ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — UC Irvine coach Russell Turner advised his group all through the week that he did not wish to go away any doubt that they had been one of the best group within the Huge West Convention this season.
On Saturday evening, the Anteaters confirmed that after which some as they dominated Cal State Fullerton 92-64 within the event ultimate. The 28-point margin is the biggest in a Huge West title recreation.
“We needed to make an announcement with our efficiency,” Turner stated. “I will say I am not stunned with the end result. You do not anticipate to return in capturing 60 p.c, however I assumed it was attainable. We had a mature group anticipating an ideal efficiency.”
The Anteaters (30-5) are headed to the NCAA Event for the second time in class historical past. Their earlier journey was in 2015.
Max Hazzard and Collin Welp led UC Irvine with 23 factors apiece because it made 61.eight p.c of its photographs from the sector.
Hazzard made 5 of UC Irvine’s 10 Three-pointers because it led for nearly all the recreation and was up by 32 halfway via the second half. Welp, a redshirt freshman, got here off the bench and set a profession excessive in factors.
“I’ve a number of confidence in my capability to shoot. It felt good entering into early,” stated Hazzard, who was chosen because the event MVP.
Robert Cartwright and Even Leonard every scored 10 factors for UC Irvine, which has received 16 straight and is the primary Huge West faculty to succeed in 30 wins since UNLV went to the Remaining 4 in 1990-91 and completed 34-1. It was 34 of 55 from the sector, together with 10 of 14 on Three-ponters. The 71.Four p.c accuracy charge on 3s is a event single-game file.
Whereas the Anteaters had been lighting it up from past the arc, Fullerton struggled. The Titans missed their first eight Three-point makes an attempt, had been 2 of 13 within the first half and 5 of 21 for the sport.
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Kyle Allman Jr. led the third-seeded Titans (16-17) with 16 factors and Austen Awosika added 13.
“We ran right into a buzz noticed. The way in which they shot tonight, they might have beat the Lakers. They had been prepared for his or her second,” Cal State Fullerton coach Dedrique Taylor stated.
The Anteaters took management early, scoring 11 straight factors to burst out to a 13-Four lead with 16:21 remaining within the first half. Hazzard scored 9 factors in the course of the run, all on Three-pointers.
A Three-pointer by Welp with 15:13 left put UC Irvine up by 12 (22-10) and stored the margin in double digits for the remainder of the sport.
The Anteaters led 42-24 at halftime and stored extending their lead.
Cal State Fullerton: The Titans received final 12 months’s event ultimate towards Irvine, however couldn’t do it two years in a row. They’re Three-Three within the ultimate and have misplaced 10 of 11 in event video games the place they’re matched up towards the highest seed.
UC Irvine: The Anteaters might need bragging rights as one of the best group in California this season. They’ve probably the most wins of any of the state’s Division I groups.
Cal State Fullerton guard Khalil Ahmad scored 60 factors within the first two event video games, however he was held to 6 factors by UC Irvine and was 1 of 9 from the sector.
HE SAID IT
“I knew after Hazard made the primary two (Three-pointers) that we might be in for an extended evening. On an evening like tonight, it’s their evening and also you respect it. They had been the higher group tonight.” — Taylor on UC Irvine.
Cal State Fullerton: There’s a risk the Titans may very well be invited to the School Basketball Invitational.
UC Irvine: Finds out its NCAA Event vacation spot Sunday.
Observe Joe Reedy at www.twitter.com/joereedy
Extra AP faculty basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
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