Austin, Texas – Pacific dropped a 78-49 decision to No. 5 ranked Miami on Friday, March 22nd in an NCAA Tournament Second Round matchup at the Frank Erwin Center. The 15th seeded Tigers finish the season with a record of 22-13. Miami, the No. 2 seed, improved to 28-6 with the victory.
"It's been a great experience for us, even though we didn't play particularly well tonight," said Tiger head coach Bob Thomason. "I'd like to congratulate Miami on advancing. I'll be rooting for them rest of the time. Sometimes you have those moments where you just don't perform very well, and that was us tonight. So if I had to take a bad game in the last four, I would take tonight over the last three, because we got here and I'm really proud of that for the kids."
When coach Thomason was asked how he's going to feel not coaching, he didn't have an immediate answer. "I've coached for 42 years, I'm not sure how I'm going to feel not coaching. I'm looking forward to it. I know I've got a bunch of tapes and a bunch of stuff to start exercising, and eating better pretty quick. My wife (Jerri) says when are you going to open that box and I said well when the season is over. So I'm sure that she will have that box open by the time I get home. I told her I would take three months to figure out things you might want to do or not do. But, I'm really looking forward to it."
Pacific scored first on a layup by junior Khalil Kelley. The Hurricanes went up 8-4, but Kelley converted a short jumper and free throw for a three-point play to make it 8-7 with 14:35 to play in the half. The Tigers then got stuck at the seven point mark, as six Miami players scored in a 14-0 run that gave the Hurricanes a commanding 22-7 lead with 7:30 to play. A Kelley dunk sparked a 4-0 spurt for the Tigers that made it 22-11, but Miami answered with a 14-2 stretch that pushed the lead to 23 (36-13) with 1:42 to play. Senior Markus Duran hit a three-pointer at the halftime buzzer to make it 40-19 at the break.
After a rough first half from the field, senior Travis Fulton hit a pair of three-pointers on consecutive trips to make it 47-27 with 15:58 to play in the game. Miami then hit four-straight three-pointers to account for a 12-2 run and take a 59-29 lead with 11:47 to go. The Tigers had their own 6-0 run capped by a three-pointer from Duran, as Pacific cut it to 59-35. After the Hurricanes pushed it back to 71-40, Fulton hit another three three-pointers in a row to make it 73-49. Miami scored the final five points for the ending margin.
Fulton led the Tigers with 18 points, 15 of which were scored in the second half. Kelley scored 11 points. It was Kelley's sixth game with double-figure points and first since scoring 12 against Cal State Fullerton on Jan. 26, 2013.
"I think we got some pretty good looks, we just weren't knocking down the shots like we know we can," said Fulton, on the Tigers getting off to a poor start shooting in the first half.
The Tigers shot just 33.3% from the field and 34.6% from three-point range. Miami shot 46.2% from the field, but the Tigers held Miami to just 40.0% from inside the arc. Pacific was out-rebounded 41-28, but each team had 10 offensive rebounds.