Irvine, Calif. - Pacific picked up its second straight road win with a 72-64 victory at UC Irvine on Saturday, Feb. 4 in the Bren Events Center. The Tigers improved 9-13 on the season, 5-5 in Big West Conference play. UC Irvinee dropped to 9-14, 5-5 in league play.
"We played a great game tonight," said Pacific head coach Bob Thomason. "We hit our free throws and had great guard leadership down the stretch. I'm really proud of the guys."
The Tigers opened up the game with a 7-2 lead after a mid-range jumper and a three-pointer from junior Travis Fulton. Pacific built the lead to 18-9 with 9:03 to play in the half after a 7-2 run capped by a three-pointer from junior Markus Duran. The Anteaters cut it back to 20-16 after Will Davis scored four points in a 7-2 run of their own. Four points from sophomore Khalil Kelley in another Tiger push made it 28-19 with 3:44 to go in the half. A quick five points from UCI brought it back to 28-24, but Pacific took its largest lead (34-24) after back to back three-pointers from sophomore Ross Rivera. Junior Lorenzo McCloud hit a pair of free throws with a minute left to end the scoring for the half as the Tigers held a 36-28 lead.
A tip-in capped four straight points from Kelley as the Tigers pushed the lead back to 10 (42-32) three minutes into the second half. The Anteaters whittled away at the lead, as they scored 10 points from the free throw line in a 20-14 stretch that cut it to 56-52 with 8:44 remaining. Sophomore Trevin Harris answered with a three-pointer, but a layup by Adam Folker and a three-pointer from Derrick Flowers made it 59-57 with 7:29 to play. A short jumper and a three-pointer from Fulton gave the Tigers a 64-57 lead with 5:05 to play and Pacific would not lead by less than five the rest of the way. McCloud hit five of six free throws and Duran hit a pair in the final two minutes to clinch the victory.
Pacific was led by Fulton's 16 points and eight rebounds. McCloud added 15 points while Rivera pitched in 14 points. The Tigers shot 48.9 percent from the field, while holding the Anteaters to 36.8 percent from the field. UCI shot was just six for 35 from three-point range, but stayed in the contest with 22 second chance points. The Tigers had a season-low five turnovers.
The Tigers are next in action with a home game against Long Beach State on Thursday, Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m in the Spanos Center.