May 27, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

UCI men’s basketball schedule announced

Jonathan Galloway leads the Anteaters in 2018-19.

UC Irvine officials have announced the men’s basketball schedule for the upcoming 2018-19 season.

The non-conference slate is highlighted by seven home games and three 2018 NCAA Tournament teams.

UCI’s early season road schedule is dotted with teams from the Big East, SEC, Pac-12, Big Ten and includes an international trip in November to play in the Vancouver Showcase.

“I’m excited for our non-conference schedule because we are playing good teams, programs with good tradition and reputation,” said head coach Russell Turner. “A lot of those games will also be at home and the schedule will be fan friendly. I am excited for our fans and our now veteran team to get to play some of these great games at the Bren.”

The Anteaters have amassed a 64-17 record at home over the last six years and have had an overall winning record for six years straight.

UCI will return all five starters, 10 upperclassman and three seniors.

The season opens with three home contests as UCI hosts an exhibition against La Verne (Nov. 2) followed by its first regular-season contest against Life Pacific (Nov. 6). Idaho will then visit the Bren on Nov. 9 before the Anteaters embark on a tough road swing.

“We want our student section to be out in full force and create an environment that will be fun for them and exciting to watch,” added Turner.

The Vancouver Showcase starts at Texas A&M on Nov. 12 then moves to Santa Clara Nov. 15 before ending in Vancouver Nov. 18 and 20. The complete tournament field will be announced shortly.

“The Vancouver Showcase will not only be a great opportunity to play some neutral site games against some great opponents but also a great cultural and educational experience for our players,” said Turner.

“The quality of teams prior to going to Vancouver is exciting too. We play at Texas A&M and at Santa Clara which will be big games for us.”

The path doesn’t get any easier as UCI caps November with a road trip to Saint Mary’s (Nov. 28) and tips off December with a home contest against Utah State (Dec. 1). The Gaels went 30-6 last season, advancing to the NIT quarterfinals while the Aggies, former Big West rival, finished 17-17 overall.

A mid-week road contest at Cal Baptist (Dec. 5) will gear the Anteaters up for a huge home game against Montana Saturday, Dec. 8. The Grizzlies were NCAA participants last season after winning the Big Sky Conference, finishing 26-8 overall.

A week later, another formidable foe visits the Bren in Denver on Dec. 15. The Pioneers finished last season with a 15-15 record.

“We hope playing Idaho, Utah State, Montana and Denver at home will generate a great crowd and some energy for the team,” Turner said. “They are all quality teams that we get to play prior to the start of the New Year right here in front of our fans.”

UCI will then hit the road for three games to round out 2018. First up will be a trip to Ypsilanti, Michigan to play Eastern Michigan (Dec.19). A journey to the historic Hinkle Fieldhouse to play Butler (Dec. 21) will highlight the Anteaters’ schedule followed by a game at Pacific on Dec. 29.

“Butler will be an exciting game for us, having the opportunity to play at the historic Hinkle Field House and against a Big East opponent will be great for our team.”

UT Rio Grande Valley comes to the Bren Jan. 3 to complete the Anteaters’ non-conference slate.