Pacific Men's Basketball - Pacific 64, Nevada 53
The Pacific men's basketball team defeated Nevada 64-53 in the opening round of the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion on Monday, Nov. 15. The Tigers improved to 2-0, while the Wolfpack dropped to 1-1.
Senior Nyika Williams (Kingston, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) scored Pacific's first four points as the Tigers took a 4-2 lead two minutes into the first half. Sophomore Allen Huddleston (Merced, Calif.) and senior Demetrece Young (Oklahoma City, Okla.) hit three-pointers to cap an 11-3 run and give the Tigers a 15-7 lead. The Wolfpack then went on a 21-8 run to take a 28-23 lead with 4:00 to play in the first half. Pacific answered back with a 17-footer from senior Pat Eveland (San Diego, Calif.) and steal plus the lay-in from Young. Eveland dropped another mid-range jumper with a half minute remaining to bring the Wolfpack lead to 32-31 at the break.
"This was a good win," said Tiger head coach Bob Thomason. "We came out kind of slow to start the game, but picked it up in the second half. Nyika had a breakthrough game tonight."
Young scored five points in a 9-0 run to open the second half, as the Tigers took a 40-32 lead. That game-turning run proved to be the difference for Pacific, leading the rest of the way. After Nevada cut the Tiger lead back to six (44-38) on a bucket from Illiwa Baldwin, Pacific took a 10-point lead for the first time on pair of free throws from senior Sam Willard (Pierre, S.D.) and a 12-footer by senior Terrell Smith (Federal Way, Wash.). The Wolfpack made another run at the Tigers, getting a pair of three-pointers to cut the lead to 48-44 with 8:26 left. Pacific took the lead back to 10 with perfect trips to the line by Eveland (twice) and Willard to extend the lead to 10 (54-44) with 5:31 left and the lead did not fall below nine the rest of the way.
Despite shooting just 39.2 percent from the field, the Tigers made their first 12 free throw attempts, and connected on 19 of 20 to seal the game in the final minutes. Pacific held a 41-33 advantage on the boards and held Nevada to just 29.6 percent shooting in the second half.
Willard led the Tigers with 15 points and 15 rebounds. Young had 14 points and a pair of steals, while Williams added 10 points. Dario Hunt paced the Wolfpack with 12 points.
The Tigers are next in action Tuesday, Nov. 16 at 8:30 p.m. on ESPNU against the winner of the UCLA/Pepperdine game.