
Junior guard Caty Ponce had a season-high 23 points, while Gilman also posted a seson-high with 17 points. Freshman forward Ellie Pusheck scored a career-high 10 points to round out McKendree's double-digit scoring.
Senior guard Brittany Willis dished out a season-high seven assists.
Both teams battled back and forth for position in the first half, with the lead changing eight times and McKendree holding the largest lead, 32-26, at the 4:46 mark.
Hillsdale held the advantage early and took a 12-7 lead following a 3 from Marissa DeMott at the 17:24 mark. The Bearcats answered with a 3-pointer of their own by Ponce to cut the deficit to two, and took a 22-20 lead with just under 10 minutes to play on a 3 from freshman guard Abby Smith.
A layup by Willis gave McKendree the largest lead of the half with 4:46 left until the break, but the Chargers kept it close and took a 35-34 lead into the half.
Hillsdale held onto its lead for almost the entire second half, and owned its largest lead, 65-59, with 3:08 remaining in regulation.
A layup by Pusheck gave McKendree its first lead of the second half, 68-67, with 38-seconds left, and it had a three-point lead following two free throws by junior forward Haeley Kresiel with 19-seconds left.
But a 3 DeMott with five seconds helped send the game to overtime.
The Chargers scored the first three points of overtime, but a layup by freshman forward Emily Pusheck cut the deficit to 73-72 with 2:06 to play.
A free throw by Hillsdale extended its lead to 74-72, but Ellie Pusheck was fouled and made both her free throws to tie the game, 74-74, with 1:22 remaining.
Gilman pulled down the rebound off a missed 3-point by Hillsdale with 21-seconds left and the Bearcats called a timeout with 12 seconds left.
Ponce took the inbound pass and found Gilman beyond the arc for the game-winner as time expired.
Megan Fogt led all players with 29 points and 27 rebounds for Hillsdale, while Brooke Borowski and DeMott scored 14 and 12 points, respectively.