IRVINE — Since the day he was announced as the UC Irvine men's basketball coach, Russell Turner has talked about wanting his team to be playing its best late in the season, when it matters most.
And while the Anteaters may still not be where Turner wants them, their ability to perform in the clutch in two games this week enabled them to earn their place in the Big West Conference Tournament.
The clinching win was a 97-86 double-overtime triumph over Big West visitor Pacific on Saturday.
UCI's second double-overtime win in three days (it outlasted UC Davis on Thursday) locked up a berth in the eight-team postseason conference tournament March 10-12 at Honda Center. The 'Eaters (13-17, 6-9 in conference) have one game left to determine their tournament seeding. They could be as anywhere from fifth to eighth.
But if the Anteaters are to maximize their remaining potential, they will need to eliminate their dramatic flair that saw them lose late leads to Pacific and UC Davis, only to eventually prevail.