This is the time of the college basketball season when teams are trying to establish an identity. That doesn’t change, even if a Division I team is playing one in a lower division.
Such was the case Tuesday when UC Irvine hosted Chapman, a Division III school out of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Logic says the Anteaters roll to an easy victory, and they did, defeating the Panthers 91-52 at Bren Events Center. UCI (2-1) led 48-22 at halftime.
Tommy Rutherford led UCI with 19 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots. Brad Greene scored 15 points and Jonathan Galloway scored 11, with Greene blocking five shots and Galloway four as the three big men combined for 12 blocks.
Galloway led the way on the boards with 14 rebounds, with Greene getting 10. John Edgar Jr. contributed 12 points to the UCI cause.
The Panthers (0-1) got 11 points from Rob Nelson.
UCI got off to a bit of a slow start and was tied 2-2 with nearly 2½ minutes gone. But a four-point play by Evan Leonard and 3-pointer by Max Hazzard gave the Anteaters a 9-2 lead.
Chapman briefly slowed down what would be a first-half ambush when Daniel McCown made a 3-pointer, cutting the Panthers’ deficit to 9-5. But UCI embarked on a 17-4 run to lead 26-9 with 9:24 to play before the break.
Leading 26-12, the Anteaters went on a 9-0 that culminated with a layup by Rutherford for a 35-12 cushion. By then, it was obvious UCI wasn’t about to take it easy on a lesser opponent.
The Anteaters shot 48.6 percent in the half while holding Chapman to 29.6 percent. UCI also blocked seven shots in the first 20 minutes – Greene had three, Galloway and Rutherford two apiece.
More to come on this story.