Recap: UC Riverside vs. UC Irvine
Riverside, CA (Sports Network) - Phil Martin led the way with 27 points, as the UC Riverside Highlanders outlasted the UC Irvine Anteaters in overtime, 72-69, in a Big West Conference showdown at the Student Rec Center.
Kareem Nitoto added 13 points and nine rebounds for the Highlanders (14-16, 7-9 Big West), while Robert Smith chipped in 11 points. Riverside secured the fifth seed for the Big West Conference Tournament and will play fourth seed Cal Poly on Thursday in quarterfinal round action.
Chris McNealy led the Anteaters (11-19, 6-10) with 19 points, while Derick Flowers finished with 15 points and Adam Folker posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Irvine will be the seventh seed in the conference tourney and face second seed Cal State Fullerton in the quarterfinals.
Irvine struggled with its shooting to start the contest, making only 29.6 percent from the field, including just 2-of-13 from beyond the arc. Riverside was better from the floor, hitting 45.8 percent, as it took a 36-26 advantage into the locker room.
After the break it was the Highlanders having difficulty shooting the ball, making only 33.3 percent from the field, including missing all but one of their five three-point attempts. The Anteaters mounted their comeback by connecting on 45.2 percent from the field.
After trailing by 13 midway through the second half, Irvine used a 15-3 run to cut the deficit to one. UCR pushed the lead back to four, where it stood with just 23 seconds remaining in regulation. A made basket by Irvine and a free- throw by Nitoto put the Irvine deficit at three. With six seconds on the clock, Travis Souza drained a three-pointer for Irvine to send the game to overtime.
The Highlanders scored the first seven points of the extra session, but the Anteaters responded with a 7-1 run to cut their deficit to a single point, 70-69, but with only two seconds remaining, they were forced to foul and Martin drained two free throws to seal the victory.
UCR converted 14 Irvine turnovers into 18 points. Irvine held a 16-4 advantage in second-chance points.Game Notes