GOLETA, Calif. — UC Irvine's basketball team shot 38%, gave the ball away 19 times and took a seven-minute coffee break midway through the second half of a 93-75 loss to UC Santa Barbara Saturday.
Rumor has it, the Anteaters played 40 minutes of basketball. But that is rumor only, about as idle as Irvine was for a span of 7 minutes 11 seconds--the time it took Santa Barbara to turn a three-point game into a 23-point debacle.
Anteater forward Kevin Floyd sank one jump shot with 15:53 remaining and then hit another with 8:42 left. In between, Santa Barbara outscored Irvine, 20-0.
That's right, 20-zip. From 50-47 to 70-47.
Instant garbage time.
Even the Anteaters couldn't believe it.
"Twenty to nothing?" guard Scott Brooks said. "Really?"
Added a stunned Wayne Engelstad, the Irvine center: "I don't know if I've ever gone through anything like that."
By the time Engelstad and the Anteaters had completed this new life experience, Irvine's four-game winning streak and any lingering momentum from Thursday night's upset over Cal State Fullerton had dissipated. Santa Barbara used that burst, and an 11-0 surge early in the first half, to drop the Anteaters to 4-3 in the Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. and 9-7 overall. Santa Barbara is 2-2 and 7-6.
It was the Gauchos' biggest margin of victory in a conference game since an 87-65 defeat of San Diego State in 1973.
It came to pass largely because of the seven minutes Irvine spent in the Dead Zone.
While Santa Barbara hit eight of nine field goal attempts in that stretch, the Anteaters passed the time this way:
1. Brooks forced and missed a three-point shot.
2. Floyd missed a jumper in the lane.
4. Mike Hess missed a jump shot. Rob Doktorczyk grabbed the rebound and had his shot blocked.
5. Mike Warren had a shot blocked.
7. Another miss by Brooks.
9. Frank Woods had a shot blocked.
Finally, on their 11th possession, the Anteaters rediscovered the basket, with Floyd sinking a baseline jumper.
That cut Santa Barbara's lead to 70-49.
"Everything went poof ," Irvine Coach Bill Mulligan said. "That was just awful."
Mulligan wasn't to surprise to learn that the Santa Barbara blitz, for the record, had been 20-0.
"I figured at least that much," Mulligan said. "I've seen us have periods where we haven't scored for five or eight minutes before, but . . .
"It's hard to score when you're turning the ball over every time down."
Or when your leading scorer, Brooks, converts just 6 of 16 shots. Or when your big man, Engelstad, goes 2 for 9 and scores 4 points.
"We have one guy who's not shooting well right now," Mulligan said, alluding to Brooks. "It happened last year at this same time, too. He got tired. Last year, I could yank him, because I could go with (Joe) Buchanan and Hess."