They had heard all about UC Irvine and its full-court press, fast-break offense and penchant for three-point shots. They remembered last year’s 13-point loss, embarrassing because Irvine proceeded to go on a school-record 15-game losing streak immediately afterward.
What the San Diego State Aztecs weren’t sure about was how their inexperienced guards would react to it all, and whether their injury and flu-stricken team would be able to keep up with the pace.
But Irvine was the team that needed to worry. The Aztecs led by 15 for much of the second half and eased to an 87-73 victory in front of 1,384 in Peterson Gym.
It was the first victory over a Division I team this season for San Diego State (3-3), which has seen seven players miss practice time since the season started because of various injuries or flu. But the Aztecs didn’t have much of a problem.
Marty Dow, San Diego’s 7-foot-1 center, led the way with 23 points and 14 rebounds. Arthur Massey had 19 points, nine assists and six steals.
Jeff Herdman led Irvine (3-5) with 16 points.
With Dow clogging the middle, Irvine’s Ricky Butler managed only 14 points--five below his average--and six rebounds--two below his average.
San Diego State shot 52.9% from the field. Irvine shot 47%.
The Aztecs led, 50-39, at the half, but Irvine cut that to 56-53 with 15:26 remaining. James Lewis entered the game at that point, and he and Massey led the way as San Diego State went on a 12-0 run. The Anteaters never got their deficit below double digits again.
The turning point came after an exchange of centers with 8:09 remaining before halftime and San Diego State ahead, 27-26.
At that point, Dow, who had been given a three-minute rest, re-entered the game for Neal Steinly. Meanwhile, Irvine’s Butler left after he picked up his second foul.
The Aztecs went on a 10-4 run and led, 37-30, with 5:12 left. During that time, Dow scored seven of San Diego’s 10 points.
Dow had 15 points and eight rebounds at halftime, and despite Butler’s return, Irvine couldn’t catch up.