UCI Anteaters defeat UCR Highlanders, 52-48

February 14, 2013

UCI v. UCR (2013) / Tri Le TheDailySportsHerald.com

Irvine, Calif. -- In a defensive battle featuring two teams struggling to gain momentum in the Big West Conference, the UC Irvine Anteaters came out on top, beating the UC Riverside Highlanders, 52-48, at the Bren Center Wednesday night. Michael Wilder led UCI with 17 points on 6 for 15 shooting.

UCI went into the game looking to reach the .500 mark overall and win its seventh game in conference play. The Anteaters also had revenge on their minds, as they lost the last time these two teams met when UCR walked away with one of its five wins this season.

UCI v. UCR (2013) / Photo by Tri Le

UCI quickly took an early lead thanks to a pressing half court defense that focused on UCR's leading scorer, forward Chris Patton.

Patton was coming off a career 36-point game against Cal State Fullerton, but the Anteaters were prepared for him. By double-teaming Patton aggressively, UCI limited him to 9 points on 3 for 9 shooting and controlled the lead for the entire game. They also forced Patton to commit 5 turnovers.

UCI v. UCR (2013) / Tri Le The Daily Sports Herald

Guard Daman Starring, the Anteaters leading scorer this season, did not have an outstanding game either. Scoring only 8 points on 2 for 8 shooting, Starring struggled most of the night with the Highlander's zone defense. In fact, UCI collectively struggled on offense, shooting only 30.9% for the game.

With Starring more or less neutralized, UCI's Michael Wilder stepped up with 5 boards and a game-high 17 points, including 4 treys.
UCI v. UCR (2013) / Photo by Tri Le

Although UCR shot less than 30% from the field, they did not let their poor shooting night stop them from making a late run. With a couple of threes and some fast break opportunities, the Highlanders pulled within 1 point with two minutes left in the game.

Although UCI had several defensive breakdowns in the last minute, the Highlanders (5-14) simply did not have enough time to rally for their second straight win against the Anteaters.

After squeaking by with a marginal four-point win, the Anteaters (13-13) will now try to maintain their momentum going into Saturday night, where they face a tough Cal State Fullerton Titan (12-11) team at home. The game will be televised on Fox Prime Ticket.

By Don Luong
Contributing Writer for The Daily Sports Herald

Photographs by Tri Le
Photography Editor for The Daily Sports Herald

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