Men’s basketball upsets second-ranked UC Irvine

Steven Jones (#10, Guard, Junior) as he looks for an opening to take a shot.
Matt Hong/HIGHLANDER

Feb. 12, 2015

Rainbow Warriors 73 – Highlanders 52

Thursday night’s showdown against one of the best teams in the Big West was forgettable for the UC Riverside men’s basketball team. The Highlanders shot 27 percent from the field in a 73-52 defeat to the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.

UC Riverside scored on three of the first four possessions of the contest to lead 8-4 with under two minutes expired. Then UCR lost the script as the Rainbow Warriors scored 21 straight points while the Highlanders missed their next 13 shots. Steven Thorton knocked down a three-pointer with 3:23 left to end the drought but Hawaii had already established a double-digit lead they would never relinquish.

The lead swelled to as many as 21 points in the second half as the Rainbow Warriors won 73-52 at the final buzzer.

Jaylen Bland led UCR with 13 points while Taylor Johns chipped in 10. The Hawaii reserves outscored the Highlanders 43-15 in bench production.

 

Feb. 14, 2015

Highlanders 70 – Anteaters 63

 

Reserve Austin Quick dunked a one-handed slam as the final buzzer rang in the Student Recreation Center Arena on Saturday night. The energetic Quick yelled to the crowd, and the engaged and standing audience all rejoiced as the scoreboard projected a 70-63 win in favor of the Highlanders.

Taylor Johns and Jaylen Bland each scored 21 points as UC Riverside downed the UC Irvine Anteaters, who are ranked second in the Big West standings.

 The Anteaters lead by 10 points in the first half as the Riverside defense saw a steady diet of post-ups by the UC Irvine big men. UCR Head Coach Dennis Cutts made adjustments, however, as pressure defense on the Anteaters produced several scoring opportunities for the Highlanders.

Though UC Irvine led at halftime, 34-32, Highlander momentum was already brewing inside the SRC Arena. The Anteaters scored the first possession of the second half, but UCR used an electric 11-0 run to recapture the lead, 43-37.

Riverside continued to orchestrate a brilliant strategic performance as the Anteaters, who were dominating inside the paint during the first half, relied solely on backup point guard Jaron Martin’s 13 second-half points for offensive production.

The Anteaters closed to within four points on several occasions but the Highlanders held on to give UC Irvine its first road loss of the season.

UC Riverside outscored the Anteaters 32-18 in the paint while attempting 27 free throws compared to UC Irvine’s 16.

UCR has five more conference games remaining in the regular season, starting with a Thursday home game against the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos on Feb. 19.

 

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