Men's basketball: UCI rallies, again!

Amara Aguilar

BREN EVENTS CENTER - Add this game to UC Irvine's long list of

comebacks this season.

The Anteaters overcame a 15-point deficit in the second half to

narrowly defeat University of the Pacific, 62-58, in a Big West

Conference men's basketball game Thursday.

Pacific had all of the momentum in the first half, going on a 19-4 run

and leading by as many as 17 points, but it didn't seem to faze the

Anteaters.

"Sometimes when you are not accustomed to something it's hard to

adapt," UCI Coach Pat Douglass said. "We've had a lot of game situations

(in which we were trailing) that we have been exposed to. A lot of teams

get down in that type of situation and are not used to it."

The Anteaters (13-4, 6-0 in the Big West) pulled ahead in the final

minutes when junior guard Mike Hood hit a three-point jumper on a dish

from senior guard Jerry Green. The shot gave UCI a 60-58 advantage with

1:55 remaining in the second half.

On Pacific's ensuing possession, the Anteaters had a steal and Green

controlled the ball, but a five-second violation gave Pacific (11-5, 3-3)

a chance to come back with 18.8 seconds left.

After getting the ball into their zone, the Tigers called a timeout

with 11.2 seconds to go.

Maurice McLemore (16 points) went up for a jumper, but the ball rolled

off the rim.

"We executed beautifully," Pacific Coach Bob Thomason said. "He just

missed the shot. He had a great shot. I thought it was going in when he

shot it."

Green was fouled with 3.8 seconds left and hit two free throws to seal

the win for the Anteaters.

He finished with a season-low 10 points, behind sophomore center Adam

Parada (15 points, 11 rebounds), junior forward Jordan Harris (14 points,

nine rebounds) and sophomore forward Stanislav Zuzak (14 points, six

rebounds).

The Anteaters made 13 of 26 field goals (50%) in the second half, but

had a dismal first half, making only 8 of 27 attempts (29.6%).

Entering this week, they were No. 1 nationally in the NCAA with a .508

field goal percentage.

Green, who took a team-leading 22.6 points per game average into the

contest, did not score at all in the first half.

"He's a marked player," Douglass said. "He only got three shots in the

first half ... They did a good job defensively on Jerry. In the first

half, we had the shots, we just didn't make the shots."

The Anteaters made a big turnaround in the second half. They scored

the first nine points after the break, limited Pacific to six points in

the first 10 minutes of the half, and took their first lead of the half,

46-45, on Green's layup with 12:10 remaining.

"That run was a big key," Green said. "That was the main thing in the

first five minutes to come out and try to get intensity and get to the

basket and that's what we did."

Pacific came within one, 55-54, but Mike hood hit a jumper to give the

Anteaters a little breathing room with 3:29 left. However, the Tigers

answered with two free throws each from Ross Mills and Mike Hahn to take

a 58-57 advantage with 2:16 to go.

Hood's three-pointer put the Anteaters ahead for good.

"I thought Hood made two big plays," Thomason said. "If he doesn't

make the shot, plus the three I think we would have had a chance to win

the game."

Hood finished with seven points for the Anteaters, who remained the

only undefeated team in conference and extended their school record

winning streak at home to 19.

"When we get down, we're really confident as a team," Harris said. "We

get down by 17 and it's no big deal, especially at home. We always feel

we can come back."

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