Tigers Drop 73-69 Decision At Home
The Pacific Tigers dropped their sixth straight decision in a difficult loss to the UC Irvine Anteaters on Thursday, January 5 at the Alex G. Spanos Center. With the loss, the Tigers fall to 4-9 and 0-2 in Big West Conference play, while the Anteaters improve to 5-10, 2-1 in league play.
Pacific took an early 3-0 lead off of a three from junior Markus Duran, less than thirty seconds into the game. After a three from UC Irvine's Michael Wilder, junior Travis Fulton converted two straight offensive rebounds to give Pacific the 7-3 lead. Two Tiger baskets gave Pacific an 11-6 lead before UC Irvine's Wilder scored his third three-pointer of the game to make it 11-9. A 7-2 run put Pacific up 18-11, highlighted by Duran's second three-pointer of the half. The Tigers took a 35-27 lead with 6:04 left (their largest of the game), following an 8-2 run that was led by three points from junior Ross Rivera. The Tigers were unable to pull away from UC Irvine as two straight layups from the Anteaters cut the Pacific lead in half, making the score 35-31 with 5:13 left in the half. UCI finished the half on a 7-3 run, shaving Pacific's lead to one as the Tigers headed into the half leading 42-41.
Fulton dropped in two straight three-pointers to give the Tigers a 48-43 lead. After Wilder responded to Fulton with a three-pointer of his own to make it 48-46 with 18:32 on the clock, neither team scored until 15:57 when junior Andrew Bock dropped in a pair of free throws. Duran added to the lead, dropping in a trey to give the Tigers a 53-46 advantage. The Anteaters knotted it up at 57-57 with 11:13 to play after an 11-4 run. Duran gave the Tigers a 60-57 lead on his fourth three-pointer of the night, but two consecutive Anteater jumpers gave UC Irvine their first lead of night at 61-60 with 9:06 left in the game. A quick 6-0 run by the Tigers including shot-clock beating shot from beyond the arc and a free throw by Rivera gave the Tigers a 66-61 lead. UC Irvine responded with five straight to tie the game for the third time at 66-66 with 4:34 left on the clock. A tip-in from UC Irvine's Adam Folker gave the Anteaters a 68-66 lead before Rivera tied the game with a jumper from just inside the arc. Folker went 1-for-2 from the line to give UC Irvine a 69-68 lead before Rivera tied the game yet again with his own free throw, knotting the game up at 69-all with 1:13 remaining in the game. Pacific would not score again, though, as Folker scored on a layup with a minute left and Derrick Flowers hit a pair of free throws with :11 seconds left seal it.
Fulton recorded his first career double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Junior Markus Duran posted 15 points and juniors Ross Rivera and Trevin Harris rounded out the players who scored in double digits, scoring 12 and 10 points, respectively. Pacific outscored UC Irvine 14-9 off of second-chance points and 12-7 off of turnovers.
UC Irvine finished the game shooting 50.0 percent (14-28) from the three-point line, led by a 6-for-9 effort from beyond the yard from Wilder. The three-point total was two off of UCI's school record.
Pacific is back in action at home on Saturday, January 7 against UC Riverside. Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. at Alex G. Spanos Center.