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Dade Hits Highlight Zone as Titans Beat the Anteaters

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Cal State Fullerton’s Chris Dade was in “the zone” Saturday night.

That’s what Dade called it, and Fullerton Coach Bob Hawking was quick to agree. What else could they call making seven of eight three-point shots? Dade’s career-high 28-point performance carried the Titans to an 81-73 Big West men’s basketball victory over UC Irvine in front of 1,327 in Titan Gym.

It was only fitting that Dade got the last two points on a dunk of a fast break, putting the finishing touch on the upset. It was one of only two shots he made inside the arc all night.

Fullerton (3-10, 2-3 in the Big West) won with second-leading scorer John Williams missing because of a swollen left hand caused by fingers that were jammed in practice. But Dade and senior Chuck Overton, who had 18 points, made up the difference.

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“There were a couple of other times last year where I felt I was in a zone, but this was probably the best,” said Dade, who was averaging 10 points. “Really, I felt I had been in sort of a shooting slump lately, but my father told me just to keep shooting, and so did the coaches.”

Dade fell one three-point basket short of the school record, but Fullerton’s 10 of 14 (71.4%) was the best three-point effort by a Titan team.

“Chris had a monster game,” Hawking said. “He was really in the zone, and it was fun for me just to watch.”

It was agonizing for Irvine. The Anteaters fell to 5-6 for the season and 2-2 in Big West Conference play after being outrebounded, 34-23.

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“Let’s be honest,” UC Irvine Coach Rod Baker said. “Three times we knocked him on his [butt] and they were all makes.”

Overton still was shaking his head after the game was over. “I’ve never seen Chris play like that before,” he said. “He was a leader tonight.”

Irvine shot 55.6% from the field, Fullerton 51.9%. The Titans, however, made 15 of 22 free throws to only six of 12 for the Anteaters.

Reserve center Dirk Rassloff made four of four from the line in the final minute.

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There were other standouts for the Titans.

Freshman guard Kenroy Jarrett sank a three-pointer to stretch Fullerton’s lead to 69-62 with 2:19 left. Then Overton dropped in two clutch free throws not long afterward following a three-point basket by Irvine guard Raimonds Miglinieks.

Freshman Mark Richardson also had a rebound basket with slightly more than a minute to play on a Dade shot that was blocked.

Sophomore Kevin Simmons led Irvine with 25 points and Miglinieks had 17 points and eight assists. They were a combined 17 of 23 from the field.

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Baker saw the rebounding as a big difference.

“As well as we shot and as well as they shot, there were still shots missed,” he said. “Who got the ones that missed? Their 16 offensive rebounds is a telling stat.”

Hawking was pleased with the rebounding. “We’re smaller than everyone and we have to compete,” Hawking said. “Rebounding can turn a whole game around. Our kids gave it a full 40 minutes.”

The Anteaters have struggled somewhat from the field in their first three conference games, prompting Hawking to send the Titans into a 2-3 zone three minutes into the game.

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The Anteaters missed five consecutive outside shots immediately after that, but came back to make 14 of 26 from the field (53.8) in the first half. The Titans led at halftime, 34-33, helped by a 20-11 rebounding advantage, including 11 on the offensive boards.

The victory ended a string of three consecutive Irvine victories in Titan Gym.


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