They're BAAAaaaaak!

Do you remember the movie Poltergeist? It was the one with the little blonde girl who could hear voices coming from the snow plastered TV screen? You just knew something bad was going to happen when she turned around and said, "They're bAAAAaaaak".

Two years ago, Utah State was riding a 30+ game home win streak when UCI came into town. What would become known as the "Jerry Green Dagger" ended the winning streak that night in Logan. The next year would bring us the "Controversial Call" where Ross stepped in front of Gloger to draw a foul. The foul was called…..on Ross, and with Gloger's two free throws, the Anteaters stole another one in the Spectrum.

UC Irvine is back in town this Thursday night. The 9-7 (4-3 in conference) Anteaters come into Logan needing another win more than ever. With 3 conference losses, they are holding on by a thread for a chance at the top two seeds.

UCI is coached by Pat Douglass (471-195). Prior to the start of this season, Douglass was 95-77 at the head of UCI. He has led the Anteaters to 2 conference titles in the past 3 years. During those 3 years his team has gone 66-25 (.725).

The Anteaters are led by senior center Adam Parada who is averaging 27.9 minutes, 12.6 points per game, shooting 61% FG, and 74% FT. At 7'0 265 lbs, he is a key part of the Anteater offense AND defense. He has only fouled out twice this season, both games ending in a loss. He scored his season high 21 points in an 85-83 overtime win at home against Pepperdine.

UCI is also getting great things from sophomore guard Mike Efevberha. The 6'5 195 guard is averaging 13 points a game, shooting 44% FG, 81% FT and 43% 3-PT in 27.3 minutes a game. His 37 point season high came in an 84-67 home win against Arkansas Monticello.

Irvine's other guard is already famous with the Aggies. Jeff Gloger, 34.4 minutes per game, is off to a great sophomore season averaging 10.5 points per outing, shooting 49% FG, 72% FT and 38% 3-PT.

The Anteaters also get 27.6 solid minutes from senior Stanislav Zuzak. The 6'11 240 lb. forward averages 12.1 points a contest, shooting 50% FG, 60% FT and 43% 3-PT.

AggieSports Interview

AS: Who is the on and off court leader of this year's Anteater team?

Jkline: As a rule, Coach Douglass demands leadership from seniors, but this year, there isn't a clear-cut leader.

AS: Adam Parada has finally reached his senior season. He seams to always have great games against the Aggies. How is he playing this year and where has he made improvements?

Jkline: Parada commits fewer fouls, and has learned to manage his fouls since last year. As a result, he's in games longer, and is playing more aggressively, particularly on defense. He leads the BWC in blocked shots and he's the keystone of UCI's interior defense. When UCI positions Stan Zuzak (6'11") next to him on defense, it makes it tough for opponents to score inside. Offensively, Parada can't be guarded by a single defender in the low-post, because he has mastered hooks and turn-around jumpers at 7'0". Most opponents choose to double him or deny him the ball. This forces him to pass the ball, which is the weaker part of his game. He is a better passer facing the basket, and he has occasionally played the high-post where he gets more assists and can shoot 15-18 foot jumpers.

One of the keys to UCI's success against Utah State has been Parada's play. This is partly because Parada always brings his "A-game" against the Aggies, but there is a strategic cause, as well. Utah State has been reluctant to double Parada, and this helps Parada to establish himself early in the game.

AS: Gloger's numbers speak for themselves. What are the intangibles that he brings to the court?

Jkline: Gloger is a winner and he understands how to win. He compares to Branduinn Fullove and Spencer Nelson as one of the very best competitors in the conference. He is one of the most exciting players to watch because he is always around the ball and always plays with courage and intensity. He is peerless as a rebounding point guard. Essentially, he has the size and strength to play as a small forward. He rebounds like a forward and can score around the basket like a forward. This year, he's made strides as a point guard. His assists are up and his turnovers are down. He still makes young mistakes as a passer (he's only a sophomore) but they seem to be diminishing in number as his experience increases. Gloger gets his share of steals, but on-the-ball defense is the weakest part of his game. He's also a reluctant perimeter shooter, though not incapable (38% 3-pt in limited attempts, 53% last year). A few aspects of his game need improving before he's a truly dominant player. At this stage, he's dominant in stretches, and arguably the best PG in the BWC.

AS: What are this year's team's strengths and weaknesses?

Jkline:

Strengths:

Interior defense
Size
Big men that can shoot
Tough Guards
Desire to win


Weaknesses:

Passing
Ball handling
Inconsistent performance of Seniors
Inexperienced Guards and Wings


AS: What are the 3 keys to a 3rd win in a row in Logan for Irvine?

Jkline:

i. Parada must stay out of foul trouble.
ii. Efevberha must play under control.
iii. Zuzak must cause match-up problems for Nelson and Harris.


Thanks to jkline, who studies math at UCI.

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