Tigers Drop Home Contest To Western Michigan

Dulani Robinson (photo by Keith Sanpei)
Dulani Robinson (photo by Keith Sanpei)

Stockton, Calif. - The Pacific men's basketball team rallied late but fell to Western Michigan 80-72 on Sunday, Dec. 14. The Tigers dropped to 6-4, while the Broncos improved to 6-3.

"Tonight was a tough loss," said Head Coach Ron Verlin. "There were a lot of missed opportunities in the game, but we'll rebound this week in getting ready for Nevada and Fresno State. I was happy with the way we battled back in the second half, but we can't dig ourselves a hole like that with so many turnovers."

The Tigers took a 3-1 lead after a three-point play by David Taylor. Western Michigan then outscored the Tigers 11-2, taking advantage of six turnovers by Pacific to lead 12-5 with 14:55 to play in the half. Gabriel Aguirre made his first appearance since the second game of the year, scoring four points in a an 8-2 stretch that pulled the Tigers to within one (18-17) with 9:23 to play. A layup by AJ Avery finished a string of seven straight by the Broncos to extend the lead to 27-19. Dulani Robinson then hit three straight three-pointers as part of an 11-6 stretch by Pacific to make it a three point deficit (33-30) with 3:51 to go. WMU took it back to 36-30, but a layup by Aguirre and a three-pointer from T.J. Wallace cut it to 36-35 with just a minute left in the half. The Broncos hit three of four free throw attempts to finish the half with a 39-35 lead.

In the first three minutes of the second half, the Broncos took the lead to eight (45-37), but four free throws from Pacific brought it back to 45-41. WMU continued to answer Tiger runs, keeping the lead between six and eight over the next 10 minutes until a three-pointer by Robinson cut it to 60-57 with 7:23 to play. Three-pointers by Austin Richie and David Brown gave the Broncos a 66-57 lead at the 6:35 mark, their largest lead of the game. Four Tigers scored in a 9-0 run, capped by a pair of free throws by Wallace evened it up at 66-66 with 4:52 to go. WMU then scored four straight from the free throw line to make it 70-66, before Aguirre answered with a layup to get it back to 70-68 with just over three minutes to play. Another three-pointer from Brown was followed by a layup from Wallace to keep it close at 73-70. Brown hit another three-pointer to make it 76-70. Wallace again rebounded with a putback to pull within 76-72. After a hold on defense, the Tigers missed a couple of opportunities on the offensive end and WMU hit four free throws to seal the win.

Robinson scored 23 points with five three-pointers to lead the Tigers. Wallace added 15 points and a team-best six rebounds. Taylor added 11 points. The Tigers were out-shot from the field 56.0%-44.9%, but out-rebounded the Broncos 28-27. Pacific had a season-high 20 turnovers that WMU turned into 33 points, holding a 33-12 advantage in points off of turnovers.

Pacific is next in action with a home game against Nevada at the Alex G. Spanos Center on Thursday, Dec. 18. Game time is set for 7:00 p.m.