Anchorage, Alaska - The Pacific men's basketball team defeated the host Alaska Anchorage in the first game of the Great Alaska Shootout on Wednesday, Nov. 26. The Tigers improved to 3-2 with the win.
"This game was quite a grind," said Head Coach Ron Verlin. "We knew playing UAA was going to be tough to start off the tournament. The crowd really gets into the game and helps create a great atmosphere. Eric played very well and gave us a lift in the second half when we needed it. We'll have a great Thanksgiving meal tomorrow and get ready for either Missouri State or Colorado State on Friday."
The Tigers scored the first five points of the game on a three-pointer by Ray Bowles and a layup by Eric Thompson. After UAA tied it up at 5-5, Thompson capped a 7-2 stretch with a pair of free throws to make it 12-7 with 12:44 to play in the half. The Seawolves knotted it up again at 23-23, before the Tigers scored five straight on jumpers from T.J. Wallace and Bowles and a free throw by Sami Eleraky. UAA scored four straight to end the half to make it a 28-27 Pacific lead at the break.
UAA out-scored the Tigers 11-5 to start the second half, taking a 38-33 lead with 15:37 left after a three-pointer by Boomer Blossom. A three-pointer by Alec Kobre capped a 12-4 run to give the Tigers a 45-42 with 12:26 to play in the game. The Tigers pushed the lead to 50-45, then the Seawolves made their final push, taking a 51-50 lead with 7:07 to go on two straight three-pointers by Derrick Fain and Christian Leckband. It was UAA's final lead of the game, as Thompson started a 9-0 run with a dunk to give Pacific a 59-51 lead with a 4:57 that it would keep. The Seawolves got as close as 62-57 with 2:36 to play, but the Tigers finished with a nine point victory.
Thompson had a career-high 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Three other Tigers scored in double figures, with T.J. Wallace scoring 16 points and grabbing nine boards, David Taylor scoring 12 points and Bowles adding 10. Pacific shot 58.3% in the second half, hitting 14 of 24 shots to shoot 50.0% for the game. The Tigers out-scored UAA 32-18 on points in the paint.
The Tigers are next in action at the Great Alaska Shootout with a semifinal matchup against Colorado State. Pacific will play at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 28 and can be seen nationwide on CBS Sports Network on tape delay at 9:00pm (PST).