Men's Basketball: Mustangs snatch win from UCI

Folker, Young lead second-half rally, but Cal Poly deals 'Eaters another closely contested loss.

January 06, 2013|By Barry Faulkner

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Another close game, one might say, slipped through the hands of the UC Irvine men's basketball team in a 72-67 Big West Conference loss at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on Saturday.

But UCI Coach Russell Turner was willing to concede it may not have slipped, but was rather yanked from the grasp of his Anteaters, who have seemingly found a way to come up a couple plays short in close contests this season.

UCI (7-9, 1-2 in conference) is now 0-6 in games decided by six or fewer points, including a pair of galling setbacks the last three days along the Central Coast. Three of those losses have come in overtime and all were away from home.


Against Cal Poly (7-6, 3-0), UCI overcame a somewhat tentative opening half that ended with an 11-point deficit, to seize a 48-42 lead with 13:01 left in the game.

Senior post Adam Folker and freshman point guard Alex Young, both of whom were scoreless in a first half, scored 16 and 14 points, respectively to spark a strong second-half comeback.

Young had 10 points, including a pair of three-pointers, and Folker had eight points during the 'Eaters' 20-4 run early in the second half to help them climb into control.

But clutch shooting from three-point range and the foul line helped the Mustangs close out their third straight conference conquest.

"We played a good second half," said Turner, who was clearly disturbed by his team's lack of physical presence that helped create 10 first-half turnovers. "We played a good first half against Santa Barbara [UCI led, 37-32 at intermission but lost, 74-71 on Thursday] and a good second half against Cal Poly [outscoring the Mustangs 42-36 and making 16 of 28 field-goal tries after the break (57.1%)]. A lot of games are decided by a play or two here or there and decided by toughness."

Cal Poly trumped the Anteaters in the toughness department, which was most obvious on a handful of possessions on which the hosts simply snatched the ball from UCI players.

"I was most disappointed by the fact that they just went and took it out of our hands," Turner said. "I told our guys at halftime that we need to lift nine times a week if we are so physically weak that they can just take it from us. I think that we need to get physically stronger. That's a clear weakness in our program."

Cal Poly committed eight of the 12 turnovers after halftime, as UCI upped its intensity on both ends of the floor.

The Anteaters made 10 of their first 11 field-goal tries after the break.

Daily Pilot Articles Daily Pilot Articles