Junior guard Eyassu Worku knocked down the game-winning jump shot with six seconds remaining to lift UC Irvine to a stunning 74-73 victory over Texas A&M Friday night at Station College, Texas.
Worku’s off-balanced basket capped a 14-point comeback and marked the Anteaters’ first lead of the second half. Aggies sophomore guard TJ Starks missed a 3-pointer before time expired.
Junior guard Max Hazzard matched his career high of five 3-pointers while scoring 19 points for UC Irvine (2-0). Senior guard Robert Cartwright added 10 points for the Anteaters, who shot 52.7 percent from the field and made 9-of-21 from 3-point range.
Junior forward Josh Nebo recorded 15 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots for Texas A&M (1-1), which missed its final five field-goal attempts. Sophomore guard Jay Jay Chandler added 12 points and freshman forward John Walker III and sophomore wing Savion Flagg had 11 apiece.
Texas A&M shot 36.4 percent from the field and was just 6-of-28 from behind the arc.
UC Irvine trailed 46-32 early in the second half but rallied to pull within 71-70 on a three-point play by senior forward Elston Jones with 2:50 remaining.
Senior forward Christian Mekowulu hit two free throws with 1:05 left to push Texas A&M ahead by three. Junior forward Tommy Rutherford hit a jumper 16 seconds later to again bring the Anteaters within one.
Starks missed a 3-pointer with 23 seconds left prior to UC Irvine’s winning possession.
The Aggies led by 14 after Flagg’s basket with 18:02 remaining before UC Irvine made a charge.
Hazzard’s layup capped a 10-2 surge as the Anteaters pulled with six.
Cartwright’s 3-pointer pulled UC Irvine within 53-49 with 11:56 remaining.
Nebo answered with a dunk as Texas A&M scored seven of the next eight points to push margin to 10 with 9:34 left. But the Anteaters answered with seven straight points to creep within 60-57 with 8:06 remaining.
A 3-pointer by Hazzard moved UC Irvine within 68-65 with 4:23 to play.
Texas A&M finished the first half with a 28-14 run to hold a 42-32 halftime advantage.
Hazzard connected on three 3-pointers in the first eight minutes as the Anteaters possessed an 18-14 edge.
The Aggies inched ahead at 22-20 on Nebo’s inside hoop with 8:54 remaining and later pushed the lead to 33-25 on a 3-pointer by Flagg with 4:28 remaining.
Chandler’s 3-pointer with one second left accounted for the 10-point lead at the break
—Field Level Media