UC Irvine Finally Passes Road Test


Pat Douglass got his first big victory in his rebuilding project at UC Irvine on Saturday night.

The Anteaters, who had won only three of their first 11 games in Douglass’ first season as head coach, upset New Mexico State, 62-55, in a Big West Conference game before 8,738 at Las Cruces, N.M.

The victory ended a 23-game road losing streak that spanned three seasons.

The loss dropped New Mexico State to 11-5 overall, 1-1 in the Big West.

Irvine (4-8, 1-1) shot only 37.7%, but won with solid defense in the second half and poise down the stretch. The Anteaters made seven of eight free throws in the final 2 1/2 minutes.


Juma Jackson, Junior Bond and Jason Flowers each made a pair of free throws before Ben Jones made one of two with six seconds to play.

Irvine trailed by nine points at halftime, 36-27, but came back with a 19-5 run in the second half to lead, 52-44, with 6 1/2 minutes to play.

Jones made four three-point baskets in that surge and finished with a team-high 17 points, 16 in the second half. Irvine center Wendell Robinson had 14 points and Flowers 12.

New Mexico State shot only 27.3% in the second half after a 54.2% effort in the first. The Aggies went more than seven minutes without a field goal in the second half. Aggie forward Charles Gosa, who scored 16 points in the first half, had only in the second.

“They just outplayed us,” Aggie Coach Lou Henson said, pointing particularly to Irvine’s 40-33 rebounding advantage. “We were terrible on the boards in the second half. And we did a poor job defensively.”