If not for a pair of frigid starts the UC-Irvine Anteaters might have come away with a win in the first two days of the Great Alaska Shootout. Instead, a 12-0 deficit proved to be too much to overcome on Friday against Central Michigan. It was a script that was nearly identical to their first game against Murray State when they opened up the game against Southern Miss 1-for-12 shooting from the floor.
This time however there would be no comeback. Irvine would cut CMU's lead to six midway through the first half but the lead swelled to 17 points on a #superhoop from Austin Keel. Irvine would hit a #superhoop of their own with two seconds left before halftime to cut their deficit to a dozen at 43-31.
Missed layups have been a big part of Irvine's story during their first two games at The Shootout. They missed at least half a dozen in the first seven minutes of their game against Southern Miss and their first play of the second half against the Dons was a missed layup.
The Anteaters would never really threaten the rest of the way. Central Murray used a variety of fast breaks layups, three pointers and free throws to maintain a large double-digit lead throughout the majority of the half. Irvine did manage to cut the lead to 10 with two and a half minutes left to play and then started the dreaded fouling routine.
Unfortunately for Irvine, Central Michigan made just enough free throws to not let their lead slip. Amazingly enough, CMU's lead actually ballooned to 16 points with just a minute left but the Anteaters refused to relent in their fouling. Perhaps anticipating trailing late in many of their games to come, the Anteaters prolonged the game. All told, the Chippewas shot 16 free throws in those final two minutes, a span that felt like it took half an hour to play out.
One of the side attraction of the game happened to be the hairdos of UC-Irvine's Michael Wilder and Central Michigan's Andre Coimbra. Wilder, a guard, and Coimbra, a forward, weren't matched up head-to-head but there were a two or three times during the game where their hairdos crossed paths.
Irvine has one last shot to win a game in The Shootout. They'll face the tournament hosts, Division II Alaska-Anchorage. It may be one of the few times this season that the team is favored in a game, however, they will not be the favorites in the game. The home standing Seawolf crowd will make sure of that.
For CMU, they have a chance to finish in fourth place in the tournament. They'll take on the Big Green from Dartmouth.
CENTRAL MICHIGAN 82, CALIFORNIA-IRVINE 72 11/25/2011
CALIFORNIA-IRVINE 0-5 (0-0) -- R. Hamilton 10-21 13-16 34; D. Starring 5-12 8-9 20; M. Wilder 6-13 2-2 19; C. McNealy 2-12 0-0 5; W. Davis II 1-7 2-4 4; A. Wright 2-8 1-2 5; C. Woods 3-8 0-0 9; D. Flowers 3-5 1-2 8; A. Folker 1-3 0-0 2; T. Souza 0-3 0-0 0; M. Best 0-1 0-0 0; M. Bradley 0-0 0-2 0. Totals 23-72 14-21 72. CENTRAL MICHIGAN 3-2 (0-0) -- A. Coimbra 2-5 1-2 6; T. Zeigler 8-17 5-8 21; D. Jackson 3-6 1-2 9; A. McBroom 2-8 2-2 8; O. Mbaigoto 9-15 1-1 23; A. Keel 2-4 0-0 6; F. Craddock 0-2 1-3 1; J. Myrick 0-2 0-0 0; Z. Saylor 1-1 0-0 2; J. Harden 0-1 0-1 0; J. Morris 0-0 1-2 1; A. Barnes 0-2 5-6 5; N. Jordan 0-0 0-2 0. Totals 27-63 17-29 82.
Three-point goals: UCI 12-31 (D. Starring 2-4; D. Flowers 1-1; M. Wilder 5-11; C. McNealy 1-3; T. Souza 0-2; C. Woods 3-7; A. Wright 0-3), CMU 11-22 (F. Craddock 0-1; A. Coimbra 1-1; D. Jackson 2-4; T. Zeigler 0-2; A. Keel 2-3; O. Mbaigoto 4-7; A. McBroom 2-4); Rebounds: UCI 43 (W. Davis II 11), CMU 46 (O. Mbaigoto 9); Assists: UCI 17 (A. Wright 5), CMU 20 (D. Jackson 7); Total Fouls -- UCI 24, CMU 17; Fouled Out: UCI-None; CMU-None.