San Jose State handles UC Irvine

Anteaters lose early lead and Coach Turner loses his cool, earning a late ejection in setback.

December 04, 2010|By Barry Faulkner,

IRVINE — Their edge was the first to go. Next, went the lead. Finally, it was first-year coach Russell Turner's temper that made the final departure in the UC Irvine Anteaters' 85-70 nonconference men's basketball loss to San Jose State on Saturday at the Bren Events Center.

The Spartans (5-2) used an overwhelming backcourt to overcome an 11-2 deficit, eventually taking control toward the end of a first half in which the Anteaters led for the first 13:28.

But when senior guard Justin Graham converted a three-point play that put the visitors up, 18-17, the Spartans never trailed again.


The frustration mounted for the Anteaters, who shot 49% from the field, but were bested, 45-30, on the glass.

Finally, with 4:08 left in the game, Turner was given a technical foul for voicing his displeasure over a foul call. He then stepped onto the court and barked an obscenity at the official, who whistled a second technical that brought an automatic ejection.

"I lost my composure and I've got to not do that," said Turner, who had not had a technical in his first seven games.

Turner said his team, which came in with wins in four of its last five games, may have been guilty of losing focus after seizing a nine-point cushion while the Spartans missed their first nine field-goal tries.

"We started the game well," Turner said of the 'Eaters, playing their fifth straight game without junior standout Eric Wise, who is sidelined with a hip-flexor strain. "We played well and defended and got a good lead. And then we just couldn't make enough plays to build on that.

"I felt like we were on a good little roll and getting better, until tonight. I think that's what happens — when you start to feel good, you lose your edge, and maybe that happened tonight."

UCI went 5:29 without a point after taking a 17-11 advantage and trailed, 34-27, at halftime.

After a 5-2 UCI run to start the second half, San Jose, which has now beaten UCI three times in just less than 12 months, scored six straight. UCI never again got closer than five.

"Give them credit, they beat us," Turner said. "They took it to us. They rebounded over the top of us and ran by us and scored in transition. They were good."

Turner singled out Graham, who collected 21 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals.

Senior Adrian Oliver, who scored 60 points in two games against UCI last season and leads the Western Athletic Conference in scoring, added 18 points, 14 in the second half.

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