In the midst of a five game road trip, the UC Irvine men’s basketball team (5-7) lost their second consecutive match against Nevada Wednesday night by a score of 76-69 in Reno. Despite the loss, the freshman duo of guard Eyassu Worku and center Tommy Rutherford shined once again for the ‘Eaters as they fueled late runs to keep UCI alive down the stretch.
Worku registered a career-high 19 points (10 of those coming in the last five minutes in the contest) and shot 54 percent from the floor.
Rutherford notched a career-best 14 rebounds against Nevada and led the ‘Eaters to outrebounding Nevada 48-40, seeing extended time on the floor with sophomore forward Jonathan Galloway fouling out of the game.
Seniors Ioannis Dimakopoulos and Jaron Martin both contributed with double digit scoring, posting 14 and 10 respectively. Sophomore forward Brandon Smith sprinkled across the stat sheet with eight points, five rebounds, and a career high three assists.
The Wolfpack welcomed the ‘Eaters to the hostile confines of the Lawlor Events Center by converting on 13 of 25 of their three-point attempts while holding UCI to just five of 23 from deep. UCI did manage to shoot 42 percent from the floor (Nevada with 40 percent) but the three-point disparity was too much as the Wolfpack lead was a bit out of reach for the ‘Eaters to conquer.
For the Wolfpack, five different scorers tallied double digits with sophomore forward Cameron Oliver leading the way with 18 points. Senior guard Marcus Marshall followed Oliver and had 17 of his own.
Oliver and Marshall helped bolster a 59 percent three-point shooting percentage in the first half for the Wolfpack, scoring 15 and 12 points in the opening period respectively. Nevada went 10 for 17 from beyond the arc as a team in the frame but Dimakopoulos’ 10 points and Worku’s nine helped narrow the first half margin to 42-36.
A Dimakopoulos bucket three minutes into the second period would pull the ‘Eaters within three at 43-40 but a Nevada run would put the Wolfpack up double digits at the midway point of the half. Behind Worku’s late heroics, the ‘Eaters would find themselves down four with 39 seconds left in the contest but the Wolfpack won out the free throw game and improved to 9-2 on the season.
The ‘Eaters will use the weekend to rest as they are scheduled to face New Mexico State on Monday for their third consecutive game on the road.