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’Eaters come out on top

Defensive shift, Moore help UCI rally past UC Davis and leave cellar. Rembert nets game-winner with 0:09 left.

February 13, 2010|By Barry Faulkner

IRVINE — This one was about belief.

The belief held by the UC Irvine men’s basketball team and, just as importantly, the one abandoned by its coach.

The result was a dramatic 69-67 Big West Conference victory over visiting UC Davis that lifted the Anteaters out of the conference cellar.

And this win, which junior guard Darren Moore called the biggest of the season, could even create enough momentum to lift the Anteaters out of a malaise that had seen them lose four straight Big West games, and seven of their last eight over a little more than the last month.

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“I think this win right here could change things around for us,” said Moore, who had a career-high 21 points to lead all scorers, including a career-high four three-pointers. [UC Riverside, which entered the night tied with UCI for last place] lost tonight and it might be a big momentum shift four our team.”

A shift was in order from Douglass as well, after the Aggies (10-14, 6-6 in conference) matched their season high with 11 three-pointers in the first half against UCI’s two-three zone.

Douglass called for a shift to man-to-man defense in the second 20 minutes, and the Anteaters (11-15, 4-8) held the visitors to 32% shooting from the field, and just three-of-11 shooting from beyond the arc (27.3%).

Davis, which had beaten UCI four straight times and, Douglass said, creates a difficult matchup due to the inside-outside offensive capability of its big men, was held to two points the last 6:33.

After Ryan Sypkens hit a 14-footer with 4:27 left to give the visitors a 67-60 lead, UCI scored the final nine points, capped by Patrick Rembert’s driving left-handed layup with nine seconds left for the winning margin.

Sypkens missed a three-point attempt in the final seconds and Moore rebounded to seal the victory.

“We had practiced the zone and when we’ve been effective against [the Aggies], we’ve been in zone,” Douglass said of his reasoning behind remaining in the zone as Davis shot 64.7% from threedom before intermission. It was the most threes ever allowed in one half by a UCI team.

“They’re a tough matchup for us, man-to-man, but we had no choice the way they were burying the three,” Douglass said. “Sometimes, you jump out of a zone when [opponents] are making threes. I was a little stubborn [staying in the zone the whole first half]. But, after a while, better judgment ruled out.”

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