UC Irvine (21-15) at Oral Roberts (19-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, March 25, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mabee Center (10,575) -- Irvine, California. Television: None. CIT Record: UC Irvine 1-0, Oral Roberts 1-1. Series Record: Series is tied, 1-1.
GAMES NOTES: Coming off their first postseason win since 1986 the UC Irvine Anteaters will battle the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles in the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament at the Mabee Center.
The Anteaters' 80-71 win over High Point last Wednesday was the first time they had been on the winning end of a contest in the postseason since an 80-74 win over UCLA in the 1986 NIT. The Anteaters are 21-15 overall and are enjoying their first 20-win season since they posted three straight from 2000-2003. UC Irvine has won nine of its last 11 games with the only setbacks coming against Big West champion Pacific.
After losing four of its last five games before this event, Oral Roberts got back on track last Wednesday with an 84-76 victory over Texas-Arlington in the first round. The win was the first for the Golden Eagles in the CIT after they lost their only other date in the tourney during the 2011 event. Oral Roberts is 19-14 overall and a win away from its third 20-win season in the last four seasons.
These two team have split a pair of previous meetings. The winner of this game will take on Weber State in quarterfinal action on Wednesday.
Will Davis II had a monster game in the first round as he recorded a double- double with 32 points and 14 rebounds to lead UC Irvine past High Point. The Anteaters shot 48.3 percent from the floor as a team which was more than 10 percentage points better the Panthers.
Davis (9.5 ppg, 6.9 rpg) is normally more of a complementary scorer, as are frontcourt mates Michael Wilder (8.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and Adam Folker (9.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg), who can prove to be quite a handful for opponents on the interior. Led by the trio the Anteaters are a very strong rebounding team, ranking 18th nationally with 38.7 rebounds per game. Daman Starring (13.1 ppg) and Alex Young (9.4 ppg, 3.9 apg) power the backcourt for the Anteaters with Starring serving as the only double figure on the roster. Young is the lead distributor for a team that ranks 19th nationally in assists (15.7 apg).
Warren Niles netted 24 points and Steven Roundtree (17 points, 11 rebounds) posted a double-double to lead four players in double figures in Oral Roberts' win over Texas-Arlington in the first round. The Golden Eagles were the superior team inside with a 42-34 edge in rebounds and 36 points in the paint. They also had an astounding 30-17 edge in points from the free-throw line.
Efficient shooting has been the norm for the Golden Eagles this season as they are shooting 46.2 percent from the floor, which ranks 40th nationally. That helps Oral Roberts put up a solid 70.7 points per game. Niles (19.2 ppg) is an extremely potent scorer and has dropped in at least 20 points in 16 games this season. Damen Bell-Holter (15.6 ppg, 9.5 rpg) is a double-double threat most nights, although he had just four boards in the win over Texas-Arlington. Shawn Glover (14.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg) is another stout scoring option, while Roundtree (9.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg) fills in the gaps in scoring and on the glass.
The skill and versatility in the frontcourt, especially from Davis, helped UC Irvine in the first round. Oral Roberts has the type of interior personnel to contend with the Anteaters in that regard and if Niles can keep scoring at a high level, ORU should move on.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oral Roberts 72, UC Irvine 65
03/25 10:33:46 ET