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Men's Basketball: 'Eaters fall at buzzer

Contested straight away 42-footer banks in to give UCI a gut-wrenching defeat before record crowd.

November 08, 2013|By Barry Faulkner | This post has been corrected, as noted below.

With two teams firing in threes and draining the majority of their shots, including two three-pointers in the final 2.1 seconds, the most glaring miss was the opportunity to begin what may be a landmark UC Irvine men's basketball season with a victory Friday night.

The Anteaters, who led for most of the contest and never trailed by more than one, fell to visiting Fresno State, 98-97, when senior guard Allen Huddleston banked in a leaning, 42-foot three-pointer just before the buzzer in overtime, the last of 25 combined three-pointers in the nonconference season opener for both teams at the Bren Events Center.

The energetic crowd of 3,241 exited mostly in stunned silence, as Fresno State players taunted the UCI student section by plucking and popping the front of their jerseys and pounding their chests.

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"If we would have made that last shot, we probably would have done that too," said UCI Coach Russell Turner, who was miffed by his team's lack of perimeter defense for much of the game, though not in the final sequence.

"We defended the last shot better than we defended others throughout the game and the kid made it anyway," Turner said. "We played [Huddleston, who had two of the Bulldogs' 14 three-pointers and produced 12 points off the bench]. We fully contested that shot, one of the few we fully contested tonight, and he made it. Good for him."

UCI sophomore Alex Young was the would-be hero, having netted a step-back three near the top of the free-throw circle with 2.1 seconds left that gave UCI a 98-96 lead.

Six of the last eight field goals were three-pointers, three by each team, and both teams also utilized the three ball late in regulation.

Two of UCI's final four field goals in regulation were three-pointers, spanning the final 5:43. And the 'Eaters made five of six foul shots in the final 3:06, but still couldn't hold a lead that was 10 at halftime and was as much as 12 late in the first half.

Fresno State made 10 three-pointers after halftime, including two in the final 34 seconds of regulation, to force the extra session.

Cezar Guerrero, a sophomore transfer from Oklahoma State, made four of his five threes in the second half on his way to 23 points. His three-pointer with 34 seconds left pulled the Bulldogs within 83-82.

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