Irvine Offense Overpowers Titans
IRVINE, Calif. – UC Irvine remained undefeated in Big West Conference play, defending the Bren Events Center with a 72-54 victory over Cal State Fullerton on Thursday night.
The Anteaters (12-7, 3-0 Big West) were led by Chris McNealy's 22 points, while Will Davis II poured in 11 points to go with eight rebounds. In addition, 7-foot-6 Mamadou Ndiaye added 10 points and nine rebounds. Alex Young guided the UCI offense with nine assists.
Cal State Fullerton (6-10, 1-1 Big West) was led by Michael Williams' 18-point, six-rebound performance, as the senior recorded his 16th consecutive game scoring in double figures.
Alex Harris added 12 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the charity stripe for Fullerton.
UC Irvine shot 50.0 percent (24-of-48) from the floor, while Fullerton struggled at a clip of .360 (18-of-50) for the game.
In addition, the Anteaters held advantages in rebounds (43-26), points in the paint (38-18), free throws (20-15) and assists (18-9).
At the half, UC Irvine had a substantial 37-21 lead, holding a dominant 22-4 advantage in the paint.
McNealy led the Anteaters with 12 points in the first 20 minutes as UCI shot 56.5 percent (13-of-23) from the floor compared to Fullerton's .280 clip (7-of-25).
With 10:30 remaining in the first, Cal State Fullerton led the Anteaters 15-13, but that quickly changed as UC Irvine executed a 22-4 run that culminated with Irvine grasping hold of 35-19 advantage with 1:57 to play.
The stretch included a dunk and three-pointer from McNealy.
The Anteaters held a 23-11 rebounding advantage in the first period, and Fullerton missed all of its nine three-point attempts.
Cal State Fullerton remains on the road and travels to UC Davis on Saturday with the game time scheduled for 7 p.m.
The Titans return to Titan Gym on Thursday, Jan. 23, hosting Cal Poly. The game will tip-off at 7 p.m., and will be broadcast on ESPN3.
Notes: Fullerton did not hit its first three-pointer until Alex Harris bucket from long distance at the 15:47 mark of the second half…with 18 points, Michael Williams has now scored in double figures for 16 straight games…Fullerton has now lost four straight to UC Irvine…Fullerton's 54-point total was its lowest mark against UCI since suffering a 72-52 loss at Irvine on Feb. 8, 2003.