The UC Irvine men’s basketball team remains unbeaten on campus this season with a win over Idaho on Saturday night. The final score of 69-55 gives the Anteaters an overall record of 12-14.
Prior to the start of this non-conference affair, Coach Pat Douglass was honored for becoming the all time wins’ leader at UCI. Douglass accomplished this feat when the Anteaters defeated Pacific in their last home game.
The visiting Vandals had a size advantage at nearly every position and some big bodies to spare, coming off the bench. The Anteaters hoped to combat the size disparity early on by running an up-tempo style of basketball in the first half, which eventually paid off.
As the first half neared a close the Anteaters were up five points as freshman guard Patrick Rembert took an out-of-bounds pass coast to coast and banked in a three-pointer at the buzzer. This shot gave UCI the momentum heading into halftime as well as an eight-point lead, 28-20.
The second half of play saw more scoring for both teams as the fluidity of the game picked up. The Anteaters stretched their lead in the final half, but each time they seemed ready to put away Idaho, Michael Crowell would hit a three-pointer to keep the game interesting.
In the end, no matter how much talking Idaho’s Jordan Brooks did, it didn’t change the outcome as the Anteaters won by 14. In a game where eight of the nine Anteaters that played had scored, it was clear that all the players significantly contributed to the victory.
The trio of seniors, center Darren Fells, forward Patrick Sanders and guard Marcus McIntosh, led the way. Fells led the team in scoring with 14 points. He also filled up the box score with nine rebounds, five assists, three blocks and three steals. Sanders scored 13 points. McIntosh scored 13 points as well and added four rebounds and two steals. Sophomore guard Michael Hunter netted nine points. Junior forward Kevin Bland came off the bench to get seven rebounds, score six points and add an electric dunk in the first half. Sophomore guard Chad DeCasas scored six points, hitting two timely three-point shots that helped to propel the Anteaters to yet another victory on campus, 9-0 this season.
Following the win, Douglass said, ‘They have good overall size and I thought our guys played hard, and had a good defensive effort.’ In response to the slow start offensively, Douglass explained, ‘They are pretty big so if you try to go right at them and not move the ball, it makes it difficult.’ He also admitted that, ‘I can’t deny it, we play pretty well at home.’
It was an interesting game for McIntosh. Idaho’s Clyde Johnson was a high-school teammate and good friend. During his time in Texas he also befriended Jordan Brooks, the emotional team leader of the Vandals. Speaking on the topic, McIntosh said he had a lot of fun and mentioned, ‘It’s a small world.’ Marcus continued, ‘We are at home and for some reason this team plays a lot better at home; we came off a tough loss at Riverside and we just wanted to bounce back.’ When asked about his role and how it has changed over the season, McIntosh said, ‘I’m just trying to play basketball regardless of what is coming off the bench or starting or whatever, I’m just trying to play my part for the team.’
The recorded attendance for the game was 1,570 for the game on Saturday night against Idaho. The remaining regular season games for the Anteaters are all at home starting with Long Beach State this Thursday night at the Bren Events Center.