Eastern will play Anteaters on Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. Pacific time
The Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team will play at Big West Conference foe UC Irvine on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. as part of the Sears ESPN BracketBusters announced Monday (Jan. 30). Tip-off will be 7 p.m. Pacific time at the Bren Events Center in Irvine, Calif.
The game will feature two of the top three-point shooting teams in NCAA Division I, as the Eagles currently average 9.3 per game to rank fourth. The Anteaters are 48th with a 7.8 average, having made 164-of-458 for 35.8 percent. On pace to set school records for 3-pointers made and attempted, Eastern has drained 204-of-569 for 35.9 percent.
The Anteaters are currently 8-13 overall and 4-4 in the Big West Conference. They are coached by Russell Turner, who is in his second season at the helm after finishing 13-19 a year ago.
UC Irvine ranked 33rd (out of 336 teams) in NCAA Division I last season in scoring offense at 75.3 points per game, which led the Big West Conference and was the program's highest average in 16 seasons. This season, the Anteaters are averaging 66.9 per game.
The Anteaters are led by Michael Wilder, a 6-foot-2 junior guard from Long Beach, Calif., and Daman Starring, a 6-3 junior guard from Las Vegas. Both are averaging 11.5 points per game, and have combined for an average of 9.5 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.0 steals per game. Wilder has made 52-of-135 (38.5 percent) 3-point attempts, and Starring has made 35-of-86 (40.7 percent). Five other players average between 6.0 and 8.6 points per outing.
UC Irvine is 2-2 and EWU is 1-3 versus common opponents. Eastern defeated UC Davis on Nov. 27 by a 79-59 score and UCI defeated its Big West rival 70-55 on Jan. 7. Both the Eagles and Anteaters lost to UCLA (EWU 60-47 and UCI 89-60), and both were defeated by Weber State (EWU 76-69 and UCI 80-72). The only difference is that EWU lost at Seattle 91-78 on Jan. 16 and the Anteaters won at home versus the Redhawks by a 78-67 margin on Jan. 24.
Eastern is 3-3 all-time against UC Irvine, having lost the first three meetings and winning the last three. The teams last met in the 2008-09 season when they had a home-and-home series against each other. Eastern won 74-69 in Irvine on Nov. 19, 2008, then won again 11 days later in Cheney, Wash., by a 78-64 score.
As part of the Sears ESPN BracketBusters agreement, UC Irvine will play in Cheney in the 2013-14 season.
Eastern is currently 4-5 in the Big Sky Conference and 10-12 overall heading into games this week versus Northern Arizona and Sacramento State.
Series Results . . .
12/28/86 - L - UC
Irvine - 68-97 - 4
12/13/88 - L - UC Irvine - 101-112 - A
12/9/95 - L - UC Irvine - 66-86 - A
12/4/96 - W - UC Irvine - 80-53 - H
11/19/08 - W - UC Irvine - 74-69 - A
11/30/08 - W - UC Irvine - 78-64 - H
4 -- Anteater Classic
BIG SKY CONFERENCE BRACKETBUSTER MATCHUPS
Eastern Washington at UC Irvine
Idaho State at Pacific
Hawai’i at Montana
Montana State at Cal State Fullerton
UC Davis at Northern Arizona
Cal Poly at Northern Colorado
Portland State at Idaho
San Jose State at Sacramento State
UT-Arlington at Weber State (ESPN3)