Long Beach, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Chris McNealy scored 12 points for the UC Irvine Anteaters, who managed to hold off the Long Beach State 49ers, 46-44, in the Big West Conference opener for both teams at Walter Pyramid.
Alex Young contributed 11 points for UCI (10-7, 1-0 Big West), which has won three in a row, while Mamadou Ndiaye hauled in 11 rebounds.
For LBSU (4-11, 0-1), losers of back-to-back games, Travis Hammonds matched a game-high with 12 points and Tyler Lamb pitched in with 11 points.
UCI shot just 36 percent from the field in the first half, while LBSU was even worse at 31.3 percent. The 49ers attempted seven more field goals, however, and carried a 24-23 lead into the break.
The shooting woes continued after halftime, as neither side shot greater than 32 percent from the field over the final 20 minutes. The Anteaters used a 15-4 run early in the second half to extend their lead to 12, and while the 49ers climbed back to make their deficit just one on two separate occasions, they could never overtake the lead.
UCI overcame a game-high 15 turnovers by outrebounding LBSU, 42-35.