Doktorczyk Is Flawless, UC Irvine Wins, 90-88
UC Irvine center Mike Doktorczyk didn’t miss a shot Saturday night. He made 12 of 12 field-goal attempts, including 4 of 4 from 3-point range, and scored a career-high 28 points.
And it was a good thing for the Anteaters, because if Doktorczyk hadn’t been perfect, Irvine easily might have lost to the University of the Pacific. As it was, the Anteaters escaped with a 90-88 Big West Conference victory before 2,287 fans at the Bren Center.
Irvine recorded its biggest win of the year Dec. 28 when it upset UCLA, 91-90. And the Anteaters (6-9) can indirectly credit the Bruins with Saturday’s victory, which evened their Big West record at 3-3.
You see, Doktorczyk spent the afternoon watching the Stanford-UCLA game and decided that if freshman Don MacLean can play free and easy, then he could, too.
“I was watching him, and he never hesitates,” said Doktorczyk, a 6-foot 9-inch senior. “He also takes those (short-range) jumpers instead of always driving to the hole like I usually do.”
Doktorczyk, who also tied his career high with 14 rebounds, had 21 points at halftime. His 9-for-9 shooting helped the Anteaters compile a 74% shooting statistic in the half and a 51-39 lead at intermission. Irvine led by as many 16 in the half.
But Pacific (5-10, 1-6) didn’t wilt. The Tigers came back strong, and they did it with defense. Their first-year coach, Bob Thomason, unleashed a full-court press that clearly bothered the Anteaters. He also assigned forward Ron Tabron to guard Doktorczyk, who didn’t score in the last 16 minutes of the game.
Meanwhile, Pacific center Don Lyttle, who scored just 4 points in the first half, found the range--he made 7 consecutive shots during one stretch--and finished with a team-high 23 points.
Pacific outscored Irvine, 12-3, in a 3 1/2-minute span midway through the second half and took its only lead, 74-73, with 6:25 remaining on a 5-foot bank shot by Lyttle.
The press, which helped Pacific get back in the game, also might have cost it the game, however.
With 33 seconds left, Doktorczyk fired a 70-foot bomb to a wide-open Kevin Floyd. Floyd charged the basket and then--much to Coach Bill Mulligan’s delight--decided against a flashy dunk and dropped the ball in the hoop for an 87-83 lead.
Pacific responded with a quick layup, but Doktorczyk went into his Dan Marino imitation again, this time hooking up with a sprinting Mike Labat. Tabron almost blocked this layup, but he was called for goaltending and fouled out in the process with 22 seconds left.
Labat missed the free throw, then Pacific’s Dell Demps missed a 3-pointer. Floyd made 1 of 2 free throws with 5 seconds left and then Pacific’s Sean Lasher made a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
“The press got us back into the game and it also got us out of the game,” said Thomason, whose team lost in overtime at UC Santa Barbara Thursday night. “We just plain missed assignments. Every time we have one of these close games on the road, we show our inexperience.
“We made an All-American out of Doktorczyk in the first half.”