(here's Darren -- Spiderman -- Moore, UCI guard who gained some fame this week across the 'net for his tattoos)
Having a lack of success with successive Roadrunner road opponents, San Jose State faces a different member of the animal kingdom -- the anteater.
Of course, this can only mean UC Irvine in Orange County, the opponent Saturday night at 7 p.m. in the Bren Center.
Our best research indicates the diet of the four mammal species of the suborder Vermilingua is ants (duh) and termites, with no mention of a taste for Spartans. We'll take that as a plus.
A new UCI mentor has taken over -- Russell Turner -- who previously coached for the Golden State Warriors , plus Stanford and Wake Forest prior to that. He has yet to enjoy a full recruiting season but he and his staff initially reached out to the Bay Area as well as France in stocking the current roster.
UCI Record To Date
11/08/10 @ Illinois L, 79-65
11/13/10 @ USC L, 62-49
2K Sports Classic Coaches vs. Cancer
11/19/10 vs. Navy W, 75-60
11/20/ vs. Seattle University W, 85-77
11/21/10 vs. Louisiana Tech L, 76-72
11/27/10 @ Marist W, 77-56
12/01/10 @ San Diego W, 90-82
In that last game, two Irvine players performed very well on the road:
"Senior guard Darren Moore scored a career-high 30 points to lead UC Irvine over San Diego, 90-82, at Jenny Craig Pavilion Wednesday night. Moore added 11 rebounds for his third double-double of the season along with four assists and four steals. He was 9 of 9 from the field, including 3 of 3 from three-point range, and 9 of 12 from the free-throw line. Senior guard Patrick Rembert scored 18 points and added three steals as UCI (4-3) won for the fourth time in the last five games."
The Anteater Starting Five
* Patrick Rembert 6-foot-0 (13 ppg, shooting 38%, 17/16 assist-to-turnover ratio)
* Daman Starring 6-foot-3 4.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg)
* Darren (Spiderman) Moore 6-foot-3 (team-leading 17 ppg, shooting 50% overall, 45 free throw attempts already, team-leading rebounder at 6.7 a game, plus 15 steals)
* Eric Wise 6-foot-6 (9.7 ppg, shooting 46%, 6.3 rpg)
* Paval Losonsky 6-foot-9 (8.3 ppg., 5-11 on three-point attempts, 4.2 rpg)
Plus, backcourter Derrick Strings is a three-point shooter off the bench as two thirds of his shots have comes from distance.
Freshman Chris McNealy (son of the former Spartan) played 22 minutes against the Toreros and scored nine points. Let's see how much he is on the court versus SJSU.
Wise has been injured (hip flexor strain) but is now back. He'll be a load upfront and quite a difficult matchup for SJSU's frontcourt
So it's Darren Moore and Wise who will play the primary roles. Expect Calvin Douglas to be matched up often against Moore but it's anyone's guess as to who will receive the responsibility for dealing with Wise.
San Jose State beat Irvine twice last season -- 69-56 in Orange County and 78-68 at Walt McPherson Court. Wise scored a team-leading 15 points in the former and followed that with 31 against the Spartans on the road. Adrian Oliver totaled 31 and 29 points respectively in the two games.
The official UC Irvine roster (by position and alphabetical)
Derick Flowers 6-0 170 Guard SO
Emil Kim 6-5 205 Guard SR
Jonas Lalehzadeh 6-5 205 Guard JR
Darren Moore 6-3 190 Guard SR
Chris McNealy 6-3 170 Guard FR (San Ramon Valley HS)
Patrick Rembert 6-0 188 Guard SR
Brandon Scott 6-2 190 Guard SO (Archbishop Mitty HS) redshirting
Daman Starring 6-3 190 Guard SO
Derrick Strings 6-2 180 Guard JR
Mike Wilder 6-2 210 Guard SO
Adam Folker 6-9 225 Forward JR
Pavol Losonsky 6-9 235 Forward SR (Slovakia)
Kevin Mulloy 6-6 205 Forward FR
Eric Wise 6-6 240 Forward JR
Maxime Chupin 6-9 220 Center FR (France) (awaiting eligibility determination)
Peter Simek 6-9 240 Center SR (Slovakia)