Final Minute Rally Falls Short For Pacific In Green Bay

Tonko Vuko - Photo by: KeithSanpeiPhoto.com
Tonko Vuko - Photo by: KeithSanpeiPhoto.com

Green Bay, Wisc. - A furious rally in the final minutes in Green Bay came up just short on Tuesday night as Pacific dropped a tough 93-88 decision to UW-Green Bay at the Resch Center to close out pre-conference action. The loss for the shorthanded Tigers dropped Pacific to 1-8 on the year while the Phoenix improved to 5-4.

Down 11 with 1:18 to play, the Tigers mounted a final run at the Phoenix led by their senior sharpshooter Alec Kobre as Pacific was able to chop the Green Bay lead to just four points with :18 seconds to play. Doing his damage from deep, Kobre scored 12 points in just :50 seconds of action, knocking down four-straight from long range to give the Tigers a chance. However, it was not to be as Pacific ran out of time while Green Bay hit just enough free throws to hold on.

Just as they did three nights prior, the Tigers got off to a fast start as Pacific took an early lead on the road through the first four minutes of the game. However, the start would cool as an 11-0 run by the Phoenix turned the tides of the half. During the run, the Tigers turned the ball over four times and went over 6:00 minutes without a basket going 0-for-8 before D.J. Ursery broke away for an open dunk off a steal to get Pacific on the board. 

The dunk by Ursery took the seal off the basket for the Tigers as Pacific hit four of its next five shots, but it was not enough to counter the hot shooting Phoenix led from deep by Carrington Love. While the Tigers began to find their rhythm inside, Love found his stroke from behind the arc as the senior and leading scorer for Green Bay dropped in four first half three-balls to keep the Tigers at bay. 

In addition to the Phoenix shooting the Tigers could not keep hold of the ball committing 14 first half turnovers including five-straight during a four-minutes span that allowed the Phoenix to push their lead to 13 at 33-20 with just over 3:00 minutes to play in the half. After going small, the Tigers would make a run just before half to cut the lead to single digits, but a swing on a close fould call in the final possession gave Green Bay three free points and a 10-point lead at the break. 

In all, the Tigers shot 52% from the floor in the half, their best first half of the season to date. 

Out of the break the Phoenix pushed their lead to as much as 16 just four minutes into the half as they used a 7-0 run that included another deep three from Love. Down 16, Ray Bowles did his best to will Pacific back into the game as the redshirt-sophomore came up with four straight points and assisted on another layup by Jacob Lampkin.  

After back-to-back drives to the basket by Ursery cut the deficit to 10 with 12:24 to play, the Tigers fell victim to a rash of turnovers that stopped the rally in its tracks. For every time the Tigers would make a push the Phoenix would have an answer as the pace was slowed due to mounting foul trouble. 

Pacific would again get the deficit to 10 points at the four-minute mark with a three from David Taylor, the double-digit lead persisted for the Phoenix as fouls again took away any momentum the Tigers could muster. 

After three minutes of trading points, Pacific would make its last stand with time running out as the Tigers got over the hump of the 10-point barrier on Kobre's first of four last minute threes that sparked the end game circus.

In all, the Tigers put five in double-figures with Kobre leading the way with a career-best 25 points including going 7-of-11 from downtown. Right behind the senior was Vuko who netted a career-high 21 points while grabbing 11 rebounds to record his first-ever double-double. Bowles would end his night with 15 points while Ursery tied a career-high with 13 points and Lampkin ended with 10. 

Overall, Pacific shot a season-best 54.2% (32-of-59) from the floor in the loss as the Tigers' offense was mitigated by 36 fouls, the most in a single game since being called for 35 against Utah State on Jan. 3, 1994. The 36 fouls would lead to four Tigers fouling out of the contest, including Vuko, Bowles, and Ursery, leaving the already depleted Tigers even more shorthanded to end the game. Pacific had previously lost its captain for the game just out of the break in the second half as T.J. Wallace played a season-low 14 minutes. 

In addition to the fouls the Tigers committed a season-worst 23 turnovers leading to 22 points for the Phoenix. The 23 giveaways was the most for the Tigers since Feb. 16, 2008 in a game against Cal State Fullerton. 

Taking advantage, the Phoenix were led by Love who scored a game-high 29 points on 8-of-13 shooting. Four other Green Bay players would reach double-figures with Charles Cooper tallying 15 points to go with seven rebounds while Turner Botz came up with 12 and Khalil Small and Jamar Hurdle each posted 10. As a team, the Phoenix shot 53.3% from the field but were just 50.0% from the line despite shooting 44 free throws to the Tigers' 21.

Pacific returns home on Monday, Dec. 21 to begin West Coast Conference play as the Tigers host Santa Clara at the Spanos Center at 7:00 pm.