Men's Basketball Preview: UC Irvine vs. Pacifica

UCI Pregame Vs. Pacifica Sunday, 7 p.m. at Bren Events Center The Anteaters (1-2) are coming off their first win, an 86-72 road thumping of Washington on Thursday. Pacifica (0-1) dropped its opener, 89-49, to Fort Lewis College and was handled by UCI last year, 116-47, at the Bren Center. Pacifica does not have a sports information staff and is a small school that lists an Anaheim address. The Gladiators are coached by first-year head man Jeron Roberts, who played four years at Wyoming and 14 seasons professionally  overseas. The Gladiators’ tallest player is 6-foot-6 Rafael Morelos, who led them with 16 points and four steals in 18 minutes in the opener. Alex Mendiola had 10 points in the Pacifica opener, but no other player among the 10 who scored had more than one field goal. The lack of height may prove costly for the Gladiators, who will battle UCI’s 7-6 freshman Mamadou Ndiaye and 6-8 junior Will Davis. Ndiaye had a Big West Conference single-game record nine blocked shots against Washington and added a career-high 18 points and eight rebounds against the Huskies. Davis, who is averaging 14.7 points and 8.7 rebounds, had 22 points and made 10 of 12 field-goal attempts at Washington. Chris McNealy, the team’s lone senior, leads UCI in scoring (16 per game) and also averages 5.3 rebounds. Sophomore guard Alex Young (15 points per game) and freshman Luke Nelson (10) round out the consistent starters who are all averaging in double figures. UCI is shooting 53.4% as a team from the field, but just 53.9% from the foul line, from which Ndiaye is eight for 25. The Anteaters are averaging 87.3 points per game. -- Barry Faulkner

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World