Men's Basketball: UCI trounces Titans

IRVINE — One week before its annual Bracket Busters matchup, the UC Irvine men's basketball team had its break-even-buster game against Big West Conference and Orange County rival Cal State Fullerton.

UCI won the battle of .500 teams, 86-66, to improve to 10-1 at home, 7-0 at the Bren Events Center against Big West teams.

The 'Eaters in fact, were hardly mediocre against the Titans, sweeping the regular-season series to make it three straight wins over Cal State Fullerton.

UCI, which trounced the Titans, 92-65, on Jan. 17 in Fullerton for its biggest margin of victory in 96 all-time meetings between the two, led by as many as 31, before settling for their biggest home victory this season against a Division I opponent.

Senior Adam Folker made nine of 10 field-goal attempts and three other UCI starters scored in double figures to help the hosts improve to 14-13, 8-6 in the Big West.

Cal State Fullerton, which has now lost two straight and five of its last six, falls to 12-13, 5-8.

UCI senior Daman Starring made seven of nine three-point attempts to pace the winners with 21 points, while Folker finished with 18 points. Starring added seven rebounds and five assists.

Freshman point guard Alex Young had 16 points and sophomore Will Davis, who broke his own school single-season record for blocked shots, had 10 points. Young, who was six of nine from the field, chipped in seven assists and did not have a turnover in 28 minutes.

The 6-foot-8 Davis had five blocks and altered several other shots as the Titans shot 40% (22 for 55 from the field). Davis' 59 blocks this season surpass the 55 he collected as a freshman. Davis also had 11 rebounds to help the Anteaters post a 44-30 advantage on the glass.

With Folker and Davis converting inside, UCI had a 38-26 advantage in points in the paint.

The Titans were seven for 21 from three-point range (33.3%), while UCI made 11 of 25 from beyond the arc (44%).

UCI scored the final eight points of the first half and the first four after intermission to establish control.

The hosts earned a 54-32 advantage with 14:39 left in the game and, after Fullerton rallied to within 54-42, began expanding the lead once again. When Chris McNealy sank a three-pointer with 3:56 left, UCI led, 84-53, to the delight of the student rooting section that set the tone for the 1,847 in attendance.

The Anteaters play their next two conference games at home (Wednesday against Pacific and March 2 against Long Beach State), before finishing the conference schedule at Pacific on March 7 and at UC Davis on March 9.

James Douglas, who made four three-pointers, came off the bench to lead the Titans with 14 points.


Big West Conference

UC Irvine 86, Cal State Fullerton 66

CSF – Johnson 5, Vaughn 8, Seeley 2, Yeager 9, Harris 12, Douglas 14, Brandon 9, Collins 5, Knox 2.

3-pt. goals – Douglas 4, Harris 1, Vaughn 1, Yeager 1.

Fouled out – None.

Technicals – None.

UCI – Davis 10, Folker 18, Starring 21, Young 16, Wilder 5, McNealy 7, Clifford 4, Souza 3, Ryan 2.

3-pt. goals – Starring 7, Wilder 1, Souza 1, Young 1, McNealy 1.

Fouled out – None.

Technicals – None.

Halftime – UCI, 38-24.

Twitter: @BarryFaulkner5

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