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PCAA Roundup : Anteaters Avoid Letdown, Take Second Place, 95-80

February 21, 1986|JIM McCURDIE and Nevada Las Vegas 92, New Mexico State 75--Freddie Banks scored 25 points to lead the 11th-ranked Rebels, who clinched a fourth straight PCAA title by coasting past the Aggies at Las Vegas. and The Rebels (26-3, 14-1) held the Aggies (15-9, 9-6) scoreless over a period of 5 1/2 minutes early in the game and scored 13 straight points for a 24-11 lead with 6 1/2 minutes left in the first half. and UNLV powered to a 43-21 halftime lead and led by as many as 28 points late in the game. and Eldridge Hudson scored 15 points, and Anthony Jones added 14 for the Rebels. and Gilbert Wilburn scored 22 points for New Mexico State. and Utah State 78, Fresno State 66--Sophomore Jeff Anderson scored 13 of his 20 points in the second half as the Aggies turned back the Bulldogs at Logan, Utah. and The Aggies (10-14, 6-9) hit on only seven field goals in the second half, two from three-point range, but made 20 of 28 free throws. and Fresno State (15-12, 8-8) never led but was pulled into a 51-51 tie with 9:24 left on two free throws by Marvin Carter. Anderson broke the tie with a 12-foot jumper and scored 11 of his points in the final nine minutes.

Bill Mulligan's greatest fear wasn't realized Thursday night. There were a few minor anxieties, maybe, but the letdown he feared never materialized.

Mulligan's UC Irvine team had a few days of back-patting after last Saturday's 99-92 upset of Nevada Las Vegas. But the Anteaters ended the celebration in time to score a 95-80 victory over last-place Cal State Long Beach Thursday night in a Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. game at Long Beach.

Senior forward Johnny Rogers had 29 points and 11 rebounds as Irvine (14-10 overall, 10-5 in the PCAA) took sole possession of second place. The Anteaters moved past New Mexico State, which lost at Las Vegas.

Long Beach (6-19, 2-12) might have been the ideal opponent for Irvine's return to earth. The Anteaters were able to get away with 23 turnovers.

Of course, good shooting didn't hurt. Rogers was 7 of 9 from the floor in the first half, leading UCI to a 50-37 halftime lead. The Anteaters shot 62.1% in the half, 53.3% in the game.

"One thing about shooting," Long Beach Coach Ron Palmer said. "It can solve a lot of problems. If they can shoot like that the rest of the way, they're going to be tough for anyone to handle."

Rogers has scored 91 points in his last three games, most from long range. He scored 41 against UNLV.

"I've never seen anything like it at Irvine," Rogers said. "People I don't even know are coming up to me and congratulating me. It sort of reminds me of high school. It's a good feeling."

Mulligan's only feeling before Thursday night's game was a sinking one. And now that it's over?

"Now, I'm starting to worry about Santa Barbara (Irvine's opponent next Monday night)," he said. "I don't want to be like (Jerry) Tarkanian. I want to be an optimist. I want to be happy."

Tod Murphy scored 14 points for the Anteaters despite early foul trouble. Guard Scott Brooks had 14, and Joe Buchanan had a season-high 13. Those were reasons enough for Mulligan to be happy.

Morlon Wiley returned to the 49ers' starting lineup and scored 22 points. Sophomore center DeAnthony Langston added 15.

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