IRVINE — Like most programs in November, the UC Irvine men's basketball team is missing a few elements that might lead to greater success down the road.
And for most of three-day, three-game challenge that was the 2K Sports Classic Benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer subregional, one of those elements was sitting on the bench in street clothes.
Junior Eric Wise, a two-time second-team All-Big West Conference performer who led the team in points, rebounds and assists last season, missed the final two games with a hip flexor strain that allowed him to play only 14 minutes of the first game Friday.
Still, the Anteaters topped Navy and Seattle in the first two games, respectively, and led for much of Sunday's tournament finale against visiting Louisiana Tech.
But the Bulldogs (5-1) outscored the 'Eaters, 7-2, in the final 1:52 to come away with a 76-72 triumph.
"I feel like I'll be more encouraged [about the weekend] the further away from this game we get," UCI Coach Russell Turner said Sunday, after his team led by as many as 12 in the first half and rallied to take a 70-69 lead with 2:42 left. "I was really happy to see the competitive level we brought throughout this tournament, but I don't think it was at its best today."
Senior guard Darren Moore scored a career-high 26, making nine of 14 field-goal attempts and draining seven of eight foul shots on his way to earning all-tournament honors.
"I thought [Moore] was the only guy who was truly in attack mode," Turner said of his co-captain, who amassed 63 points and 28 rebounds in the three games.
Senior guard Patrick Rembert had six points and five rebounds Sunday, but struggled from the field, making just two of 11 attempts. He finished the tournament with 45 points and was also an all-tournament choice.
Mike Wilder, a 6-foot-2 sophomore, had 10 points and five boards Sunday, including a clutch three-pointer that gave UCI (2-3) its final lead.
— Barry Faulkner