UC Irvine Pregame

Vs. Cal State Northridge

Saturday 7:30 p.m. at Cal State Northridge

The Big-West-Conference-leading UC Irvine men's basketball team has won five straight and 11 of its last 13 heading into Saturday's contest with the Matadors.

UCI (18-9, 9-2 in conference) maintains a one-game lead over UC Santa Barbara, and a 1.5-game edge over Long Beach State.

UCI earned an overtime win at Hawaii to open the road trip on Thursday and will be trying to maintain its perfect record in six February games.

After Saturday, the Anteaters will not leave Orange County in their final four games, playing UCSB, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and UC Davis at home, and visiting Cal State Fullerton to complete the regular season.

UCI won the first meeting between the two teams, 72-66, at the Bren Events Center on Jan. 23.

UCI is led by the balanced starting lineup of freshman guard Luke Nelson (12.1 points per game), senior guard Chris McNealy (11.6), junior forward Will Davis (10.3), sophomore guard Alex Taylor (8.9) and 7-foot-6 freshman center Mamadou Ndiaye (8.5).

Cal State Northridge, under first-year head coach and former NBA star Reggie Theus, is led by junior forward Stephen Maxwell (27.6 points per game), junior swing man Stephan Hicks (16.6) and senior guard Josh Greene (15.3).

— Barry Faulkner