Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - A free throw by Reeves Nelson with 14.2 seconds remaining proved to be the difference as the UCLA Bruins slipped by the UC Irvine Anteaters, 74-73, in non-conference action at Pauley Pavilion. Nelson finished with eight points and seven rebounds off the bench for the Bruins (8-4) as they won their fifth straight game. Handling most of the offense for UCLA were Malcolm Lee and Lazeric Jones with 20 points apiece, followed by Joshua Smith with 14 and eight boards.
The Anteaters (6-6), losers of two in a row, were paced by Eric Wise with 16 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out. Pavol Losonsky accounted for 15 points, Darren Moore 14 and Mike Wilder 10 points and eight rebounds off the bench. UCI had a tough time getting its offense into gear in the first half, shooting just 33.3 percent from the field en route to a 39-29 deficit at the break.
In the second half the Anteaters fought their way back with 56.3 percent accuracy from the floor and 5-of-7 behind the three-point line to close the gap. After Nelson knocked down one of his two free throws to give the Bruins a 74-70 advantage with just over 14 seconds remaining, Moore came down and banked a three-pointer off the glass to cut the deficit to one with 7.4 seconds to play.
At the other end of the floor Tyler Lamb was sent to the charity stripe with 6.2 seconds remaining, but with a pair of misses the door remained open for the Anteaters. With no timeouts left, Patrick Rembert dribbled down the left side but was pinned in against the sideline as UCI failed to get off a shot as time expired. UCLA managed to pick up the narrow win despite shooting just 12-of-23 at the free-throw line, 4-of-13 at the stripe down the stretch, and turning the ball over 17 times.
The Bruins were playing without Tyler Honeycutt who suffered a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder two days ago against Montana State and is currently listed as day-to-day. Honeycutt is listed as the top scorer and rebounder for the program through 11 games with 14.9 ppg and 8.0 rpg.
The UCLA Bruins welcome the UC Irvine Anteaters to Los Angeles this evening for a non-conference affair. UC Irvine had won two games in a row heading into Saturday's road clash with Pepperdine, but that tilt resulted in a 76-69 setback. The Anteaters are now 6-5 overall, including 2-3 in true road games, and they have yet to begin Big West Conference play.
As for UCLA, it got off to a rough start this season, posting just three wins through its first seven games. Fortunately, the Bruins have righted the ship, as they have put together four consecutive victories to improve to 7-4 overall. On Tuesday, they cruised past Montana State by a 75-59 final, and a victory over nationally-ranked BYU preceded that win. UCLA owns a 5-2 series lead over UC Irvine, which includes a 76-65 decision over UC Irvine in the most recent meeting back in 2004.
The go-to guy at the offensive end for UC Irvine is Darren Moore, as he is netting 16.9 ppg on 53.6 percent shooting from the floor. More than just a scorer, Moore leads his team with 7.0 rpg and 24 steals as well. The only other double-digit scorer in the fold is Patrick Rembert, as he provides 12.4 ppg despite his lackluster 38.9 percent field goal efficiency. Rembert has handed out 33 assists, a team-leading average of three per contest. Through 11 outings, Irvine is generating 75.8 ppg while surrendering 71.3 ppg. In the seven-point loss to Pepperdine, Moore hit his average with 16 points, and Rembert tallied 10 points and 11 rebounds. Unfortunately, the Anteaters couldn't overcome their 31.1 percent shooting from the floor, including 5- of-29 from three-point range. Those poor figures overshadowed a strong defensive performance by the squad.
UCLA, a member of the Pac-10 Conference, is scoring 74.0 ppg while allowing 67.5 ppg to opponents. The Bruins are led by Tyler Honeycutt and his 14.9 ppg. Honeycutt is also tops on the boards with 8.0 rpg, while fellow frontcourt performer Reeves Nelson is close behind with 14.7 ppg and 7.8 rpg. Malcolm Lee provides 11.3 ppg, and Lazeric Jones rounds out a foursome of double-digit scorers with 10.6 ppg. The Bruins are outrebounding opponents by over five boards per tilt, a key to their success. Taking a look at the 16-point win over Montana State, Lee scored 18 points to guide his team, while Nelson pitched in 15 points. The Bruins made good on only 2-of-13 three-pointers in that affair, but they earned a decisive 21-6 edge in points from the foul line. (Sports Network)