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Junior center Mamadou Ndiaye recorded 17 points, five rebounds, and two blocks against Cal State Fullerton.
Junior center Mamadou Ndiaye recorded 17 points, five rebounds, and two blocks against Cal State Fullerton.

Basketball

Before the anticipated rematch against Hawai’i on Saturday, the UC Irvine men’s basketball team faced Cal State Fullerton on the road where the ‘Eaters used a second half surge to earn the 96-77 victory at Titan Gym.

Junior guard Jaron Martin tied his career best of converting six three point shots, totaling to a team high of 18 points. Junior guard Luke Nelson also chimed in with a double-double of his own, recording 12 points and 10 assists. It was a defensive effort in the second half, keeping the Titans scoreless for a total of five minutes in the period, that fueled a 28-6 run to take a commanding lead and improve to a 20-7 overall and 9-2 record in Big West play. The ‘Eaters shot an impressive 76 percent from the field and 81 percent for three-point attempts in the second half.

The victory marks the ‘Eaters’ fourth straight season with at least 20 wins, making them the first Big West Conference team to accomplish the feat since Utah State (1999-2005). UCI remains in second place of the conference behind Hawai’i and in front of Long Beach State.

Saturday night’s rematch against the Rainbow Warriors will have an 8:30 tipoff and will be broadcasted on ESPNU.   

Volleyball

UCI Irvine men’s volleyball team could not contain No. 13 Cal State Northridge, as the Anteaters fell to the Matadors 3-1 (25-22, 25-20, 23-25, 25-21) at the Matadome Wednesday night.

The No. 11 Anteaters drop to 4-9 overall, and 3-8 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, while the Matadors improve to 9-5, 4-5 MPSF.

Cal State Northridge held the advantage in hitting (.278-.221), digs (30-24), and aces (6-5), but were out-blocked by the Anteaters (11.0-7.0).

Senior outside hitter Kyle Russell led the Anteaters with a team-high 19 kills while chipping in five block assists, five digs, and three aces. Junior opposite Thomas Hodges had eight kills and three total blocks, while senior middle blocker Marty Ross had a match-high eight total blocks.

The Matadors had three players tally double-digits kills: junior outside hitter Jaku Ciesla (25), sophomore middle blocker Josiah Byers (13) and freshman outside hitter Dimitar Kalchev (10).

In the first two sets, the Matadors took the lead in the latter stages of the game and never trailed for the rest of the set. Junior Michael Saeta made his return in the third set where the setter forced the match to a fourth after a backhanded dunk on game-point for the Anteaters. UCI led 16-13 in the fourth, but only scored five more points before conceding the match.

UCI will return to action tomorrow when the Anteaters travel to the Walter Pyramid to face off against No. 1 Long Beach State.

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