Men’s basketball loses two in a row at home against Hawaii, Northridge

Kevin Dinh/HIGHLANDER
Kevin Dinh/HIGHLANDER

Jan. 31, 2013
Rainbow Warriors 72 – Highlanders 68

The UC Riverside men’s basketball team hosted Hawai’i for a Big West showdown on Jan. 31, but UCR let their lead slip out of their hands as the Rainbow warriors prevailed on top 72-68.

On a special night with the Highlanders set to honor their program’s all-time leading scorer Larry Cunningham at halftime, it was only fitting that they were absolutely on fire offensively in the first half. It became almost automatic to see a Highlander find the bottom of the net from anywhere on the court thanks to the best ball movement they have shown all season. UCR shot a very efficient 53.6 percent, including 54.5 percent from beyond the arc in the first half.

After the break, the Highlanders extended their lead to 43-33 after an electrifying dunk by Chris Harriel that sent the Rec Center crowd into a frenzy. However, an 8-0 Hawaii run cut the lead to 43-41. The Highlanders snatched the momentum right out of the Rainbow Warriors’ hands by extending the lead. With 9:59 remaining, Austin Quick nailed a deep three from the right corner to give the Highlanders a 62-51 lead.

With the Highlanders primed to snap a two-game losing streak, it seemed as if a wooden board was placed on top of the bucket. Hawaii embarked on a furious rally in the final five minutes that resulted in a 67-67 tie with 3:32 to go. A minute later, Hawaii took their first lead of the night on a pair of free throws by Vander Joaquim. Later a layup by Isaac Fotu extended the lead to 71-67. The Highlanders would make zero out of five baskets, as well as commit two turnovers down that critical stretch as they fell apart at the end for a tough loss.

In a season of missed opportunities, tough losses and disappointments, Austin Quick’s words after the game couldn’t ring any truer. He said, “Winning’s hard.”

Feb. 2, 2013
Matadors 69 – Highlanders 53

After the morale-draining loss against Hawaii, the UC Riverside men’s basketball team came out flat against the Northridge Matadors, who they previously upset on the road just one month ago, losing 53-69.

Chris Harriel scored the game’s first six points with two three-pointers to help create an early 10-5 lead for the Highlanders. A lead that would last exactly two minutes and 15 seconds before Northridge’s Tre Hale-Edmerson nailed a jumper to give the Matadors a lead that they would never relinquish for the remaining 32 minutes of the match.

At halftime, the Matadors had built a 21-28 lead thanks in part to a sputtering Highlander offense that had been so potent in recent games. By the second half, it became obvious that Northridge was hell-bent on revenge for the excruciating defeat they suffered at the hands of the Highlanders on Jan. 3.

The Matadors extended their lead to as high as 18 points with 7:56 in the second half. The Highlanders could not rally back and Northridge would exact their sweet revenge by blowing out Riverside at home.

The Highlanders hope to end their three-game homestand with at least one win as they take on the Cal State Fullerton Titans Feb. 9. The game will be televised on FOX Prime Ticket.

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