High Point (17-13) at UC Irvine (20-15)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, March 20, 10:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bren Evens Center (4,984) -- Irvine, California. Television: None. CIT Record: High Point 0-0, UC Irvine 0-0. Series Record: UC Irvine leads, 1-0.
GAMES NOTES: The High Point Panthers and the UC Irvine Anteaters will meet up in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament at Bren Events Center on Wednesday night.
The second round matchup for the winner will be determined based on results from the rest of Wednesday's first round contests.
This season was one of the best ever for High Point which comes into this contest after compiling a school record 12-4 mark in Big South play while going 17-13 overall. The Panthers were upset in the Conference Tournament by eventual champion Liberty in a 61-60 heartbreaker but their play in the regular season was enough to get their first postseason appearance at the Division I level.
UC Irvine is making its first postseason appearance since 2002 after recording 20 wins in the regular season for the first time since 2003. Like High Point, the Anteaters have never played in the CIT as they ride into this contest with wins in eight of their last 10 games. However the most recent matchup ended in a 64-55 loss to Big West champion Pacific.
These teams last met during the 1999-00 campaign when UC Irvine grabbed a 74-69 victory while also serving as the host squad.
Faced with a six-point deficit with just under two minutes to play, High Point rattled off a 6-0 run to pull within a point with 40 seconds left against Liberty. However the Panthers were unable to get off a field-goal attempt in before time expired to take the loss.
Allan Chaney (14.4 ppg, 7.9 rpg) had another strong game in the loss to Liberty as he posted 17 points and nine rebounds. The 6-foot-9 forward has scored in double figures in four straight games and every contest since leading scorer John Brown (16.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg) was lost for the season with a broken right foot at the end of February. Adam Weary (10.0 ppg) is the only other player on the roster scoring more than seven points per game but the freshman guard managed just nine points on 2-of-10 shooting his last time out. The Panthers are scoring 71.7 points per game and shooting at a 45 percent clip as a team.
UC Irvine held Pacific to less than 40 percent shooting but managed to connect on just 35.8 percent from the floor itself in its loss to the Tigers. Daman Starring netted 19 points in the loss but deficits from the free-throw line (19-11) and on the boards (39-34) added up.
Starring (13.1 ppg) leads the way for the Anteaters as the only double figure scorer on the roster. However they are not a terrible offensive team just one that relies more on balance as opposed to individual scoring efforts. Five other players on the team are scoring at least 8.5 points per game with Adam Folker (9.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg) the next best option. Folker nets better than 50 percent from the field as does frontcourt running mate Will Davis II (8.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 2.4 bpg) who set a single-season record for blocks for the Anteaters. Alex Young (9.3 ppg, 4.0 apg) and Michael Wilder (8.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 3.0 apg) assist Starring in the backcourt.
Led by the inside duo of Wilder and Folker the Anteaters will be able to deal with Chaney opening up their talented backcourt to make plays. Plus it doesn't hurt that they will have the advantage of playing at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UC Irvine 71, High Point 64
03/20 10:31:29 ET