The 2012 Big West Basketball Tournament is now underway and the conference saw its first substantial upset in the quarterfinals on Thursday evening. Despite a mediocre conference record of 6-10 and 12-19 mark for the regular season, the No. 7 UC Irvine Anteaters knocked off the No. 2 Cal State Fullerton Titans by a score of 65-59. They advance to the semifinals and will face UC Santa Barbara on Friday.
Chris McNealy was on fire for the Anteaters and lit up the Titans for 24 points on just 13 shots. The sophomore guard averaged a little less than 10 points this season, but he has been on quite the roll in recent weeks. Derick Flowers and Michael Wilder both had 11 points each, while big man Adam Folker recorded a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
UCI held an eight point lead at halftime and executed very well down the stretch to seal the victory. CSF made multiple runs throughout the second half, but they just could not get over the hump to hold a lead.
Orane Chin had a big game with 20 points and went 3-for-4 from behind the arc. Omondi Amoke had 10 points of his own and brought down 21 rebounds, eight of which came on the offensive glass. Kwame Vaughn and D.J. Seeley both had 12 points for the Titans.
The Anteaters will have a few short hours to rest before taking on UCSB on Friday night. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. PST. ESPNU will provide the television coverage.