It was a battle, but the men’s basketball team passed by the UC Irvine Anteaters in the quarter-finals, March 10, with a 72-56 victory.
Matadors guard Joseph Frazier led the scoreboard with 18 points. He also had 5 rebounds and two assists. Forward Ian Boylan, who had seven boards and two assists, had the second highest scoring drive with 16 points.
The Matadors took a commanding lead within the first two minutes of the game, scoring seven unanswered points. The Matadors only had one turnover within those two minutes.
Irvine remained scoreless until guard Ross Schraeder drilled in a three-pointer to put the Anteaters on the score board.
?I thought Irvine played a heck of a game tonight,? said Bobby Braswell, Matador head coach. ?They did not make it easy on us,?
Schraeder actually shared the most points, 14, with his teammate Jeff Gloger who scored 14 points as well.
The second highest scorer for the Anteaters was Shamar Armstrong who had nine points.
Overall, the Matadors had a 47.8 percent accuracy in field goals. They did excellent at the free-throw line, shooting 14 out of 15 shots in the first half.
The Matadors only gave up possession 10 times throughout the entire game, keeping them in control of the game.
Part of the Matador?s success might be a bit attributed to the Matadors control of one of Irvine?s leading players, guard Aaron Fitzgerald, Braswell said. Fitzgerald did not play as strongly as he played in Irvine?s last match up. Fitzgerald scored only five points in Thursday?s game.
?It was big for us not to allow him get off,? Braswell said.
Although the Matador offense seemed to be in command of the game, Braswell said he believed the offense did not play as smoothly as it could have.
The Matadors had a few empty possessions, Braswell said.
At about the seven-minute mark, Irvine caught up with the Matadors, tying the score with 23 points, but they were never able to ever take the lead in the game. During the second half, everything went down hill for the Anteaters.
From the line, the Anteaters made only 11 of 18 attempts in the second half, as opposed to their first half performance, shooting 7 out of 9 attempts.
The Matadors stayed consistent with their free-throws, for the most part, shooting 14 out of 15 in the first half, and 9 out of 14 in the second.
In response to the Matadors driving offense, Irvine responded with tough half-court defense during the last four minutes of the game, forcing the Matadors to turn the ball over twice. Matador players were at times facing triple-team defense halfway down the court.
Nevertheless, the Matadors stayed consistent in offense and widened the scoring gap by as much as 18 points during the last minute of the game. The Anteaters ended the game on a positive note with a last hardcore dunk, finishing the game, but losing by 16 points.