If points were awarded on the basis of distance the ball traveled before going through the basket, UC Irvine would have won the Freedom Bowl basketball tournament championship by a couple of hundred points Saturday night at the Bren Center.
As it was, Irvine had to hold off a Manhattan College rally in the final minutes for an 86-83 victory before a crowd of 1,787.
Manhattan obviously saw Friday night's Irvine-Army game and the Cadets' baseline layup parade. Manhattan's shot chart looked as if somebody had dropped a cluster bomb on top of the basket. The Jaspers did not score a field goal from beyond five feet until guard Billy Wheeler, who led his team with 29 points, hit a 16-foot jumper with 2:38 left in the half. The Jaspers had 10 first-half layups.
The Anteaters' man-to-man pressure did cause 12 first-half turnovers, however, and the Jaspers shot just 43% from the field before the intermission.