Five things from UC-Irvine vs. Cal State Fullerton

UC Irvine (9-8, 2-1 Big West) defeated Cal State Fullerton (8-9, 0-2 Big West), 63-58, on Thursday night at Titan Gym. It was the 100th meeting between the schools. The Anteaters are now 53-47 all-time against the Titans and have won six straight in the series. Here’s five things we learned from meeting No. 100:

 

Luke Nelson is back

After missing six games with a facial fracture, the reigning Big West Freshman of the Year was back in the lineup for the Anteaters on Thursday night. He played 20 minutes off of the bench and had five points to go along with two assists. Nelson also had a steal. Although Nelson’s return boosted the backcourt, the front court took a hit with the absence of 7’6" sophomore Mamadou Ndiaye who sat out with a foot injury.

Will Davis II can jump

The UC Irvine senior said during the the broadcast on Prime Ticket, following the Anteaters 63-58 win, that he told himself if he ever got the chance in a game to do a windmill dunk he would do so. He got the opportunity in the first half for two of his game-high 21 points. It was part of a first half of high flying exploits for the senior.

Full court press vs UCI

Last week on Prime Ticket Long Beach State had a successful comeback effort against UC Irvine due in part to a full court press implemented in the second half. Fullerton’s comeback bid fell short but they were able to get back into the game thanks to a full court press of their own. UCI committed six of its 10 turnovers in the second half including three late in the game in its own backcourt. Handling the press should be a point of emphasis going forward.

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No PG for CSF

The Titans have a wide open, free-flowing offense. What they don’t have is a true point guard. It shows when they have stretches like they did in the first half when they’re turning the ball over constantly. The Titans had 11 first half turnovers that led to 19 UCI points. Alex Harris has filled in valiantly but isn’t a true point guard. Lanerryl Johnson is more of a scorer than a true point and Sheldon Blackwell hasn’t assumed that role like the Titans staff thought that he could going back to last season.

Lanerryl Johnson can score

Cal State Fullerton head coach Dedrique Taylor said Lanerryl Johnson is the type of player who can go on runs all by himself. He battled a shoulder contusion suffered in the second half but was instrumental in the Titans comeback effort. After trailing by 16 at the half, Cal State Fullerton got to within three but fell short. Johnson finished with 14 points. Nine of those came in the second half as the Titans ran their offense through him late.