May 27, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Anteaters rally to defeat UC Santa Barbara 73-69, sweeping Big West series

Collin Welp goes for a basket Monday night at the Bren Center. (Photo courtesy UCI Athletic Communications)

UC Irvine’s men’s basketball team battled back from a nine-point second half deficit to defeat UC Santa Barbara 73-69 in a Big West Conference game at the Bren Events Center Monday evening.

The Anteaters (5-4, 2-0) swept the two-game series from the Gauchos (4-3, 0-2).

UCI trailed 58-49 with 7:49 to play before out-scoring UC Santa Barbara 24-11 to notch the win.

Collin Welp led UCI with a team high 16 points. He made 7 of 14 field goal attempts and had a game high nine rebounds. Welp also led the Anteaters in assists with three and notched one block.

Dawson Baker scored 14 points and Brad Greene 10 points for UCI. DJ Davis and Isaiah Lee added nine points each for the Anteaters.

UCI made 24 of 54 field goal attempts (44.4 percent) and 7 of 17 three-pointers. The Anteaters outrebounded the Gauchos 37-26.

Jaquori McLaughlin scored a game high 22 points for UCSB and had five assists. 

“I am proud of this group for the resilience we showed down the stretch in this game,” said UCI Coach Russell Turner.

“It would have been easy to let go of the rope and it almost felt like we were going to do that but we settled ourselves and went on a defensive run and made some big plays down the stretch. We had a lot of players make big plays on offense and defense and that has been the hallmark of our program. I also have perspective that this is just the first two games of our conference season.”

UCI is 5-0 at home this year.

NEXT UP

UCI plays at Cal State Northridge on Friday, Jan. 1, and Saturday, Jan. 2 in a Big West Series. Both games start at 4 p.m.

Source: UCI Athletic Communications