A 13 point lead in the second half, a career night by senior guard Jaron Martin, and holding the No. 25 Cal Bears to just 36 percent shooting was just not enough for the UC Irvine men’s basketball team (1-2) in their mission to knock off their first ranked opponent since 2005.
Being outscored 13-3 in overtime, the ‘Eaters fell just short in the Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, as they lost by a score of 75-65 in front of a raucous crowd of 8,104 fans. Martin, who had just broke his career high in the victory against South Dakota State on Monday, set a new personal feat as he led the ‘Eaters with 26 points. Redshirt freshman guard Max Hazzard also chipped in with a career best 13 points. Senior center Ioannis Dimakopoulos earned eight points and three assists while sophomore forward Jonathan Galloway grabbed a team-best six rebounds and two blocks.
For the Bears (2-0), freshman guard Charlie Moore was the one with the historic night as his 38 points is the most points a freshman has ever scored in program history (breaking Shareef Abdur-Rahim’s previous record of 33 points in 1995) . Behind Moore’s performance and the Bears’ shooting at the free throw line (30 for 42), Cal was able to comeback against the ‘Eaters in the second half and force an overtime period that saw them win on their home floor.
After a back and forth game from the first tip, the ‘Eaters benefitted from a 7-0 run to earn a 24-17 lead early in the opening period of play. The Bears struggled to maintain possession of the ball and turned it over eight times in the first half, which turned into 12 points in favor of the ‘Eaters. Holding Cal to just 26 percent from the floor and without converting a field goal for nearly eight minutes, the ‘Eaters grabbed a 31-23 advantage heading into the second half of play.
Martin and Moore dueled in the second period with both scoring 19 and 27 of their points in the second half respectively. After several attempts of clawing at the ‘Eater lead, the Bears were able to tie the game at 62-62 leaving UCI with a chance to win the game in the final possession of regulation. Martin was given the ball with 23 seconds left but failed to produce a shot and the game ultimately went into overtime.
Cal dominated in overtime by holding the ‘Eaters without a field goal in the period and denied UCI their first win over them since 2000.
The ‘Eaters will host their last home game in the month of November as they host former Big West rival Pacific for a Saturday matchup at 7 in the Bren Events Center.