Men’s Basketball (7-9, 1-1)
December was a modest month for the UC Irvine men’s basketball team. Going 4-5 during the winter break, the Anteaters won their three home court contests and recorded their first road victory at UC Davis on Dec. 30.
Irvine recorded their first winter break victory on Dec. 16 in overtime against Sam Houston State, 70-62, in front of a season-high home crowd of 2,657 at the Bren Events Center. Junior guard Chuma Awaji led the Anteaters by recording a double-double, registering 15 points and 14 rebounds, including a three-pointer to open the overtime session in which Irvine outscored SHSU 14-6. Both of Awaji’s marks were career highs. The Anteaters shot 44.6 percent from the field for the game and made three of five shots in overtime. Sam Houston shot 27.8 percent for the game, and converted just two of 11 field goals in the extra session.
After two road losses against DePaul University (65-53) and Loyola-Chicago (72-69) from Dec. 20-22, the Anteaters returned home on Dec. 28 to face Harvard. The Anteaters quickly snapped their modest losing streak defeating the Crimson, 81-48. Sophomore forward Adam Templeton recorded 18 points and seven rebounds to lead Irvine. Templeton’s 18 points were a result of a career-high six three-pointers. Senior forward Nic Campbell also had a good game, scoring 15 points and seven rebounds.
The Anteaters ended December with a win at UC Davis, 68-48 where freshman guard Michael Hunter scored 18 points and Templeton and Awaji recorded seven rebounds apiece. Irvine shot an impressive 70.6 percent from the free-throw line making 24 of 34 attempts.
January marked the beginning of conference play, which saw the Anteaters beat Cal Poly on Jan. 4, 84-73, but lose to UC Santa Barbara, 64-59 Saturday night. Irvine will next face Cal State Northridge on the road on Jan. 11.
Women’s Basketball (3-12, 1-1)
December was a frustrating month for the women’s basketball team, who recorded their only victory on Dec. 1 against Loyola Marymount before dropping seven straight games. Despite the slump, the Lady Anteaters were able to open the conference season with a victory on the road against Cal Poly on Jan. 4.
Irvine began winter break by facing 10th-ranked Arizona State on Dec. 14. The Sun Devils started the game by going on a 15-0 run, a gap too large for the Anteaters to shut. UCI lost 75-46, shooting a season-low 29.5 percent from the field on the night, going 18-61.
The Anteaters next traveled to Nevada, where they dropped a heartbreaker to the Wolf Pack, 69-68. With 3 minutes, 24 seconds remaining, Nevada had a 65-56 lead before UCI freshman center Naomi Halman scored eight unanswered points to pull the Anteaters within 65-64 with 1:17 left. But the Anteaters would get no closer.
UCI returned home to face Army on Dec. 21, but the Anteaters were unable to respond to Army’s nine unanswered points to open the second half, dropping the game, 83-69. The game against Fairfield on Dec. 28 was back and forth all night with 10 ties and 11 lead changes. However, the Anteaters were stunned by a 14-5 Fairfield run in the final five minutes of the game that secured the Stags’ win 78-72. Angie Ned recorded the team high in points for that game with 17, which led her over the 1,000 career point mark with the Anteaters and made her the 13th woman to record the honor.
Following another close loss against UC Davis (64-62) on Dec. 30, Irvine began their conference season against Cal Poly on Jan. 4. Irvine defeated the Mustangs 84-73 and Duda recorded a career-high 22 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Anteaters.
The Anteaters then lost to UC Santa Barbara on the road Saturday afternoon, 86-67 to even their conference record at 1-1.
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