Taylor Johns hit a pair of free throws with 4:47 left in the first half to pull UC Riverside (5-11, 0-2 Big West) within 20-17, but Irvine then rattled off 13 straight points, capped by a three-point play by Best. The Anteaters never trailed again and took a 35-23 advantage into the break.
A Chris Patton jumper just over five minutes into the second half pulled the Highlanders within ten, 45-35, but UCI gradually pulled away and led by as many as 23 late in the game.
Luke Nelson scored 14 and Chris McNealy added 13 points for the Anteaters. Alex Young had eight assists.
Johns finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds and Sam Finley scored 13 for UCR, which shot 29.6 percent.