Feb. 9, 2012
Mustangs 54 – Highlanders 52

The UCR men’s basketball team faced off against Cal Poly last Thursday night, looking to improve in the Big West standings. Riverside was unable to beat its conference opponent as the team lost 52-54 and now stands at 5-6 in Big West play for an 11-13 overall record.

Riverside got help from two teammates, Kevin Bradshaw and Phil Martin, who lead their team in a grind-out game. Both scored six points in the first half while Bradshaw had two steals and grabbed three boards. Riverside broke out to a 6-2 lead then eventually led 10-5 after eight minutes of play. Cal Poly went on a 6-2 run, cutting the Highlanders’ lead to 12-11 with 10:17 of play left. UCR gave up the lead four minutes later and Cal had a run, pulling ahead 19-16. Riverside retook the lead, 20-19, with 1:27 left but would not finish strong as UCR had a 20-21 deficit at the half.

Martin took over the second half for Riverside, scoring 16 on 5-11 shooting, shooting 5-5 from the free-throw line and only making one of four from behind the arc. Cal Poly started off the gates with a strong 15-6 run, putting UCR down 35-26 with 13:51 left of play. Coach Jim Wooldridge would call two quick timeouts with the deficit at 28-37. Riverside let Cal Poly increase the lead 42-28 but the Highlanders went on a 7-0 run and came within seven points.

UCR drove the deficit closer and closer but Cal Poly scored after UCR scored. Cal Poly’s Jamal Johnson was at the stripe for a 1-1 free throw opportunity and missed the first shot. Bradshaw grabbed the defensive rebound and dished it to Martin for the last shot. Martin drove down the court and with time winding down, shot a three but missed and the time expired.

Feb. 11, 2012
Gauchos 60 – Highlanders 52

The Riverside men’s basketball team looked to beat UC Santa Barbara for the second time this year. However, UCSB battled back from an 11-point deficit to beat the Highlanders. The Highlanders now have dropped two straight Big West conference games. The Highlanders were without Kevin Bradshaw, David Chavarria and eventually lost BJ Shearry to fall 52-60, now 5-7 in Big West play and 11-14 overall.

The Highlanders’ defense, which is usually their trademark, forced the Gauchos to miss 22 of their 29 shots in the first half including all nine from behind the arc. UCR scored the first 10 points and went on a drought as the Gauchos were able to tie at the 7:47 mark. They traded baskets the next few minutes and the Highlanders went on an 11-1 run to go up 26-16 with three minutes left. UCSB had its own run but the Highlanders countered back to score the final four points for a 30-23 lead at the half.

The second half was an issue for the Highlanders as the Gauchos stayed in the game by getting to the free-throw line, making nine of 15 from the charity stripe compared to five of eight for UCR in the first 20 minutes of action. The Gauchos finished the game 17 for 28 from the charity stripe while the Highlanders were just nine of 14. UCR was up 34-23 at one point but UCSB scored seven consecutive points to cut the UCR lead to four.

James Nunnally for UCSB drained a three to put the Gauchos up by two, 42-40. Berry for the Highlanders tied a game with a jumper but Orlando Johnson scored four consecutive points to give his team the lead. Phil Martin ended the drought with a driving lay-up to cut the lead to four, 44-48, with 3:45 to go. Martin went on tear to cut their deficit to three with 1:37 left on the clock. However, the Gauchos ended up scoring eight of the final 11 points to seal the victory.

UCR plays at the Student Recreation Center this upcoming Wednesday against Cal State Fullerton. They look to improve their record as they are fading away in the conference.