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Men's Basketball

No. 3 Cal State Fullerton, No. 5 UC Irvine Advance To The Semifinals Of The Big West Men's Basketball Tournament

Files associated with this release:
Cal State Fullerton-UC Riverside Box Score.pdf
Cal State Fullerton-UC Riverside Quotes.pdf
UC Irvine-Pacific Box Score.pdf
UC Irvine-Pacific Quotes.pdf

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Postgame Interviews


No. 3 Cal State Fullerton Advances To The Semifinals Of The Big West Tournament With An 81-69 Win Over No. 7 UC Riverside

No. 3 Cal State Fullerton defeated No. 7 UC Riverside, 81-69, Thursday night in the quarterfinal round of the Big West Tournament at the Anaheim Convention Center. Josh Akognon led Cal State Fullerton with 20 points while Frank Robinson posted 19 points. With the win, the Titans (22-8) advances to a semifinal match-up with No. 2 Cal State Northridge on Friday night. For the second consecutive game, Larry Cunningham scored a game-high 23 points, all coming in the second half, to lead UC Riverside.

A quick start put the Titans ahead to stay in the contest as Cal State Fullerton opened the game on an 11-2 run over the first four minutes to push out to a double-digit lead. Continuing to put the pressure on the Highlanders on the offensive end, the Titans pushed ahead of UC Riverside 18-8 over the first nine minutes of the contest to capture a 14 point lead.

Even as UC Riverside began to hit from the field, the Titans had an answer, trading shots with the No. 7 seed the rest of the half to keep the lead at 14 points through the first half to enter the break up 35-21. Cal State Fullerton saw an array of players put their names in the scorebook in the opening half, led by Robinson who scored nine of his 19 points in the first 20 minutes of play. The Highlanders were held to just 36.0% shooting in the first half, hitting 9-of-25 shots.

Out of the gates in the second half, both teams continued to trade baskets with the Titans answering the Highlanders point for point. However, three consecutive three-pointers from Akognon and Robinson put the Titans ahead by 17 points, 48-31, with 16:21 to play in the game.

After a UC Riverside timeout, the Highlanders used a 10-2 run to cut the Titan’s lead to single digits at 50-41 with 14:23 to play, breaking the 10 point barrier for the first time since the first media timeout in the opening half. Cunningham led the charge for the Highlanders with eight points in the run.

Despite the Highlanders climbing within nine points, the Titans used a small 6-1 over the next minute of play to push their lead back up to 14 points. UC Riverside would climb as close as eight points with :48 seconds to play in the contest, but Cal State Fullerton would close out the Highlanders from the free-throw line to post the 12 point victory.

UC Riverside held a 39-23 rebounding advantage in the contest, but committed 18 turnovers Cal State Fullerton’s nine. The Titan’s finished the contest 29-of-56 (51.8%) from the floor while the Highlanders finished 27-of-58 (46.6%).

No. 5 UC Irvine Survives A Late Surge By No. 4 Pacific To Move On To The Semifinals Of The Big West Tournament

Click here to see how UC Irvine's Patrick Sanders extended the Anteaters' season and sent Pacific packing.

No. 5 UC Irvine defeated No. 4 Pacific, 57-56, Thursday night in the quarterfinal round of the Big West Tournament at the Anaheim Convention Center.  With the win, the Anteaters (17-15) advance to a semifinal match-up with No. 1 UC Santa Barbara on Friday night.  Michael Hunter led UC Irvine with 17 points in the contest while Darren Fells added 11.  For Pacific, Anthony Brown posted 12 points and nine rebounds while Chad Troyer added 10.

After a slow start by both teams through the first media timeout, the Anteaters stormed out front of the Tigers behind a 16-6 run to capture their first double-digit lead of the game, 22-10 with 11 minutes to play.  During the five minute run, the Anteaters were paced by Hunter who posted 14 of the team’s first 22 points on his way to the game high.

With UC Irvine out front, Pacific responded with an 11-4 run of its own over the next five minutes, cutting into the Anteaters lead to bring the game back within single digits.  The Tigers were able to climb within five points at 26-21 on five consecutive points by Brown, including a three-pointer.  Brown finished the half with nine points.  From that point, the team’s traded baskets as UC Irvine went into the break holding on to its five point advantage at 30-25.

The team’s continued to trade shots out of the locker rooms with neither team taking control of the half through the first media timeout.  However, a 10-2 run after the timeout broke open the contest as UC Irvine recaptured its double-digit advantage at 44-31 with 11:20 to play in the game.  The Anteaters would push their lead to its largest of 14 points at 47-33 with 8:29 to play before the Tigers would stop the UC Irvine run.

Down big, Pacific began to chip away at the Anteaters lead, spurred on by six straight points from Troyer including three free-throws with 6:38 to play.  The free-throws cut the Anteaters lead down to eight, dropping their advantage below 10 points for the first time since the 13:44 mark of the second half.

Behind a 15-8 run by the Tigers, Pacific cut UC Irvine’s lead to a single point with 16.7 second remaining in the game.  After a steal by the Tigers gave Pacific 5.9 seconds to capture the come-from-behind victory, Patrick Sanders saved the Anteaters’ season with a block of Pacific’s Michael Kirby’s layup put-back attempt as time expired.  Sanders finished the game with three blocks, with two of them coming in the final 1:08 of the contest.

UC Irvine finished the game 17-of-43 (39.5%) from the floor while Pacific went 18-of-50 (36.0%) from the field.  On the glass, the Anteaters held the advantage, 35-31.