The absence of senior guard Luke Nelson due to a hamstring injury proved to be no problem for the UC Irvine men’s basketball team (13-9, 6-0) as they closed out their two game road trip with a 105-73 mauling against CSUN Saturday night.
Nelson, who retweaked the same hamstring that sidelined him for the first half of the season in a recent game against Cal Poly, was held out of the second half, and has not played since. In his absence, freshman guard Max Hazzard was input into the starting lineup against the Matadors (7-12, 3-3) and dropped career-high 22 points. Senior center Ioannis Dimakopoulos posted 19 points (8-9 FG) and grabbed six rebounds — the third consecutive game in which he has scored in the double digits. To lead all scorers, senior guard Jaron Martin exploded with 26 points accompanied by seven assists and four rebounds to add to his tally.
Irvine outrebounded Northridge 54-31 with sophomore forward Jonathan Galloway grabbing 12 of his own. Freshman forward Tommy Rutherford had a busy night with six points and eight rebounds while freshman guard Eyassu Worku contributed eight points and six assists. The ‘Eaters outscored the Matadors 40-28 in points in the paint and accumulated a 53.6 percent outing from the floor. UCI led for the entirety of the contest, up 58-30 at halftime without letting the lead go under 20 for the entirety of the game.
UCI remains the top team in the Big West Conference with their undefeated start and currently are rolling on an eight game win streak. It is the ‘Eaters’ longest streak in 11 years.
The ‘Eaters will return to the Bren Events Center to host Cal Poly on Thursday (ESPN3) and then will hit the road for their next two games.