Anteaters Fail to Build Momentum
UC Davis 74 UC Irvine 57
A hot-shooting Aggie team cooled off the UC Irvine Anteaters Thursday night at the Pavilion in Davis.
The Anteaters were coming off of an upset victory over Big West favorite UC Santa Barbara at the Bren Events Center. However, the Aggies 17-0 run to open the game proved to be a big blow for the Anteaters.
The Aggies’ shot 57.1 from the three-point range, hitting 12 of 21 attempts. UCI on the other hand had arguably one of its worst shooting games of the year. The Anteaters only converted 3 of 20 three-point attempts. They shot 36.2 from the field.
The Anteaters did not get on the scoreboard until Patrick Sanders nailed two of his 18 points with 14:48 left in the first half.
UCI was able to cut the Aggie lead to 10 when Brett Lauer made a lay-up to bring the score to 25-15 with 5:49 remaining in the first half. Lauer scored a career-high 20 points against Cal Poly the previous game, but his heat would not carry over this one. He was 1-10 from the three-point range that night.
The Aggies responded to the Anteater run with a 9-2 surge of their own to close out the half.
UC Davis built a 23-point lead, their biggest, with 11:03 remaining in the second half. UCI would cut the deficit to 12 twice, but would never get closer.
Michael Hunter had 10 points and three assists.
The Anteaters committed a season-low six turnovers, but were out-manned on the board 36-23.
A few words by Coach Pat Douglass summed up the match: ‘We did not respond to their physical challenge.’
Pacific 59 UCI 53
UC Irvine could not hold off the University of the Pacific Saturday night in Stockton, California.
With the loss, UCI’s record now stands at 7-11 and 2-3 in Big West play. The Anteaters played a tough match against a strong UOP team (13-5, 4-1). The Tigers have only dropped one contest at home this season, while winning seven.
Michael Hunter scored a season-high 15 points, all of his points coming off of threes.
Senior Darren Fells scored 13 points to pass 1,000 points in his career. He now has 1,005 to rank 17th all-time at the university. He also pulled down 10 rebounds for his third double-double in the past four games and the 12th of his career. He is the 11th player in UCI history to reach 1,000 points and 600 rebounds in acareer.
The Anteaters found themselves in a 24-22 deficit at halftime, but were able to take a 34-32 lead with 12:41 left in the game. Pacific then caught fire and burst into a 22-10 run to take a 10-point lead with 4:02 remaining in regulation.
UCI, trailing 56-47 with 1:47 left, received back-to-back threes by Hunter and Patrick Sanders to close the gap to 56-53 with 1:07 remaining.
After a Tiger miss, Fells pulled down the rebound and Sanders missed a floating jumper in the key with 24 seconds left. A Tiger was fouled on the ensuing play, and converted one of two free throws to bring Pacific’s lead to four.
Hunter then missed a field-goal attempt at the other end and Pacific’s Bryan LeDuc hit a pair of free throws for the Tigers with 11.5 seconds left for the final margin.
‘Michael Hunter had a breakout game, his best performance of the season, and Patrick Sanders made some big shots in the second half,’ UCI Head Coach Pat Douglass said. ‘Even though we were able to come back at the end, Pacific’s depth and execution down the stretch, plus their ability to hit foul shots, prove to be the difference.’
Luckily the Anteaters will host UC Riverside this Saturday at the Bren Events Center. UCI is 6-0 at home this season compared to 1-11 on the road.