Best scores 20, UC Irvine rallies to beat UC Riverside 76-66
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — Mike Best scored 20 points and UC Irvine rallied from a 10-point, second-half deficit to beat UC Riverside 76-66 on Saturday in a Big West Conference regular-season finale.
UC Irvine ended up as conference co-champion with Hawaii after the Rainbow Warriors’ 74-72 loss to Long Beach State later Saturday.
The Anteaters (24-8, 13-3) trailed UC Riverside 62-52 with 7:46 to go but outscored the Highlanders 24-4 the rest of the way to take their 14th victory in their last 17 games as they prepare to enter the conference tournament as the No. 2 seed.
Luke Nelson added 18 points and Alex Young 14 for UC Irvine, which shot 61 percent. Mamadou Ndiaye had 10 rebounds and the 7-foot-6 center picked up his 209th block to become UC Irvine’s all-time leader, passing Will Davis II.
Jaylen Bland scored 15 points for the Highlanders (14-18, 5-11), who have lost seven of their last eight games and will be the sixth seed.
The Anteaters led 32-26 at halftime. UCR made eight 3-pointers, all in the second half.