Ice-cold Anteaters surprised by CSUN

UC Irvine has dismal shooting night and visiting Matadors bank in a key three-pointer to claim Big West contest.

January 27, 2011|By Barry Faulkner,
(Kent Treptow / Daily…)

IRVINE — With five teams tied for third place in the Big West Conference entering Thursday night's men's basketball action, balance might be a descriptive word associated with the nine-team league.

But off-balance may be a more fitting assessment of the play of UC Irvine, which continued its schizophrenic tendencies in a 66-62 conference setback to visiting Cal State Northridge in front of a library-like 1,115 at the Bren Events Center.

The Anteaters (10-11, 3-4 in conference), who had been among the aforementioned five-team logjam, fell into a tie for sixth place with the loss, their first in four games. The winning streak had been extended with an upset home win over first-place Long Beach State on Saturday. But any momentum that might have created was truncated by a woeful UCI shooting performance Thursday.

The 'Eaters shot 32.3% from the field (20 for 62) and made just seven of 31 three-point attempts (22.6%). Though veteran starters Eric Wise (20 points and 12 rebounds), Darren Moore (21 points and eight boards) and Patrick Rembert (14 points and four assists), combined to make half of their 36 field-goal tries, the other six who played for the hosts were a combined two for 26 from the field (7.7%).


Sophomore starters Damon Starring (zero for eight) and Mike Wilder (one for 10, including one for nine from beyond the arc), symbolized the Anteaters' shooting difficulty. Wilder was coming off a game in which he had a career-high 24 points and 13 rebounds against Long Beach State.

Conversely, the Matadors (7-13, 4-3), who came in ranked eighth in the conference in three-point shooting, connected on eight of 17 from three-point range (47.1%) and shot nearly 49% overall (23 of 47).

The Northridge three-point success included a pair of banked-in threes by senior guard Rashaun McLemore, who entered the game just two of 18 from threedom in conference play.

McLemore, who banked in a three-pointer midway through the first half, kissed a three ball off the glass from the left wing to beat the shot-clock buzzer with 20 seconds left to put the visitors up, 63-59.

The shot halted a 4-0 UCI run and followed a turnover by the hosts on an inbound pass from under their own basket.

A three-pointer by Wise with three seconds left pulled UCI within 64-62, but Matadors' senior Dathan Lyles sank a pair of free throws with 2.5 seconds left to hand UCI its third home loss in the last month against teams with losing records.

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