Men's Basketball Preview: UCI vs. Morgan State

UC Irvine Pregame

Vs. Morgan State

Thursday, 7:30 p.m,. at Bren Events Center

UC Irvine freshman center Mamadou Ndiaye is the tallest men's basketball player in the NCAA, but he will get the chance to try to pick on someone close to his own size in 7-2 Morgan State senior Ian Chiles in the nonconference game.

Chiles is averaging 14.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game for the Bears (3-9), guided by eighth-year coach Todd Bozeman, who was formerly the head coach at Cal.

Ndiaye, whose 49 blocked shots ranked No. 6 in the NCAA coming into this week, has averaged 26 minutes the last four games, after playing just 17 minutes per contest in the first 10. He is shooting 72.9% from the field (51 for 70), including 18 for 22 in the last four games. He is averaging nine points and 5.9 rebounds per game.

Will Davis, a 6-8 junior, leads UCI (7-7) in scoring (12.1 per game) and rebounding (7.2). Davis is shooting 60.9% from the field to lead all Big West Conference players and he is 19 for 28 from the field in his last three games (67.9%).

UCI freshman guard Luke Nelson (12.0 ppg), leads the team in three-pointers (28) and steals (16).

UCI senior Chris McNealy (11.9 ppg) needs 13 points to become the 23rd Anteater to surpass the 1,000 plateau.

Sophomore guard Alex Young averages 9.4 points per game and his 57 assists lead the Anteaters.

Morgan State, located in Baltimore, is led by senior Justin Black, who averages 19 points per game.

UCI is 4-4 on the road and 3-3 at home this season. Coach Russell Turner's 'Eaters have lost four of six. They have played five of their last seven games on the road, but play four home games in their next six contests.

UCI closes out the preconference schedule on Saturday at home against San Diego Christian (7 p.m.), before opening Big West play on Thursday at Long Beach State (8 p.m.).

— Barry Faulkner

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