HONOLULU – In a tight conference game on the street, it never hurts to have a dominant tall man – especially when the perimeter footage doesn’t go in.
The Brad Greene senior center had 18 points, a season high of 14 rebounds and a season high of five blocked shots to lead UC Irvine to a 53:51 win over Hawaii on Friday night, their seventh straight win.
On a night when the UCI shot a total of 39 percent, including a 1:14 mark out of the 3-point range, Greene was 9:16 off the ground with six offensive boards for the anteaters (9-4 total, 5: 0 Big West) conference) to kick off the Big West series with two games. It was the UCI’s fifth straight win in Honolulu and the seventh in a row against the Rainbow Warriors (4-5, 2-5) in each venue.
There were only four changes in leadership and three draws, but none of the teams shot many free throws (UCI missed six of their twelve) and the game was consistently close.
A hook shot from Greene put the Anteaters 2:29 ahead (50:47), but Hawaii’s James Jean-Marie hit a jumper to make it another one-point game at 1:39 close. Collin Welp separated two free throw attempts 1:18 before the teams together missed four shots in a row. Greene blocked a Jean-Marie layup and corrected the rebound by 23 seconds.
Isaiah Lee made two free throws 15 seconds ahead to give UCI a four point 15 second advantage, but Hawaii’s Casdon Jardine layup five seconds to go, then Lee missed a free throw attempt before Justin Webster a 3 point attempt that could have won it for Hawaii.
« We are pleased with the win and we feel happy that we were able to get that out of it, despite the poor kicking of the ball after three and free throws tonight, » said UCI coach Russell Turner.
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“We always say defense and character travel and tonight were good proof of that because it was a tough game not to be frustrated. We were shaky with the ball and Hawaii did a great job tracking us and draining our energy. But we defended consistently and in the end gave ourselves the chance to win. »
DJ Davis had eight points and four assists for the UCI, while Welp had seven points and five rebounds and Austin Johnson added six points. UCI was only 23 for 59 off the field, but kept the Warriors at 36.4 percent (20 for 55). Greene’s efforts led the Anteaters to a 42:22 lead on color points and a 39:32 lead that helped them outperform Hawaii 14-4 on second chance points.
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