Pacific Men's Basketball - UC Irvine 97, Pacific 86 (2OT)
The Tiger men's basketball team rallied from a 20-point first half deficit to force overtime, but dropped a 97-86 double overtime decision at UC Irvine on Saturday, Feb. 26. The Tigers dropped to 16-12 on the year and 8-6 in Big West Conference play. The Anteaters improved to 13-17 and 6-9 in league play.
Pacific took an early 7-2 lead behind five points from senior Sam Willard (Pierre, S.D.). UC Irvine came right back with a 13-2 run to take a 15-9 lead with 12:58 left in the half. A free throw from sophomore Allen Huddleston (Merced, Calif.) cut the lead back to 16-15 with 9:54 to play, but a four minute scoreless stretch by the Tigers ended up turning into a 14-0 Anteater run to give UCI a 36-19 lead with 3:16 to play. The Anteaters took a 20 point lead (42-22) after a Mike Wilder three-pointer with 1:43 left, but the Tigers scored the final seven points of the half to make it 42-29 at the break. Senior Terrell Smith (Federal Way, Wash.) scored six points in the final 1:05, leading the team with 12 points in the first half. UCI hit nine three-pointers in the first half, two over their average per game on the year.
After the Anteaters built the lead back up to 17 in the opening minute of the second half, junior Jose Rivera (Brentwood, Calif.) hit back-to-back three-pointers to cut the lead to 46-35 with 17:11 remaining. UCI took the lead back to 17 (52-35), but the Tigers continued to whittle away, chopping it down to 54-43 after an 8-2 run featuring three-pointers from Smith and senior Demetrece Young (Oklahoma City, Okla.). A three-pointer from Wilder made it 57-43, then the Tigers made another push with an 11-0 run to make it 57-54 at the 9:08 mark. Young and junior Chuck Coley (Palm Beach, Fla.) each scored five points in the stretch. UCI hit seven of their next eight free throws as the Anteaters built the lead back to eight (67-59) with 4:36 to play. With the Anteaters leading 71-65, Smith hit three-pointers on back-to-back possessions to even it up at 71-71 with :58 remaining. Daman Starring hit two free throws with :25 seconds left to give the Anteaters a two point lead (73-71). A turnover by Young and two more free throws made it a 75-71 UCI lead with :14 to go, but Young hit a three-pointer to cut it to 75-74 and four seconds remaining. Patrick Rembert hit a pair of free throws to make it 77-74, forcing the Tigers to go the length of the court in :04. Chuck Coley threw a pass to mid-court, finding Smith who passed to Huddleston. Huddleston was fouled attempting a game-tying three-pointer and hit all three shots to send the game to overtime.
In the overtime period, the Tigers took a 79-77 lead with 2:45 remaining after a pair of free throws from Huddleston for their first lead since the 14:21 mark of the first half. Baskets by Darren Moore and Eric Wise and free throw from Patrick Rembert made it 82-79 in favor of UC Irvine with :37 left. The Tigers ran the clock down and a three-pointer from Huddleston knotted it up at 82-82 with :04 left. Rembert's long three attempt was no good at the buzzer, setting up a second overtime period. Huddleston's last second three-pointer was Pacific's only field in both overtime periods as the team was 1-16 from the field in the extra time.
Moore had a three-point play with 4:11 to start the second overtime. Willard hit a pair of free throws to cut it to 85-84, but the Tigers wouldn't score again until the :30 mark of the contest as UC Irvine used an 11-0 run to take control with a 96-84 lead at the :40 mark.
Smith had a career-high 23 points to lead five Tigers in double figures. Young scored 16 points, all after halftime. Huddleston had 13 points on 10 of 11 free throw shooting. Rivera had 12 points from four three-pointers, while Willard collected his 17th double-double of the year with 12 points and 14 rebounds.
The Tigers are next in action on Thursday, Feb. 3 with a home game against Cal State Fullerton. Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. in the Alex G. Spanos Center. Tiger Alum Hue Jackson, the new head coach of the Oakland Raiders, will be signing autographs from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.