Tigers Edge Nevada 69-65

T.J. Wallace (photo by keithsanpeiphoto.com)
T.J. Wallace (photo by keithsanpeiphoto.com)

Stockton, Calif. - The Pacific men's basketball team defeated Nevada 69-65 on Thursday, Dec. 18. The Tigers improved to 7-4, while the Wolf Pack dropped to 2-8.

"I was so proud of the way we maintained our composure tonight," said Head Coach Ron Verlin. "To take a big Nevada run, but not get down on themselves or each other really showed how the team is maturing. Dulani really stepped up in the final moments to hit some big free throws after the team struggled from the line all night."

An 0-4 start from the field by the Tigers allowed Nevada to take an early 4-0 lead in the first three minutes. Pacific turned it around, outscoring the Wolf Pack 10-2 over the next six minutes, including five points from Eric Thompson to take a 10-6 lead with 12:45 left. A pair of free throws from Nevada's Ronnie Stevens cut the Tiger lead to 14-11, but a 21-4 Tiger run paced by seven points from T.J. Wallace gave the Tigers a 35-15 lead with 1:42 to play in the half. Pacific held the Wolf Pack to just two points over the final 4:28 of the first half to claim a 35-17 lead at the break. The Tigers hit 14 of their last 26 shots in the first half.

Thompson hit a short jumper to push the Tiger lead back to 20 (37-17) on Pacific's first possession of the second half. The Wolf Pack then went on a methodical run, cutting into the Pacific lead over the next 13 minutes before taking a 53-52 lead with 5:57 to play in the game. After Nevada cut the lead to 15, the Tigers did push the lead back up to 18 (44-26) after a three-point play by Jacob Lampkin. The Wolf Pack then scored seven straight, including five from Tyron Criswell to make it 44-33 with 13:13 to play. With the Tigers leading 48-37 with 10:53 to play, Nevada went on a 16-4 run to claim the lead at 53-52 with 5:57 to go. The Wolf Pack scored eight points from the line in that stretch, with D.J. Fenner scoring eight on his own. Dulani Robinson answered with a big three-pointer on the Tigers' next possession, to take the lead back at 55-53, a lead Pacific would not let go of the rest of the way. Robinson hit six straight free throws down the stretch to help the Tigers, but Fenner hit a pair of three-pointers in the final :10 to cut the lead to 67-65 with just :06 to play. Robinson was fouled, but missed both free throws. Luckily the ball bounded back to Robinson and he layed it in for the final margin.

Wallace led the Tigers with 16 points, while Robinson added 12 points and Alec Kobre had 10 points. Thompson had nine points and a team-best eight rebounds in just 17 minutes.

After a great defensive first half by the Tigers that saw Nevada shoot just 21.4% (6-28), the Wolf Pack hit 15 of 24 second half shots to shoot 62.5% and 40.4% for the game. The Tigers hit just nine of 28 second half shots, hitting 39.7% (23-58) for the game. In a game that had 52 total fouls, the Wolf Pack shot 76.9% (20-26), while the Tigers were just 50.0% (18-36).

Pacific is next in action with a home game against Fresno State at the Alex G. Spanos Center on Saturday, Dec. 20. Game time is set for 7:00 p.m.