Long Ball Eludes Irvine in 72-66 Loss to Fresno St.

Times Staff Writer

With the game, once seemingly out of hand, suddenly close, UC Irvine Coach Bill Mulligan stalked the sideline Wednesday night, looking for a sharpshooting guard who could upset Fresno State with the wondrous weapon of modern basketball, the three-point shot.

But by the time he realized his best shooting guard was his center, 6-10 Johnny Rogers, it was too late.

Fresno State beat the Anteaters, 72-66, before a sellout crowd of 1,496 at UC Irvine's Crawford Hall.

It was the third straight Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. win for the Bulldogs, who are 8-4 overall. UCI fell to 1-2 and 6-8.

Fresno State took control of the game early and stayed there until late in the second half, when Irvine made its only run of the night.

Irvine cut the lead to 61-56 with 2:20 left on a basket by forward Tod Murphy. It was then that Mulligan started looking for the three-point shot, which is being used in the PCAA this season.

And, naturally, he turned to his guards for help.

That's the way it's supposed to be. But that's not the way it is at Irvine. Rogers, though he's the center, is team's best pure shooter-from any distance.

But sometimes Mulligan forgets.

He went to guard Rodney Scott (0-for-3), who took the long shot with 1:02 left that could have cut the lead to three.

But he missed, and Fresno turned it into an easy basket at the other end.

Senior Mitch Arnold led the Bulldogs with 22 points with forward Jos Kuipers adding 18 points. Rogers led Irvine with 21 points.

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