January 17th, 2013
49ers 91 – Highlanders 82
Just as they have done for the vast majority of the season, the UC Riverside men’s basketball team broke the hearts of the crowd in the SRC Arena with an 91-82 overtime loss against the Long Beach State 49ers.
Throughout both halves, neither team was able to pull away as the largest lead in regulation was six points, which was held by Riverside early in the first half.
With 1:18 left in the second half, down six, desperation mode kicked into full gear for the Highlanders. They capitalized off of a missed free throw and a late turnover by 49er James Ennis to cut the lead by one point, 72-73. On the 49ers’ subsequent possession, the Highlanders fouled Ennis to give themselves one last shot.
With Ennis making both of his free throws, the score was 72-75 with 14 seconds to go. As the sense of urgency elevated for the Highlanders, so did the shooting of Chris Harriel, who drained a game-tying three-point shot with nine seconds remaining. The 49ers were unable to score on their ensuing possession, sending the game into overtime.
Seeming to have all the momentum in the game from Harriel’s electrifyingly clutch shot, the Highlanders came out egregiously flat in overtime. Shot after shot, Long Beach State absolutely dissected the Highlander defense for 10 straight points on their way to a 91-82 victory.
With the loss, the Highlanders continue to struggle as they have fallen to a 4-13 overall record and a 2-4 Big West record.
January 19th, 2013
Highlanders 68 – Anteaters 58
The Highlanders bounced back from a tough overtime loss against Long Beach State by beating the UC Irvine Anteaters 68-58.
The Highlanders asserted their dominance from tipoff, opening a 9-2 lead in the first five minutes of the match. Shutdown defense from the Highlanders was the X-factor in the matchup. In the first half, the Anteaters were held to 18 points on a meager 20 percent shooting as the Highlanders tiled up 29 points.
Things got interesting in the second half as the Anteaters were able to open the second period with a 13-4 run that brought them within two points of the Highlanders at 33-31. However, the Highlanders showed resilience and responded by going on a run that was led by Taylor Johns.
Though the Anteaters would cut the Highlander’s lead to five point on two occasions, they were unable to gather enough strength to pull off the comeback and Riverside secured a much-needed home win.
UC Irvine’s Daman Starring led the game in scoring with 22 points, 20 of them generated in the second half. Trailing not far behind was Highlander Chris Patton with 21 points. Josh Fox for Riverside was also a standout performer with a 10 point/10 rebound double-double on six of nine shooting.
The Highlanders travel to Stockton Jan. 24 for a Thursday night tilt against the Pacific Tigers at 7 p.m.