The UC-Irvine Anteaters (9-4) trailed 30-25 heading into the locker room but outscored SHSU (5-6) by 15 points in the second half to win game one of the tournament 63-53. UCI guard Luke Nelson led his team with 16 points on 5-of-12 shooting while hitting two treys in the contest.
Fellow Anteater forward Mike Best shot 70-percent from the field and added 14 points in 24 minutes of play.
UCI took an early 6-2 lead but lost the lead for the first time when Bearkat forward Torry Butler made a layup with 12:46 left in the first half. SHSU went up by as many as eight with 5:09 on the clock as Butler hit a nice jumper.
The 29-percent shooting by UCI helped the Bearkats take a 30-25 lead at halftime.
UCI’s Nelson started the second half with a three pointer as his team used a 12-6 point run to take a 37-36 lead with 15:14 left in the game. The Anteaters went up by 10 when Alex Young hit a jumper with 5:49 left to play. UCI finished the second half shooting 55.6 percent in the second half and took advantage of turnover scoring 16 points off of turnovers.
UC-Irvine, who was a 2015 NCAA Tournament participant, takes on Norfolk State in the Championship Game of the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational on Tuesday at 7 p.m. (MT) in the Don Haskins Center.
Author: Sun Bowl Association