Pacific Men's Basketball - Long Beach State 68, Pacific 61
The Tiger men's basketball team dropped at 68-61 decision to Long Beach State in the semi-final round of the Big West Tournament on Friday, March 12. Pacific finished the regular season 20-11, while Long Beach State improved to 17-15 on the year.
The Tigers started out with a fast 4-0 lead, getting baskets from seniors Michael Nunnally (Stockton, Calif.) and Joe Ford (Altadena, Calif.) in the opening three minutes. LBSU then outscored the Tigers 8-2 before a pair of free throws by junior Sam Willard (Pierre, S.D.) evened it up at 8-8 with 13:37 to play in the half. The 49ers then went on a 13-3 run, getting three-pointers from Stephen Gilling and Greg Plater to take a 21-11 lead with seven minutes to play in the half. The 49ers scored 14 points off of nine Tiger turnovers to take a 34-21 halftime lead.
Long Beach State took it's largest lead of the game (46-30) with with 15:47 to play after a layup by Larry Anderson. The Tigers then went on an 11-0 run over the next four minutes, getting three-pointers from Willard and freshman Allen Huddleston (Merced, Calif.), and a three-point play from junior Terrell Smith (Federal Way, Wash.). With the lead cut to 46-41, the 49ers took it back to 54-41 with 8:45 to play after an 8-0 run. The Tigers battled back again, getting five points from Huddleston in a 10-0 run to make it 54-51 with 4:33 to go. A three-pointer by Gilling gave LBSU a 59-53 lead with 3:27 to play, but junior Pat Eveland responded with a trey on the other end to cut it to 59-56 with 2:41 to play. Four straight points from Casper Ware took the lead to seven (63-56) with a minute to go, and the 49ers hit five of eight free throws in the final minute to seal the win.
"I thought we were very tentative in the first half, which is out of character," said Tiger head coach Bob Thomason. "We finally pushed back later in the game. In what could have been the last game, you do funny things."
Ford led the Tigers with a career-high 16 points, adding eight rebounds and a career-high tying four steals. Willard added 13 points with eight boards and Huddleston pitched in 12 points off the bench.
Pacific will find out about the possibility of postseason play on Sunday evening.