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UC Irvine Sets Aside Run-and-Gun Offense for Tonight's Game With Nevada Las Vegas

February 04, 1988|JOHN WEYLER

UC Irvine's basketball team may be slowing down.

"We might not run as much in the future," said Coach Bill Mulligan. We're more suited to being a half-court offensive team. It just took me a long time to realize it. Before Saturday's game, I told the team we're gonna live and die with Wayne (Engelstad) from now on."

The tactic certainly was successful Saturday. Engelstad, a 6-8 senior center, scored 40 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as Irvine (10-8 overall and 5-4 in Pacific Coast Athletic Assn.) beat New Mexico State, 79-62.

Irvine probably will need big nights from everyone to beat No. 2-ranked Nevada Las Vegas (19-1, 8-1) tonight in the Bren Center, however.

Irvine players think this UNLV team has better athletes--if not better basketball players--than last year's Final Four squad. Forwards Jarvis Basnight and Gerald Paddio continue to wreak inside-outside havoc. Basnight, who leads the nation in field-goal percentage (.724), is averaging 15 points and 7 rebounds. Paddio, who has made almost twice as many three-pointers (75) as anyone in the conference, is averaging 20 points and 5 rebounds.

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