UC Irvine freshman point guard Jeff Gloger learned he would get his first start during practice earlier in the week. While the inexperience of only three collegiate games showed at times, Gloger played like a seasoned veteran when the Anteaters needed him Saturday night.
Gloger scored all 11 of his points in the second half to help Irvine to a 74-69 victory over a short-handed Pepperdine squad in front of 1,866 at Firestone Fieldhouse.
The Anteaters (1-2) got their first win by relying on their youngsters down the stretch. Freshman guard Mike Efevberha had a key tip-in and two free throws in the last 2:05 and Gloger's layup with 54 seconds left gave Irvine a 70-66 lead.
"I was certainly nervous at first," Gloger said. "As the game went on, my nerves went away and I got into the flow of the game."
Reserves Matt Okoro and Greg Ethington combined for 12 points and 13 rebounds against a Pepperdine squad still reeling from the loss of Will Kimble, its junior center who fainted in practice on Tuesday. Kimble may not play again after being diagnosed with hypertropic cardiomyopathy or excessive thickening of the heart muscle.
Without the 6-foot-10 Kimble, their only true inside presence, and injured 6-9 forward Glen McGowan, the Waves were forced to play 6-7 forward Boomer Brazzle out of position. Irvine got 12 of its 16 second-half field goals inside of five feet.
"They got everything they needed inside in the last six to eight minutes," Pepperdine Coach Paul Westphal said.
The Waves (0-2) were led by Jimmy Miggins, who had 17 points but made only five of 13 shots.
Despite an obvious inside advantage, Irvine's big men didn't play big. Center Adam Parada was in foul trouble all night and finished with nine points in 18 minutes. Starting forward Stanislav Zuzak went scoreless in 14 minutes.
The Anteaters managed to lead most of the game on the strength of Mike Hood's outside shooting and Efevberha's offensive play off the bench. Hood led the Anteaters with 17 points and Efevberha had 12.
San Diego 84, UC Riverside 64 -- Jason Keep and Jason Blair each scored 18 points to lead San Diego (3-0) at Riverside.
The Toreros made 15 of 15 first-half shots and shot 70% in the game.
Freshman Nate Carter scored 16 points for Riverside (0-2).
UC Santa Barbara 70, San Francisco 47 -- Branduinn Fullove scored 19 points and Nick Jones had 16 and 10 rebounds for the Gauchos (2-2) in a victory at Santa Barbara.
The Gauchos held the Dons (0-3) to under 30% shooting in each half and never trailed.
Wyoming 72, Loyola Marymount 65 -- Uche Nsonwu-Amadi had 23 points and 18 rebounds as the Cowboys (3-1) finished fifth in the Great Alaska Shootout at Anchorage.
Keith Kincade led Loyola Marymount (3-2) with 14 points. Charles Brown and Sherman Gay had 12 apiece, with Gay's all coming in the second half.