Houston Pulls Away From UC Irvine in Second Half
UC Irvine played hard again Friday night, but against a talented Houston team, hard was hardly enough.
Houston--a team that beat Villanova by 30 points--handed the Anteaters a 73-51 loss in the second game of a doubleheader in the Freedom Bowl Tournament before 2,781 at the Bren Center.
The Cougars led by only four points at halftime, but they pulled ahead by 18 midway through the second half as Irvine went cold, scoring only two field goals in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
Irvine (1-2) plays again at 9 tonight, facing USC. The Trojans defeated Kent, 74-62, in the first game Friday. Houston faces Kent at 6:30 tonight.
Houston, led by the athletic combination of guard Sam Mack, forward Craig Upchurch and center Charles Outlaw, went on a 19-5 run during the first 10 minutes of the second half.
Mack, who finished with 17 points despite foul trouble, contributed seven points during that run, including a three-point play and a steal that he turned into a breakaway dunk. Tyrone Evans’ three-pointer capped the spree, giving Houston a 52-34 lead.
Upchurch added 17 for Houston. Gerald McDonald scored 11 for Irvine, and Jeff Von Lutzow and Elgin Rogers each added 10.
Houston (3-1) has had only one defeat, a three-point loss to North Carolina in a game the Cougars led by 15 points at halftime.
Irvine trailed at halftime, 33-29, after cutting an 11-point Houston lead to four with a 7-0 run.
Even though Houston shot 57% in the first half, the Anteaters stayed close early, using two three-pointers each by Craig Marshall and Von Lutzow, and penetrating drives by guards McDonald and Zuri Williams.