Following a loss to No. 20 Arizona earlier in the week, the UC Irvine men’s basketball (5-5) team were able to once again find themselves at .500 after defeating Pomona-Pitzer 80-53 at the Bren Events Center on Friday.
A trio of ‘Eaters led the team in scoring with senior guard Jaron Martin, freshman guard Eyassu Worku, and freshman forward Tommy Rutherford all chipping in with 12 points apiece. Martin was four of five in three point attempts in the matchup – a total that places him just one shot shy from being 14th in program history in three-pointers behind Alex Young’s tally of 130. Senior center Ioannis Dimakopoulos notched eight points on the night and redshirt freshman guard Max Hazzard added seven points against the Sagehens. Every ‘Eater who saw action got on the box score and contributed to the well balanced offense on display Friday night.
For the Sagehens (2-4), freshman guard Micah Elan paced the offense with 13 points while sophomore guard Daniel Rosenbaum registered 10 of his own.
Irvine would once again win the battle of the boards, (41-31) and dominate the paint offensively by outscoring the Sagehens 34-12 from shots near the hoop. The ‘Eaters’ bench players came alive in the contest and bested the Sagehens’ second unit by racking up 42 points to their 15. UCI shot 49 percent in the game while holding the Sagehens to just a 34 percent shooting average. Head coach Russell Turner’s squad would get the victory they expected against a Division III opponent and lead for the entirety of the game.
Martin scored all of his 12 points in the first half and helped bolster a 46 percent shooting average from deep for the ‘Eaters. The ‘Eaters cruised to a 37-22 lead after the first half and their intensity would transfer into the second half to secure their fifth win of the season. UCI improves to winning 62 of their last 65 games when holding their opponents to 60 points or less.
Preseason all-conference player senior guard Luke Nelson is still out attending to his hamstring injury suffered before the start of the season and is hopeful to be available for Big West conference play.
The ‘Eaters’ home stand will be short lived as they set their trails for another five game road trip and are scheduled to play No.11/12 Saint Mary’s on Sunday at the McKeon Pavilion.