IRVINE – The Rainbow Warriors suffered their first conference loss Wednesday, losing to UC Irvine 68-64. Gib Arnold's team entered the contest unbeaten in Big West play, at 3-0, but a determined Anteater squad made sure it wouldn't be 4-0.
UH, which got another strong effort from Vander Joaquim, took a 35-30 lead in the second half. That would be their largest lead of the half. Irvine immediately responded with a 7-0 run to retake the advantage.
The two teams went back and forth down the stretch, with UH pulling ahead at 57-56 on an Isaac Fotu layup. However, the ‘Eaters responded once again, using an 8-0 run to take the lead for good.
Joaquim led the way with 15 points and 7 rebounds. Brandon Spearman and Christian Standhardinger each had 12.
The Rainbow Warriors will next play at Long Beach State on Saturday before returning to Hawaii.