The UC Riverside men’s basketball team played in their first exhibition of the season against Life Pacific University (LPU) on Friday, Nov. 1. The Highlanders crushed LPU in their first game against Division I competition of the preseason, winning in a landslide, 73-45.
Riverside was dominant throughout, and only allowed the lead to change hands twice. UCR entered the break with an 11-point lead, 37-26, before expanding on it in the second half. The Highlanders were even more impressive in the second half of the game, outscoring the Warriors 36-19 en route to a 28-point win.
UCR put forth a striking defensive effort, holding LPU to an anemic 29% shooting from the field and 27% from three. The Highlanders also did an admirable job of defending without fouling, only allowing four free throws in all 40 minutes of play. The only Warrior who broke double-figures was senior guard Angelo Sandoval, who finished the game with 10 points, one assist and one rebound.
Despite scoring 37 points in the first half, the Highlanders were mediocre in the first half offensively, shooting 43% from the field and only 31% from three. However, Riverside did improve their shooting percentages across the board in the second half, shooting 50% from the field and 36% from beyond the arc. UCR ended the night shooting 46% from the field and 33% from three.
As a team, UCR had a commanding showing on the glass. The Highlanders outrebounded the Warriors 45-29. This led to Riverside outscoring LPU 12-2 on second chance points, and although it wasn’t the determining factor, the way UCR dominated the glass is impressive nonetheless.
The Highlanders were more aggressive and significantly better than the Warriors in the paint, outscoring LPU 34-14 inside. Riverside’s bench also provided a spark, doubling the production of the opposition’s bench, 28-14.
Sophomore center Callum McCrae posted the most outstanding statline of the game, totaling a game-high 15 points and nine rebounds on 60% shooting. The only other Highlander to score in double digits was George Wilborn III, who finished the game with 11 points and four rebounds on 50% shooting. Senior guard Dikymbe Martin, who has been a starter for the majority of his three years with the program, did not play in the exhibition for unknown reasons.
The Highlanders’ next preseason game will be at the University of Nebraska on Tuesday, Nov. 5.