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UC Irvine Remains in First Place With 64-50 Win at Cal Poly

UC Irvine Remains in First Place With 64-50 Win at Cal Poly


SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- UC Irvine remained in a three-way tie for first place in the Big West Conference men's basketball standings with a 64-50 victory over Cal Poly on Saturday night before 3,032 fans in the Mott Athletics Center and a national television audience (ESPNU).

UC Irvine (14-9 overall, 5-2 Big West) is tied with UC Santa Barbara and Long Beach State as all earned victories Saturday. Cal Poly, suffering its third straight Big West loss, fell to 8-13 and 4-4.

Freshman guard Luke Nelson scored 15 points to lead the visiting Anteaters. Sophomore guard Alex Young added 14 points and sophomore forward Mike Best contributed 10.

Cal Poly was led by senior forward Chris Eversley with 14 points, his team-leading 14th double-digit game of the season. Senior guard Kyle Odister, who missed the last three games with an injury, added 12 points.

Cal Poly led by as many as seven points in the opening eight minutes of the game before UC Irvine took over. A layup by junior forward John Ryan gave the Anteaters the lead for good at 16-15 with 11:37 to play and was part of a 14-0 UC Irvine run.

Cal Poly went scoreless for 5 minutes and 50 seconds as UC Irvine opened up a 23-15 advantage and never looked back. The Mustangs missed seven straight shots before Odister ended the drought with a jumper with 8:46 to go in the opening half.

UC Irvine led 39-28 at the half and Cal Poly could get no closer than nine points on a couple occasions midway through the second half. The Anteaters led by as many as 18 points after the break.

UC Irvine made 48 percent of its floor shots (25 of 52), including seven of 16 from long range, while Cal Poly could only connect on 30 percent (17 of 56), eight of 23 from three-point range.

UC Irvine outrebounded Cal Poly 39-34, with five players grabbing five boards. Eversley corralled 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the year and 10th of his Mustang career.

Cal Poly turned the ball over just seven times (UC Irvine had 11). Odister and senior guard Jamal Johnson both had four assists for the Mustangs and freshman guard Ridge Shipley contributed a pair of assists.

Cal Poly had its first sellout of the season and its first in 29 games when UC Santa Barbara and the Mustangs were witnessed by 3,032 on Jan. 2, 2012.

Cal Poly hits the road for its next three conference games, visiting Hawai'i next Saturday and Cal State Northridge and Long Beach State in two weeks.