LAS VEGAS — When UC Irvine finds its shooting stroke, the Anteaters are awfully tough to beat.
DJ Davis scored a career-high 25 points and UCI made a season-best 14 3-pointers in an 85-68 victory over New Mexico State in the championship game of the Las Vegas Classic on Saturday night at Orleans Arena.
Davis, who was named the tournament MVP, was 8 for 15 from the field, including 5 for 7 from 3-point range, to lead the Anteaters (6-1). Dawson Baker hit three 3-pointers on his way to 19 points, and Justin Hohn added 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting (4 for 4 from behind the arc).
UCI took control early behind its red-hot shooting, building a 10-point lead less than seven minutes into the game and pushing the margin to 18 when Hohn made the second of back-to-back 3-pointers with 7:29 left. The Anteaters shot 15 for 29 from the field in the first half, including an 11-for-17 mark from behind the arc.
The Aggies (2-2) cut their 18-point halftime deficit to 10 points early in the second half, but UCI pushed the margin back to 15 by the midpoint of the second half and maintained a similar lead the rest of the way, pushing the margin back to 18 when Pierre Crockrell II made three consecutive floaters for a 77-59 lead with 5:01 left.
Crockrell (eight points, five assists) joined Davis on the all-tournament team, while Dean Keeler had six points, a team-high 10 rebounds and three blocked shots.
Anthony Roy scored 20 points and went 6 for 9 from 3-point range to pace the Aggies. DaJuan Gordon added 14 points and nine rebounds, and Xavier Pinson had 10 points.
UCI shot 49.2% overall (29 for 59), including a 14-for-24 mark from long range. The Anteaters also went 13 for 16 from the free-throw line and enjoyed a 37-32 rebounding advantage and a 20-6 margin in fast-break points.
UC Irvine plays at No. 17 San Diego State on Tuesday at 7 p.m.