Pacific Men's Basketball - Pacific 61, UC Irvine 50
The Pacific men's basketball team used another strong defensive effort to come away with a 61-50 victory at UC Irvine on Thursday, Jan. 28. With the win, the Tigers improved to 13-6 overall and 6-1 in Big West Conference play. The Anteaters dropped to 9-10, 3-6 in league play.
Eric Wise scored on a free throw during UC Irvine's first possession, but the Tigers scored two baskets in a row to take a 4-1 lead and did not trail the rest of the half. With Pacific leading 11-9, senior Lavar Neufville (Fairfield, Calif.) came off the bench to spark a 12-2 run to give the Tigers a 23-11 lead with 7:17 to play in the half. The Anteaters cut the lead back to 25-17, but the Tigers pulled back ahead 37-22 after a 12-5 run with five points from senior Joe Ford (Altadena, Calif.) leading the way. Pacific led 39-27 at the break.
The Tigers maintained a double-digit for most of the second half, answering back the first time that UC Irvine cut the lead to nine. With Pacific leading 57-44 at the 4:19 mark, the Anteaters went on their strongest run. UC Irvine used a 6-0 run to cut Pacific's lead to 57-50 with 1:40 to play. The Tigers hit four free throws and held UC Irvine scoreless the rest of the way for the victory.
Ford led the Tigers with 12 points. Junior Terrell Smith (Federal Way, Wash.) had 11 points and a team-best six rebounds. Senior Michael Nunnally (Stockton, Calif.) added 10 points, his third straight double-figure game. The Tigers out-scored UCI 30-16 in the paint, and shot 59.2 percent (16-27) from inside the three-point line.
Pacific is next in action on Saturday, Jan. 30 at UC Riverside. The game will be televised nationwide on ESPN2, with a special start time of 5:00 p.m.