Game 13: UC Irvine

Tip-off: Thursday, 7pm @ Leavey
TV: WCCNetwork
Line: Torvik- a toss up, Irvine -0.6; ESPN- Irvine 56% win prob.

UC Irvine:
The Anteaters are 7-3 on the season, coming off a 83-71 win Saturday over South Dakota. They have wins over Oregon, LMU and New Mexico St.; losses to Pepperdine, SDSU and Fresno St.
Irvine’s strength is at the defensive end of the floor, ranked 40th on Torvik. No apparent defensive weakness, they hold teams to low shooting % from both 2pt and 3pt, and rebound well. Offensively, nothing remarkable, a little above avg. overall. The shoot 3’s at high %, but don’t attempt many.
They do appear to play a deep rotation of ~10 guys, and no one averages more than 25mins a game; complete opposite of the Broncos so late game fatigue could be a concern.
Top players appear to be:

  • 6-1 guard DJ Davis (16pts, 46% from 3, their top 3pt threat)
  • 6-4 guard Dawson Baker (13.6 pts, 35% from 3)
  • 6-2 guard Justin Hahn (9 pts, 47% from 3)
  • 7-0 center Bent Leuchten (7pts, 6.4 rebounds)
    Pacific transfer point guard, Pierre Crockrell, has started most of the season but not the most recent game; he’s very quick, leads them in assists but is not a perimeter threat (zero attempted 3’s).

This will be an interesting test for the Broncos. Irvine is solid across the board, doesn’t hurt themselves with turnovers, rebounds and plays good D.
Going to need good offensive nights from at least 2 of 3 of Podz, Justice and Stewart and need someone else to step up and chip in. I sound like a broken record, but we have to keep the TO’s to a reasonable #, we aren’t efficient enough offensively to overcome a rash of turnovers against a decent team and they rebound well so may not get many 2nd chance points.

Prediction: Broncos finally take care of the basketball and shoot it well enough to eke out a win, 76-73


Look at you with the optimism, 92. I love it.

I’m just gonna keep predicting that hypothetical complete game until it happens. 74-67 Santa Clara. Keshawn goes off for 24 points and 9 boards.

Speak it into existence…
Sooner or later that have to play a complete game, even if by luck/chance.


We always struggle against Irvine. FYI, they have a great coach, and he would now be at a high D1 program if he had made some better choices in the past.

Broncos are out of their temporary funk (2nd half SJSU, 1st PSU). Still not where they should be.

My Bronco Hoops partial Christmas wish list:

  • Play every possession as if it matters. This isn’t open gym. Don’t play the
    same when up by 5 as when you are up by 15. Change the pace frequently.

  • Guard beyond the arc. Throw in a press randomly, make it painful for the
    other team to get in their offensive set. They are doing it to us.

  • If you are 6’10’ or above, dunk the darn ball. I mean every time. You are
    bigger than everyone else, worst case you’ll go to the line.

  • Rebound and hold on to the ball - grab with authority. Too many lost balls
    last night.

  • Big men: Play like big men. Find 2-3 moves that are unstoppable, like a
    jump hook. Get rid of the happy feet and find contact. See above if over

  • Rotate more bench players into the game, their effort is infectious and in
    several games have provided a much needed spark.


Last four points sound like John Stege!

Swig, good wish list. May I add: watch old film of Vrankic to see how to use backboard in low post?

May I add, if you are a big and receive the ball high up in your outstretched arms, and you are within 5 feet of the basket, there is no need to put the ball on the floor for a meaningless one-bounce dribble that might get stolen or tapped by crashing defenders. Keep the ball high, step toward the hoop and bank it in or dunk it!

And I’ll go back to an old favorite: WWSLD? The answer was always “risk the offensive foul and DRIVE TO THE HOOP”


Late game fatigue is def going to be a concern. Same four players. Huge mins. Last two games we won - we would have lost if we went into OT.

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Agree, have shared the same concern.

It’s a vicious cycle…the bench, especially with Marshall injured, is young and inexperienced. They are going to make mistakes but they need court time to grow, when they don’t play much or play very inconsistent minutes then their growth is stunted which in turn makes the coaches more hesitant to play them or puts them on a short leash and they get yanked as soon they make a mistake.
The situation just gets worse as the season wears on as most coaches slowly tighten their rotation as the season progresses.

I’ve advocated for more PT for Tongue and especially for Knapper. Holt’s typical minutes are probably appropriate for how he’s performed. Akametu…I’m on the fence…I see the long term potential, he’s a fantastic athlete and good defender but still pretty raw on the offensive end of the floor.


I think one of the aspects of Tongue’s game is more of an intangible…the way he plays seems “infectious” on other players on the team…they see him play hard and aggressive and it compels them to up their games…just my observation in his limited minutes. But I got to see up close in the Bahamas, and I detected a palpable change in all the players on the floor when he was in the game.

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sorry, for those who didn’t get the reference, “WWSLD?” means “What would Scott Lamson do?”. He was one of my favorite SCU players to watch when I was a kid. I remember him getting called for offensive fouls (they called them “player control” fouls back then) more than anyone on the court when he played. Also, he started nearly every game all four years (81-85) that he played. If he saw an opening, even if it was tight, he went to the hoop hard. I think Tongue’s game could be like Lamson’s if he got some actual regular PT.


I feel on D we don’t play pick n roll very well. We fail to get over the top and the switch puts an opponents guard on one of our bigs. That sets up the drive by and finish at the rim or easy kick out to a 3pt make. Our last 3 games we have allowed over 40% from 3.
When we have the ball, our picks are weak, opponents get over and through easily and if needed they double Podz or Justice hoping we pass to one of our bigs who have trouble catching the ball, passing, or scoring.
If we don’t go to our bigs off the screen, we devolve into 1 on 1 late in the clock hard shots.
Ergo why our assist numbers are not trending up. The ball stops moving and it’s hard to score.

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Current line on ESPN: Broncos -2.5. Hope the oddsmakers are right!

I remember Scott Lamson. He was a good player and we were pretty good in the 80’s. Thanks for clearing up the WWSLD reference.

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Another slow start and I don’t know if we have ever beaten UCI. I don’t know why we were favored they are ranked well above us. Hopefully; we can pull it out with a strong second half. We have come from behind before and won close games, that is about all I can say that is promising.

We made offense look impossible the first 15 minutes, and then finally realized all we had to do was push the ball up the court and spread out 3 point shooters and let it fly. If a big can establish deep position before the catch like Bediako did early on, that is a good idea to compliment our 3 point shooters…but if they don’t catch the ball deep, then our bigs might as well immediately kick the ball out because those possessions otherwise end up in turnovers or long 2 attempts.

Best basketball we have played all year in this run to take us from down 11 to up 5 over a five minute stretch!


This is incredible. Stewart and Justice absolutely on fire but everyone playing really well in this second half. After we allowed two 3 pointers to start the half, I have never seen Sendek chew the team out so bad in the huddle before. They responded well. Tongue was fantastic and was on the court for the big run that gave us the lead. Very active. Finished through contact.


25 minutes of very good hoops.

If we just shoot 65% from 3 we should be golden.

Won the turnover battle by 8 and the barrage of 3’s from Justice and Stewart carries us and masks deficient areas elsewhere (outrebounded by 4).
Our defense was tighter for most of the 2nd half.

And the bench was better tonight, Tongue, Knapper and Holt all played well…they didn’t score much also didn’t make many mistakes and provided some energy. And better bench play and more minutes for them allowed the starters to have longer breathers…Stewart, Justice and Podz played 33mins each instead of the 36 to 39 they’ve played in other other games.