How do you turn around a season on the brink of disaster? For UC Irvine, it has been as easy as two-three.
The Anteaters were 0-6 in the Big West before they "discovered" the 2-3 zone. You know, that defense your favorite high school team plays all the time, three guys underneath the basket along the baseline and two on the ends of the free-throw line.
Simple? Yes. And, for Irvine, very effective.
The Anteaters unveiled the defense after one day of practice and played it the entire game to beat San Jose State last Sunday. They used it the whole game against Long Beach State on Thursday night and beat the 49ers at home for the first time in seven years. And Saturday, they played it all night with the exception of two possessions and made it three in a row with a 62-58 victory over UC Santa Barbara in front of 2,918 in the Bren Center.
The Gauchos, 9-7 and 4-4 in the Big West, had won all eight games they had played in the Bren since it opened in 1987, but the Anteaters (7-9, 3-6) opened an 18-point lead and held on.
Raimonds Miglinieks led Irvine with 15 points and five assists.