Men's Basketball Preview: UC Irvine vs. Eastern Washington

UC Irvine pregame

Vs. Eastern Washington

Sunday, 2:05 p.m.

The Anteaters (5-5) are on a two-game losing streak as they embark on a string of four straight road games.

UCI defeated Eastern Washington, 81-58, at home on Nov. 24, and is looking to beat the Eagles (5-3) once again. In the first meeting, UCI made 11 of 19 three-point attempts and freshman guard Luke Nelson was five for seven from threedom on his way to a team-high 19 points.

Four UCI players are averaging in double figures, led by senior guard Chris McNealy at 12.3 per game. Nelson, who leads the team with 13 steals and has made 13 of 25 three-point tries over the last four games, averages 11.6. Will Davis, a 6-foot-8 junior forward, averages 11.5 and a team-best 7.6 rebounds.

UCI entered the week ranked No. 7 in the nation in assists per game (18.6), while 7-6 freshman center Mamadou Ndiaye ranked No. 10 in total blocks (34).

Sophomore point guard Alex Young's 4.6 assists per game rank second in the Big West Conference.

Teams UCI has defeated this season were a combined 18-26 entering Saturday. UCI's average margin of victory in those games is 24 points.

The teams UCI has lost to were a combined 32-16 through Friday and the 'Eaters' average margin of defeat has been seven points.

Eastern Washington is 3-0 at home this season and is led by sophomore guard Tyler Harvey (20.3 points per game). Sophomore forward Venky Jois is averaging 14.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Harvey had 21 points in the first game against UCI, while Jois had eight points and six boards.

UCI made 18 of 27 field-goal attempts after halftime (66.7%) in the first win over Eastern Washington, and shot a season-best 59.6% for the game.

— Barry Faulkner

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