November 9, 2012
Blue Demons 91 – Highlanders 59

Coming off an encouraging 83-72 exhibition victory against the San Diego Christian Hawks, the UC Riverside men’s basketball team traveled 2,000 miles east to the windy city of Chicago for their regular season opener against the DePaul Blue Demons.

Blue Demon forward Donovan Kirk would get things rolling for DePaul as he buried a three-point jumper with just 15 seconds gone. The Highlanders were able to keep pace and go up 9-7, which would be their first and last lead of the night. Midway through the first half, the Blue Demons embarked on a 9-0 run that allowed them to take a 39-28 lead into halftime.

Things would only continue to get worse for the Highlanders. With 15:58 left to play, the Blue Demons went on a furious 12-0 run that increased their lead to 24 points with 12:12 to go. A miracle was not in the books for the Highlanders as they were never able to recover. The DePaul Blue Devils were a juggernaut that could not be stopped and emerged victorious in a 32-point blowout, 91-59.

The Highlanders can attribute some of the loss to their poor perimeter defense and free-throw shooting, allowing the Blue Devils to convert on 52.4 percent of their shots behind the arc while putting up a lackluster 50 percent effort from the line. Josh Fox led the Highlanders in scoring with 17 points. Brandon Young led the Blue Devils with 20 points.

November 11, 2012
Flames 59 – Highlanders 52

After being routed on the road against DePaul, the UC Riverside men’s basketball team headed to the University of Illinois – Chicago in hopes of salvaging a win on their road trip to the Windy City.

Highlander forward Chris Patton scored the first points of the match when he converted a jumper on UCR’s first possession, giving the Highlanders their only lead of the afternoon. The Flames would then not just answer, but demoralize the Highlanders as an offensive explosion early in the first half allowed the Flames to soar to a 14-2 lead.

Much of the first half saw the Highlanders attempt to claw their way back into the game, cutting the Flames’ lead to as little as three points with 4:09 to go in the first half, but good shooting behind the arc (6-12) allowed UIC to take a 30-25 lead going into the locker room.

Chris Harriel’s layup was the only score preventing the Flames from opening the second half with another double digit run, as UIC scored 10 of the first 12 points of the half to take a commanding 42-29 lead. The Highlanders kept fighting, cutting the margin to 48-44 with 6:47 to go, but the Flames would hold on for the win, 59-52.

Josh Fox and Chris Patton led UCR in scoring with 10 points each.

The Highlanders will return to Riverside in search of better fortune as they prepare for their home opener on Wednesday night against the Fresno State Bulldogs.