UCI 77, UCSD 52
Russell Turner and the new-look men’s basketball squad poured it on the Tritons of UC San Diego to win by a fashionable 25 points. Junior forward Eric Wise had a stellar performance, finishing the night with 28 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals.
“I felt good [tonight],” Wise said. “My conditioning helped me this game, and I feel a lot better than last year running up and down the court.”
Senior guards Darren Moore and Patrick Rembert also scored in double figures, with 16 and 10 points respectively, as well as combining for half of the team’s 14 assists. Moore also led UC Irvine with five of the team’s 15 steals.
“I was pleased with the commitment our guys had to push the pace,” Turner said following the team’s first exhibition game. “We are going to be committed to being a fast-paced team. There may be nights when we look bad, but I am OK with that.”
Rembert was the floor general of Coach Turner’s up-tempo offense, dishing to his teammates on the wings for layups and managing to finish without a single turnover.
“I felt great out there,” Rembert acknowledged. “It felt good to get out of that half-court offense. [Coach Turner] has given me a lot more confidence to play my game, and told me to be a leader out on the court.”
Although UCI forced the Tritons to commit 32 turnovers during the game, Coach Turner’s squad was out-rebounded 44-31, a point of major concern for an Anteater team that struggled with boards last season.
The ’Eaters also shot an abysmal 26 percent, 5-19 from deep, only draining one 3-pointer in the first half. Sophomore Daman Starring went 0-4 from the field in his debut, finishing with two points and one assist in 19 minutes of play.
Freshman guard Chris McNealy was second on the team in rebounding (six), and junior center Adam Folker grabbed five boards.
“My biggest concern is rebounding,” Turner said. “I told our guys I was disappointed with our effort on the glass. If we don’t get rebounds from everybody, we won’t give ourselves a chance to win.”
UCI 76, Concordia 86
The ‘Eaters fell to the Concordia Eagles for the second year in a row, despite coming back from a 42-27 deficit at halftime with a more spirited second half.
Wise led UCI with a double-double (22 points and 11 rebounds), followed by Moore’s 15 point, five rebound effort. Irvine led early in the game 5-4, but was unable to sustain the Eagles’ 45 percent shooting night.
“Give Concordia credit,” Coach Turner said, following his team’s 10-point loss. “They were really good. I learned a lot from them watching them in preparation, [and in] playing them tonight.”
Turner switched up from man-defense to zone in the second half, an adjustment that slowed Concordia down, but it was too little, too late.
“It surprised me, because they shot the hell out of the ball,” said senior guard Darren Moore who made just two of 10 from the free-throw line. “It showed that we are a good zone team. We started off slow, myself included, and didn’t bring the energy that we needed to bring. It’s disappointing to lose a game like this.”
In both exhibition games, UCI has improved their shooting from the first half (34.5 percent) to the second half (50 percent). However, the ’Eaters only made 2-12 three-pointers in the game.