Men’s basketball comes up short versus Big West foes Hawaii, Irvine

Aaron Lai/HIGHLANDER
Aaron Lai/HIGHLANDER

Feb. 13, 2014

Rainbow Warriors 87 – Highlanders 76

After being defeated by 31 points by Hawaii in January, the men’s basketball (8-16, 3-7) team looked to exact revenge on their home floor against the Rainbow Warriors Thursday night. UC Riverside would fall short once again, however, as Warrior Christian Standhardinger scored 27 points to lead Hawaii to the victory, 87-76.

The Rainbow Warriors used early scoring opportunities to push the lead as they went on a 10-0 run with seven minutes remaining in the first half, 27-17. Trying to claw their way back into the game, Riverside cut the lead to six with a couple of free throws from Steven Thornton, ending the half, 36-30. Hawaii made 54.2 percent of their shots, while Riverside only hit 37 percent. Seemingly every Highlander on the floor was outworked by Standhardinger, who nearly recorded a double-double in the first half with 12 points and eight rebounds.

With three minutes gone in the half, the Highlanders continued to chug forward as they cut the lead to three, 40-37. Hawaii responded by scoring 16 of the next 20 points to push the lead to 56-41. Standhardinger continued to connect as Hawaii’s advantage grew to as many as 18 points. Trying to keep the game within reach, UC Riverside tried to cut the lead, but every point scored would be responded to by Hawaii. The game came to a close with a three-pointer by Thornton, cutting the deficit to 11 points, 87-76. Hawaii made 46.7 percent of their three-pointers, while Riverside only converted on 31.3 percent.

Chris Patton led the Highlanders with 21 points. Taylor Johns tallied 19 while Thornton added 16. Standhardinger led all scorers with 27 points and grabbed 13 rebounds.
Feb. 15, 2014

Anteaters 70 – Highlanders 52

After losing to UC Irvine by 20 points in their previous encounter, the men’s basketball (8-17, 3-8) team faced the first-place Anteaters Saturday night at the Bren Events Center in Irvine, Calif. Riverside would fall short once again as Irvine walked away with the victory by 18 points, 70-52.

The Anteaters (17-9, 7-3) took an early lead as the Highlanders struggled to maintain a consistent level of play. The first 10 minutes consisted of ill-advised shots and missed layups. Anteater Mamadou Ndiaye was a building block for the Anteaters as the center prevented Riverside from scoring. The Highlanders trailed by as many as 16 points, but with two minutes remaining, Riverside would go on a 9-0 run, cutting the lead to seven, 36-29, at intermission. Highlander Taylor Johns scored five points during the run. Irvine made 12 of 28 shots, while Riverside struggled to connect, going 10 of 30 in the period.

Looking to change the game around, Riverside cut the lead to as many as three points with seven minutes gone in the game, 42-39. The Anteaters responded by scoring 16 of the next 20 points to increase the lead, 58-43, with six minutes remaining. Irvine continued to be strong both offensively and defensively as they prevented Riverside from decreasing the double-digit deficit. The Highlanders slowly lost all momentum, as they missed jumpers and turned over the ball at the end of the half, 70-52. The Anteaters would take advantage of Riverside’s turnovers as they were able to connect on eight of 17 shots.

 Johns led the Highlanders with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Sam Finley tallied 11 points. Dominique Dunning led all scorers with 20 points off the bench.

 The Highlanders will now prepare to face UC Santa Barbara on Thursday Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. in the Thunderdome.

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