The result was an all-out scrum for the ball, which seemed to change possessions half a dozen times in a matter of moments, until UCI corralled it long enough to call a time out. The Waves' chance to win without fouling had passed.
After the Anteaters converted one of two free throws, Pepperdine still had time to set up a tie. But Shaun Davis' baseline eight-footer bounced off, and Robert Turner did not have time to control the rebound, missing a follow-up dunk as time expired.
The Waves handled a similar situation beautifully at the end of regulation. Trailing 68-66, Alex Acker broke free for a 17-foot floater that tickled the nylon with 1.8 seconds to play. This was followed by a UCI inbounds pass that hit the scoreboard above center court before being tipped out of bounds by a Wave defender. Coaches and referees discussed the matter for several minutes before deciding, oddly, to simply call the play over and head to overtime.
Acker's career-high 32 points weren't enough to counter the Anteaters' balanced attack. Adam Parada scored 21 points, Stanislav Zuzak added 20, and Jeff Gloger added 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Terrance Johnson, the only player on either side to play all 50 minutes of the marathon game, scored 14 points for the Waves. Keith Jarbo led a spirited Waves comeback late in regulation and the first overtime, and finished with a career-high ten points.
Davis shot 1-15 from the field in what will most likely be the worst offensive game of his career.
Plaguing the Waves yet again was poor shot selection down the stretch. Johnson, Acker, and Davis were all guilty of rushing three-point shots early in the shot clock with the Waves tied or leading in late-game situations. The sequence was very reminiscent of the Waves' loss at Oklahoma State earlier this season.
Fouls also contributed to the Waves' undoing. Glen McGowan fouled out with several minutes left in regulation, and Jesse Pinegar joined him on the bench during the first overtime. UCI attempted 33 free throws to just 14 for the Waves, although the Waves made the most of their opportunities, converting all but one.
The team seemed to have diligently worked to correct many of the issues that were of concern in other recent games. The rebounding battle was fought to a virtual standstill, with Irvine narrowly leading 37-34. The Waves also played with much more heart and intensity than they had shown in previous losses to Maryland and Cal State Fullerton.
With the loss, the Waves finish their annual tour of local Big West rivals at 1-3. UC Santa Barbara, Cal State Fullerton, and UC Irvine combined to defeat the Waves by a total of just nine points. Added to the two-point setback in Stillwater, OK, just eleven total points stand between the 3-6 Waves and a 7-2 record. In all four of these games, the game was tied with less than 30 seconds to play.