UC Irvine's basketball team came into Pauley Pavilion Thursday night and took charge. It set the pace and made UCLA play its game. The Anteaters said, "Run," and the Bruins said, "How far?" Irvine ran up 100 points, becoming the only opponent in the history of Pauley Pavilion to hit that mark.
There was just one catch. UCLA liked the pace. The Bruins' eyes lit up, and they started running and gunning, shooting a hot 64.9%.
When the nets finally stopped swinging, UCLA had a 116-100 victory.
Sophomore Trevor Wilson scored a career-high 25 points and grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds for the Bruins, to go with 7 assists, 2 blocked shots and 2 steals. He also contributed mightily to the Bruins' impressive shooting percentage. Wilson made 10 of his 14 shots.
Bruin guard Dave Immel left his slump behind and rolled up 23 points. And guard Pooh Richardson, who didn't have much in the way of numbers in a rout of Pennsylvania three nights earlier, had 22 points and 10 assists.
The Bruins loved it.
Dr. Seuss could write the commentary on this game: Run, run, run. Fun, fun, fun.
Wilson said, "I enjoy the up tempo. . . . This probably was my best game stats-wise, but stats don't say it all, all the time. Today's game was just up-and-down, run-and-gun. There's more to basketball than that."
But no one was denying that it made for a good show.
UCLA Coach Walt Hazzard said: "That was exciting, run-at-'em, slam-bam basketball. The faint of heart don't make it in a game like this.
"They definitely tested our conditioning. This game proves that we're in some kind of shape."
Immel said the Bruins set that kind of a pace in the summer when they play with Magic Johnson and some of the other Lakers. But he added: "We don't keep it up for so long."
The Anteaters played full speed ahead from start to finish.
Irvine Coach Bill Mulligan said: "Winning comes first, but I think you have to entertain when you play in Southern California. If you sit around (with the ball) for 40 minutes, who wants to watch you?"
Irvine, which dropped to 5-3, has trouble with this game plan only when it runs into a team that is more physical. Like Iowa. Or UCLA.
Mulligan said: "UCLA kicked our . . . . I'm not making excuses. We got out-physicaled. (Greg) Foster intimidated the hell out of us. So did Wilson. I guess we've got too many nice guys."
Wilson did look rather intimidating when, with 6:52 left in the game, he threw Kevin Floyd to the floor right in front of the Irvine bench.
Wilson said: "It happened pretty fast. He got a little excited and threw some elbows. I pushed him away, and he fell. It's OK now. We're friends. We play together in the summer."
Floyd said: "I was staggering back and I guess he thought I was trying to throw some 'bows. I was just trying to protect myself."
Not that it made much difference in the game. UCLA was up, 94-79, going into that stint. And all Irvine came away with was one point when Floyd made one of two free throws. Justin Anderson missed the shot for the technical and didn't make use of the extra possession.
The needless technical also caused Wilson to see this game as less than perfect. But he certainly was having himself a night up to that point.
He let it be known quite early that he would be asserting himself. A case in point: In the first half, Wilson stole the ball under the Irvine basket, swooped in to save it at the other end when Craig Jackson bobbled a pass, and made the soft jumper inside to put the Bruins up, 33-29.
That was just before the Bruins sprinted away to a 14-point lead with everyone pitching in, Immel even grabbing a string of defensive rebounds.
The Anteaters, who were led by Wayne Engelstad with 26 points, closed within 10 before the Bruins took off again. UCLA left the court at halftime with an 18-point lead. Irvine came within 10 at one point in the second half, too, but the Bruins were having too much fun to yield any more than that.
UCLA's record climbed to 3-4. The Bruins will go into their Pac-10 schedule, at California Monday and at Stanford Wednesday, with two straight victories.
And they can be sure they won't have too many games of this tempo in conference play.
Hazzard said: "This team has some good days ahead of it. We've had some struggles, but we'll grow from those struggles.
"We're getting ready to start the real season now. All the rest of this is laboratory time."
Irvine had won its only other game against the Bruins, at Pauley Pavilion in the first round of the 1986 NIT.