UC Irvine’s new run-and-gun offense fired an embarrassing blank in its debut Friday night. Lightly regarded Georgia State had little trouble with the Anteaters en route to a 109-84 victory in the first round of the Western Digital Freedom Bowl tournament.
Georgia State will play Maryland in the championship game at 8 tonight. Irvine faces Texas Christian in the consolation game at 6.
Georgia State, picked by several sports magazines to finish dead last in the Trans America Athletic Conference, continually streaked through the Anteaters’ retreating press for flying layups before the crowd of 2,400 in the Bren Center.
The biggest mismatch was Georgia State’s 5-foot 11-inch forward Leo Hunt versus anyone who tried to guard him. He finished with 19 points, making 8 of 8 from the field.
Lanard Copeland led Georgia State with 22.
Irvine shot just 36% from the floor contrasted with Georgia State’s 64%.
Forward Mike Labat led Irvine with 16 points.
Maryland didn’t do all that many things well, but the Terrapins were so effective from the free-throw line (making 27 of 29) and on the board (with a 30-11 edge) that they were able to defeat Texas Christian, 74-67, and advance to tonight’s championship game.