IRVINE — A remade UC Irvine men's basketball team with eight freshmen and no seniors seemed to grow on the Bren Events Center crowd while posting a 66-54 debut exhibition victory over visiting Cal Baptist on Wednesday.
Perhaps more importantly, the Anteaters wore down the Lancers, who are making the move from NAIA to NCAA Division II this season.
Will Davis, one of the fresh-faced freshmen, collected 10 points, 11 rebounds and two blocked shots to help the Anteaters build some momentum as they approach their season opener Nov. 11 at Cal.
Davis, a 6-foot-8, 210-pound forward who did not commit a turnover, had five offensive rebounds in the second half to help UCI overcome a modest shooting performance (35.4% from the field).
Junior Mike Wilder, one of a handful of players who could qualify as known entities on a roster with nine first-year collegians, was an anchor for the Anteaters. The 6-foot-2 swing man had a team-best 13 points, including four three-pointers. Wilder nailed two of his three second-half three-pointers in the final 6:10, when UCI pulled away after Cal Baptist had tied it, 51-51.