IRVINE — Senior Mike Wilder scored a game-high 17 points as the UC Irvine men's basketball team held off UC Riverside, 52-48, in a Big West Conference game at the Bren Events Center Wednesday night.
Wilder scored 11 of his points in the second half as the Anteaters held off a late charge by the Highlanders.
He hit four three-pointers in the game to give him 200 for his career, just one behind Jeff Herdman for the No. 3 spot in the UCI career record book.
Freshman point guard Alex Young added 10 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals for UCI (13-13, 7-6 in conference). The Anteaters are 9-1 at home this season, including 6-0 in conference games.
Seniors Daman Starring and Adam Folker scored eight and seven points, respectively for the Anteaters.
Chris Harriel led UCR (5-19, 2-10) with 11 points, while Chris Patton and Austin Quick added nine apiece.
UCI led 26-14 at halftime and a three from Wilder with 18:06 remaining in the game gave the Anteaters their largest lead of the night at 29-14.
UCR closed to six at 31-25 on a three by Harriel with 10:57 left, but UCI built its lead to 12 at 44-32 on a basket by Folker with 7:26 remaining.
The Highlanders whittled away at the deficit and pulled within one on two occasions, the last at 47-46 on two free throws by Harriel with 2:01 left.
Folker then scored inside off a Wilder feed at 1:38 and Starring hit a free throw with 21 seconds remaining to give UCI a 50-46 lead.
Taylor Johns scored on a drive with 13 seconds remaining before UCI sophomore Travis Souza hit a pair of free throws with 9.5 seconds left for the final margin.
Neither team had a good shooting night as UCI shot 30.95 from the field and UCR 29.85. The Highlanders, who outrebounded the Anteaters, 47-37, had 15 turnovers to UCI's 12.
"I would like us to be more consistent offensively for a longer period of time," UCI head coach Russell Turner said.
"I want to see our interior players be more assertive in the paint, even though Adam [Folker] made a couple of big buckets in the second half.
"Michael [Wilder] is going to deliver, there is no question in my mind about that as I have faith in him. He was big for us tonight, he's our leading defensive rebounder for the season and he does a lot for this team," Turner added.
UCI plays host to Cal State Fullerton Saturday night at 8 in a Big West game that will be televised on FOX Prime Ticket.