January 26, 2012
49ers 77 – Highlanders 70
The UC Riverside men’s basketball team hosted Long Beach State last Thursday at the Student Recreation Center with 1,298 fans in attendance. It turned out to be a very competitive match by both teams and a real nail-biter. At fifth place, UCR gave the first-place 49ers a run for their money, but the Highlanders lost 77-70 in overtime.
The first half saw eight lead changes as Phil Martin led all scorers with 13 points. Martin shot 5-9 as James Ennis led the 49ers with eight. With four minutes left of play, UCR was up, 26-24, when a jumper by Eugene Phelps cut the Highlanders’ lead to two.

The Highlanders turned the ball over in the next few possessions and missed a three-pointer which led to the 49ers hitting a three to cut the score to 26-27. With a few seconds left in the first half, Elliott Berry for UCR missed a jumper, but David Chavarria rebounded and put it back up, giving the Highlanders a 28-27 halftime lead.

The second half had nine tied scores and seven lead changes as the two teams picked up their competitiveness. Martin led all scorers with 13 points on 5-8 shooting on the floor. UCR allowed the 49ers to shoot 21 free throws. A jumper by Robert Smith at the 8:18 mark gave the Highlanders their biggest lead at 53-45. However, Long Beach went on an 8-0 run to tie the game at 53-53 with five minutes left in the game.

T.J. Robinson was fouled by UCR and made the bucket and the extra point, giving the 49ers a 61-60 lead. Nitoto got a bucket in the paint to put UCR up one, 62-61. But Long Beach was bailed out with a tip-in by Larry Anderson, leaving UCR with the final possession. Chavarria was fouled and sent to the line with 2.1 second left. He made only one of the two to tie the game and sent it into overtime, with the score tied at 63-63.

“He went up with a lot of confidence,” Coach Wooldridge said when asked about the missed free-throw by Chavarria, “Sometimes it doesn’t go in.”

Overtime was won by Long beach as they outscored the Highlanders 14-7. Phil Martin finished the game with a little under a third of the Highlanders’ points, scoring 31 and grabbing seven rebounds as he tapped in 44 minutes of play.

January 28, 2012
Anteaters 65 – Highlanders 57

The UC Riverside men’s basketball team traveled to UC Irvine in a Big West showdown this past Saturday. The Highlanders’s record dropped to 10-11 overall and 4-4 in the Big West as they lost to the Anteaters 65-57. Kevin Bradshaw and Phil Martin combined for 34 points, but it was insufficient as the Highlanders dropped another one to a Big West opponent.

In the first half, the Highlanders led by as many as seven early on, but the Anteaters went on a 16-5 run. This gave the Anteaters a five-point cushion with 6:34 to go in the half. Irvine increased the lead to seven, 29-22, with 3:22 on the clock. UCR then went on a scoring spree. They scored seven of the final 10 points of the half, making it a 32-29 game at the half.

Martin led all scorers with 11 points at the half on 4-5 shooting from the field. Michael Wilder led the Anteaters with 10 points as UC Irvine shot 12 of 25 and made four of eight from long range.

The Highlanders were able to erase a seven point lead by UCI, leading 51-47 with 8:02 left in the game. However, the Anteaters went on a tear, going to the free-throw line and scoring 12 of their final 18 points. The teams traded bucket after bucket when Martin’s jumper put UCR back up, 55-53, with 2:33 remaining in the game.

That would be the last lead the Highlanders had as the Anteaters went on a 12-2 run. UCR’s Bradshaw was very energetic, scoring nine of his 15 points after the first half. Bradshaw finished the game with eight rebounds, trying to help the team climb back into it, but UCI was the better team of the night. UCI won the game with a score of 65-57

Riverside returns for two home games starting with Thursday’s game at 8 p.m. at the UCR Recreation Center against Pacific. They look to build their record for a shot at the Big West Championship.