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UCI triumph a line item

Anteaters start well, hit lull, then finish off Hawaii at the foul line, hitting 31 of 34 free-throw tries Wednesday.

December 02, 2009|By Barry Faulkner

IRVINE — Just when it appeared the UC Irvine men’s basketball team was teetering toward the brink of squandering a 20-point lead, the Anteaters stopped at the line.

The foul line that is, where UCI made 20 of 23 free-throw attempts in the final 6:13, 18 of 21 in the last 3:37, to secure an 80-70 nonconference win over Hawaii Wednesday at the Bren Events Center.

UCI (4-3) was 31 for 34 from the line (91.2%), including 24 of 27 after intermission, as the starters made all 19 of their foul shots in the contest.

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The ’Eaters had just one field goal in the last 7:04, none in the final 5:17 to help repel the Rainbow Warriors, who methodically slashed a 27-7 deficit within 55-52 with 7:23 left in the game.

“They kept fouling us, so we couldn’t shoot,” said UCI Coach Pat Douglass, who was, perhaps, more pleased by the start of the contest than the finish.

“We got off to a good start,” Douglass said. “We came out and played with energy. This time of year, it’s hard to put ... we’re working toward putting 40 minutes together.”

UCI made its first four field-goal attempts, and 10 of its first 16 en route to create a 20-point bulge with 11:07 left in the first half.

Hawaii opened one for 15 from the field, before settling in and paring the deficit as UCI went scoreless for a span of 6:34.

The hosts were up, 37-22, at the break, thanks in large part to junior Pavol Losonsky going six for six from the field to help fuel a 58.3% shooting percentage. Losonsky had 13 of his team-high 15 points in the first period.

Hawaii used second-half runs of 8-0 and 6-0 to close to within three, but a driving layin by junior reserve Emil Kim with 7:05 remaining was followed by two Eric Wise free throws and a three-pointer by Patrick Rembert to get the advantage back to double digits.

“I thought [Kim] came in and gave us a lift [six point sin two rebounds in 16 minutes, including hitting all three of his field-goal tries],” Douglass said. “And I thought Rembert’s three-point shot was a big bucket in the second half.”

Rembert, a junior guard who came in averaging 2.8 points per game and did not start for the first time in five games, scored all 10 of his points in the second half. He was six for six at the foul line in the final 2:53.

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