IRVINE (CBSLA) – The No. 13 seeded UC Irvine Anteaters, the only California school left in the NCAA tournament, have pulled off the upset, defeating the No. 4 seeded Kansas State Wildcats 70-64 Friday in San Jose.
It marks the school’s first ever win in NCAA tournament history. The Anteaters will face the winner of No. 5 Wisconsin and No. 12 Oregon in the second round Sunday.
Max Hazzard and Evan Leonard led the way for UC Irvine with 19 points each. Hazzard hit five 3-pointers, and Leonard was a perfect 9-of-9 from the stripe.
The Anteaters held the Wildcats to 37 percent shooting from the field and 29 percent from three-point range.
UC Irvine 4 1/2-point underdogs to Kansas State (25-8). Former President Barack Obama had predicted a UC Irvine victory, picking them to advance in his bracket.
The Anteaters qualified for the tournament for only the second time in school history with a 92-64 victory over Cal State Fullerton in the Big West Conference Tournament final Saturday night, extending their school-record winning streak to 16 games and improving to 30-5, increasing its school record for victories in a season.
UC Irvine’s other NCAA tournament appearance was in 2015 when it was the 13th seed in the East Regional and lost to fourth-seeded Louisville, 57-55, in a game the Anteaters led in the final minute.
UC Irvine had lost to Kansas State, 71-49, on Nov. 17, 2017 in Manhattan, Kansas as part of the Continental Tires Las Vegas Invitational. All 10 starters from that game remain with their teams.
There are four UC Irvine players whose fathers or grandfathers played in the NBA. Redshirt senior guard Spencer Rivers is a son of Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who played 13 seasons in the NBA.
Freshman forward JC Butler is a son of Caron Butler, who played 14 seasons in the NBA, including one with the Lakers and two with the Clippers.
Hazzard is a grandson of the late Walt Hazzard, who played 10 seasons in the NBA, including the first three with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Redshirt freshman forward Collin Welp’s late father Chris played three seasons in the NBA after being the University of Washington’s career scoring leader. He died in 2015 at the age of 51 from an apparent heart attack.
UC Irvine opened in 1965 and began competing on the Division I level in 1977.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)