Pacific Wins In Final Seconds At Grand Canyon In CIT Opener

Andrew Bock (photo by Go Chic Photography)
Andrew Bock (photo by Go Chic Photography)

Phoenix, Ariz.Tony Gill scored on a tip-in with one minute left and Pacific held on for a 69-67 victory over Grand Canyon University in the opening round of the Postseason Tournament at Antelope Gym on Wednesday, March 19. With the win, the Tigers improved to 16-15 overall. Grand Canyon finished the season at 15-15.

"This was an exciting game, filled with runs," said Pacific Head Coach Ron Verlin. "To rally from down 15 in the second half in a tough environment really showed how much our guys wanted it. Andrew Bock really stepped up big in the second half."

Pacific took a 4-0 lead after a pair of free throws from Tony Gill and a layup from Sama Taku. Three three-pointers from Daniel Alexander in a 14-2 stretch gave the Antelopes a 14-6 lead with 14:45 to play in the half. Taku then scored seven points in a 17-2 Tiger run that gave Pacific a 23-16 lead with 7:33 to go. The teams traded baskets, but the Antelopes finished the half with a 17-0 run to take a 35-25 lead at the break. The Tigers went without a point over the final 6:23 of the half.

In the first four minutes of the second half, the Antelopes pushed the lead to 44-29 with 16:20 remaining in the game. The Tigers then evened it up at 49-49 with 9:39 after a 20-5 run. Andrew Bock stepped up with a big second half, scoring 16 of his 18 points in the final 20 minutes. He also scored the final seven points of a 12-0 run that finally knotted the game at 49-49. Pacific took its first lead since the first half on the first of two straight baskets by Gabriel Aguirre. The game was tied five more times in the final 7:33 and had six lead changes. Layups by Taku and Khalil Kelley gave the Tigers a 62-58 lead with 4:35 remaining. GCU tied it up at 62-62 after a pair of free throws and a jumper by Jerome Garrison. The Tigers again went up by four (66-62) with 2:37 left after a top of the key jumper by Ross Rivera and a pair of free throws by Bock. The game was evened up again at 67-67 after a GCU three-pointer by Akachi Okugo. Bock missed a three-pointer with a minute left, but it was tipped in by Gill for the deciding points. With :46 left, Garrison missed a pair of free throws, but the Tigers turned the ball over on their next possession. GCU went for the tie with its final possession, but Garrison missed a layup and the Tigers held on for the win.

Bock led the Tigers with 18 points, while Gill and Taku each added 15 points. Gill led the team with seven rebounds. Pacific's defensive pressure led to nine steals. Pacific held a 36-14 edge in points in the paint. The Tigers shot just 39.3% in the second half, but 59.3% in the second half to shoot 49.1% for the game.