Rembert Comes Up Clutch

UCI 69, UCD 67

Saturday’s game against UC Davis was quite possibly the greatest game at the Bren Events Center in the last four years. There were dunks, threes, back and forth scoring and best of all, a last second win. Junior guard Patrick Rembert scored on a tough lay-up with nine seconds left in the game to put UCI ahead 69-67 and Davis missed a potential game-winning three point attempt with two seconds left on the clock.

The game started off close between the two opponents before Davis started a three-point barrage attack. The Aggies, who had crowd back-up, exploited the Anteater zone by hitting 11 of 17 three-pointers in the first half and led by as much as eleven points in the first half. UC Irvine was able to counter with junior Darren Moore and senior Michael Hunter and chip away at the lead until halftime, which saw UCI down 45-40 at the break. Moore scored 16 points while playing all 20 minutes of the first period and Hunter added 13 of his own.

UCI was able to go on top in the second half at the 14:45 mark when a fast-breaking Rembert found Hunter for a lay-up and a 54-53 lead. Davis regained the lead on their next possession and built some separation from the ’Eaters. However, UCI would not go quietly into the night and responded with a trip to the Big West Tournament slipping away from them.

Sophomore scoring stud Erik Wise managed only three points the entire game because of foul trouble, but hit his only field goal with 2:01 remaining to bring UCI within two points of Davis. Moore then added two free throws with 1:18 left to tie the game. The Aggies’ Todd Lowenthal then missed a jumper with 41 seconds left to set up the dramatic finish.

“I was just trying to score for my team,” Rembert said about the game-winning shot. “We didn’t want to go to overtime. It was a grueling game.”

Moore continued a recent strong stretch of play by scoring 21 points, a career high, and grabbed nine rebounds.

“I felt like we needed someone to step up and I just came out and did what I knew I could do. I just played basketball,” Moore said. “This is a big momentum changer because we won with our defense.”

The ’Eaters switched to a man-to-man defense in the second half and ended up scoring the last nine points of the game. Davis was kept to two points in the last 6:33 of play. Anteater big man Adam Folker stepped up in the second half, helping UCI out-rebound UCD 23-9 in the last 20 minutes.

“We started off in a zone but Davis kept hitting their threes. Even though we don’t match up well with them, we had to play man in the second half and I was pleased with our defensive effort, especially in the last 10 minutes of the game,” Coach Pat Douglass  said after the win. UCI improved to 11-15 overall and 4-8 in the Big West.

UC Irvine will next battle UC Riverside in Riverside on Feb. 17, in what will be a crucial game for the ’Eaters Big West Conference Tournament hopes. The Anteaters next return to the Bren on Feb. 20 to take on Marist at 4 p.m.

UCI 61, CSUF 72

The UC Irvine Men’s basketball team got off to a rough start in last week’s play. The Anteaters were upended by Cal State Fullerton, 72-61, in front of the home crowd at the Bren Event Center. It marked the eighth Big West Conference loss of the year for the ’Eaters compared to only three wins. The Titans of Fullerton improved to 12-11 overall and 6-5 in the Big West.

Eric Wise led the Anteaters in scoring with 19 points and had six rebounds. Junior guard Darren Moore chipped in 14 points and Michael Hunter added 13 of his own. Point guard Patrick Rembert scored nine and dished out four assists. Titan Gerald Anderson scored 19 and grabbed 10 rebounds and Orane Chin came off the bench and had 14 points to go along with 10 boards.

Fullerton led 28-24 at halftime, but the ’Eaters were able to go up 32-31 on a basket by Moore with 15:16 left in the second half. Fullerton then responded in a big way with a 20-7 run to take a 51-39 lead. The Titans never looked back after that.