Tigers Fall At Home To No. 2 Gonzaga

Ray Bowles (photo by KeithSanpeiPhoto.com
Ray Bowles (photo by KeithSanpeiPhoto.com

Stockton, Calif. - The Pacific men's basketball team dropped an 86-74 decision to No. 2 Gonzaga on Thursday, Feb. 19 at the Alex G. Spanos Center. The Tigers dropped to 10-17, 2-13 in WCC action, while Gonzaga improved to 27-1 and 15-0 in WCC play.

"I thought overall we played a very good game tonight," said Head Coach Ron Verlin. "Wiltjer had an amazing night. Our guys came out fired up and were ready to go all game. If we can continue this kind of effort, we'll have a very good end of the regular season and WCC Tournament."

The Tigers opened up with leads of 2-0, 5-3, 7-5 and 9-7 in the first three minutes. Gonzaga then went on a 10-0 run with seven points from Kyle Wiltjer to open up a 17-9 lead with 15:08 left in the half. The Bulldogs increased the lead to 11 (25-14) after a Wiltjer three-pointer. The Tigers closed the gap thanks to three-pointers from Ray Bowles, David Taylor, T.J. Wallace and Dulani Robinson to close the gap to four (32-28) with 6:55 to play. GU pushed it back to 10 (42-32) after a 10-4 stretch, but Alec Kobre knocked down Pacific's seventh trey of the half to make it 42-35 and the Bulldogs led 45-37 at the break.

Over the first four minutes of the second half, Gonzaga out-scored the Tigers 11-5, as Kevin Pangos ended the stretch with a pair of free throws to make it 53-40. Taylor hit a pair of three-pointers on the next two Pacific possessions to knock the lead down to 55-46 with 14:19 to go. Wiltjer scored again to push the lead back to 12 (63-51), leading into an 8-3 Tiger stretch punctuated by a Gabriel Aguirre layup to get Pacific within 7 (66-59) at the 6:40 mark. The Bulldogs again moved the lead back to 12 (77-65), but a three-pointer from Bowles and three Taylor free throws cut it to 79-71 with 1:26 to go. Gonzaga hit four straight free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

Wallace led the Tigers with 19 points, knocking down eight of 15 shots from the field. Taylor had 18 points, hitting five three-pointers. Bowles scored a career-high 13 points, while Eric Thompson added 10 points and a game-high eight rebounds. Wiltjer scored a career-high 45 points for Gonzaga. It was the most points ever scored by an opponent against Pacific.

Pacific shot 43.9% from the field (25-57) and 57.9% from three-point range (11-19). The nation's top field goal percentage team, Gonzaga shot 60.0% (30-50) and 55.7% from three point-range (10-18). After Gonzaga outscored the Tigers 10-0 in points off of turnovers in the first half, the Tigers had a 14-2 edge in the second half to hold a 14-12 advantage for the game.

The Tigers are next in action with a home game against Portland on Saturday, Feb. 19. The game is set for a 7:00 p.m. start and will be televised by theW.tv. The Tigers will honor senior Gabriel Aguirre in his final home game prior to Saturday's contest.