UC Irvine kicked-off the new basketball season on Friday at the Bren Events Center with Midnight Magic.
Both the men and women’s basketball teams were introduced to the student body and got a chance to showcase their talents in a number of fun events. The teams participated in a “Battle of the Sexes” three-point-shootout as well as a slam dunk contest.
Before the night started, however, both basketball teams received a surprise message from NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, who wished the teams a good season. and even threw in a “Rip ‘Em ‘Eaters” to show his support.
Magic began with the “Battle of the Sexes” three-point-shootout, putting the two best three-point-shooters on both the men and women’s teams against each other. To top things off, both teams had an opportunity to pick a wild card shooter from each opposing team. The men’s team consisted of Brett Lauer, Chad DeCasas and wild card shooter Adam Folker. The women’s team was made up of Mary Has, Kirian Ishizaki and wild card shooter Kim Barnes.
Has rallied the girls to a surprise 63-45 win over the boys by hitting seven of her last eight shots. The girls shot at 35 percent from behind the arc, while the boys shot a mediocre 26 percent in the three-point-shootout.
Next came the high flying annual slam dunk contest. A total of four players competed in the contest, with only the two best moving on to the final round. The dunks were scored by a panel of judges including Peter the Anteater.
The first dunk came from guard Darren Moore who threw himself an alley-oop pass and threw it down with a reverse on his first try.
“Once I saw that first dunk, I knew instantly this contest was going to be exciting. I just wanted to see more,” said Mark Mastromonaco, a first-year at UCI.
The second dunk from guard Derek Strings wasn’t as successful as the first dunk. Strings attempted the same dunk twice, but missed both times.
Ryan Stacker, however, didn’t disappoint the crowd, especially the ladies, by taking off his shirt while running up for his dunk from outside the key. Stacker was sent to the finals despite a lowly three score from Peter the Anteater, who seemingly wasn’t enticed by Stacker’s shirtless performance.
Zach Atikinson joined Stacker in the finals with a monstrous windmill which received straight nine’s from the judges and yet another low score from Peter the Anteater, who gave the dunk a six.
Atikinson stole the show in the final round, imitating NBA star Vince Carter, by hanging on the rim with his elbow after throwing down another outrageous dunk. Atikinson not only received the only 10 of the night, but he received three of them, as well as a nine from Peter the Anteater.
“I didn’t think a college player could do that. I was so amazed,” said fourth-year Thomas Hall.
Both teams start their season with their opening match at the Bren Events Center against Cal Poly Pomona.
The men’s team looks to better their winning record of 18-16 on Nov. 8, while the women look to improve their 7-24 record from last year on Nov. 1.
“After the show the basketball teams put on, I feel like coming out to as many home games as I can. I am looking forward for basketball season,” said first year student Branden Hawara.
The athletes weren’t the only ones who had a good time at Shocktoberfest. Students also got a chance to participate in mini basketball, hairstyling competitions and even got a chance to attempt a half court shot for $10,000.
The night also included performances from Low vs. Diamond, Matt Costa, UCI’s own Kaba Modern and was topped off with a performance from Three 6 Mafia.
“I had fun the whole night. From the basketball to concerts, everything turned out great,” said first-year and first time attendee Carissa Cruz.