Utah State's Greg Grant came into Saturday night's game with UC Irvine averaging 24.7 points a game, on a pace to become the Pacific Coast Athletic Assn.'s career scoring leader.
Grant, a 6-7 senior, finished with 29 points, but most came long after UC Irvine's Tod Murphy and Johnny Rogers had found things to their liking against a Utah State team more concerned with scoring points than preventing them.
Murphy and Rogers combined to make 21 of 29 shots and score 50 points to lead the Anteaters to a 96-82 PCAA win before 1,243 spectators at Crawford Hall.
The win improved UC Irvine's record to 2-0 in conference play, 6-5 overall. Utah State has lost five straight and is 0-2, 4-7.
Murphy was 9 of 9 from the field in the first half, leading Irvine to a 53-35 halftime lead. He finished the game 13 of 16 with 29 points and a team-high 9 rebounds. Nearly all of Murphy's points came from close range.
Rogers continued his strong outside shooting and finished with 21 points on 8 of 13 shooting.
Grant, who had 36 points in Utah State's 100-94 double-overtime loss to Nevada Las Vegas Thursday night, was 13 of 21 from the floor and 3 of 8 from the free-throw line for 29 points.
But Irvine Coach Bill Mulligan wasn't exactly displeased with Grant's numbers.
"Grant's going to score against anybody," he said. "Grant's a big-time player. But so are Murphy and Rogers."
Murphy, coming off perhaps his worst game of the season Thursday, made it look easy against the Aggies. The Anteaters got him the ball inside in their half-court offense, and he put it in. That simple? Just about.
Utah State came into this game allowing an average of 88.9 points per game. In two PCAA games the Aggies have allowed 196 points.
"You can just run the break on them all day," Anteater guard Joe Buchanan said. "They're not a pressure defense team. It was easy to expose the inside game against them."