Leonard scores 22 to carry UC Irvine past Cal Poly 82-76

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (AP) — Evan Leonard had a season-high 22 points as UC Irvine beat Cal Poly 82-76 on Thursday night to clinch the Big West Conference championship, the first time ever the Anteaters claimed back-to-back titles .

Eyassu Worku had 18 points for UC Irvine (20-10, 12-2), which earned its fifth straight victory. Tommy Rutherford added 16 points and Brad Greene had a career-high seven blocks.

Worku made 3 of 4 free throws in the final minute before Leonard drained the two clinchers with 12 seconds left.

Colby Rogers had 13 points for the Mustangs (7-21, 4-10), who have now lost five games in a row. Junior Ballard added 13 points. Job Alexander had 12 points.

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UC Irvine defeated Cal Poly 74-67 on Jan. 25. UC Irvine faces UC Santa Barbara at home on Saturday. Cal Poly takes on Long Beach State on the road next Thursday.

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