Stockton, Calif. - A furious rally at the end of the second half and a shot at the buzzer in overtime proved to not be enough for the Tigers at home on Saturday night as the Wolf Pack of Nevada escaped the Spanos Center with an 85-82, double-overtime, victory. The Tigers (0-3) had their chances in the final moments of all three terminating periods but came up just short of pulling off the comeback against the Wolf Pack (3-1).
The game was the 100th installment in the all-time series between the two teams dating back to the 1914-15 season. Despite the loss, Pacific still leads the overall series 55-45.
In the loss, junior Ray Bowles came up with his second-straight double-double effort scoring 19 points and grabbing a career-best 12 rebounds while junior T.J. Wallace netted his first 20-point game of the season. On the other side, the Wolf Pack were led by Marqueze Coleman who scored a game-high 31 points for his second-consecutive 30+ point performance of the season.
After an even first four minutes to the game, the Tigers found themselves suffering through an extended scoring drought that lasted for nearly four minutes before freshman Anthony Townes was able to drop in a pair of free throws with 13:36 to play in the opening half. Even with the inability to get the ball to drop from the floor, the Tigers held close as the Wolf Pack failed to capitalize leading by just four before the free throws from the young Tiger.
Junior David Taylor's three from the top of the key at the 10:47 mark of the first half got the Tigers within just one point, but four-straight from AJ West pushed the lead to five for the Wolf Pack moments later. The cold shooting continued for the Tigers as Nevada slowly built their lead as Pacific missed seven-straight over a four-minute span.
Down eight, the Tigers got a spark from Wallace as the third-year star came up with a block in transition on one end before hitting the midrange jumper on the other end to get Pacific's offense on track. However, just as the Tigers got going on the offensive end hitting 4-of-6 from the floor, so too did the Wolf Pack who answered every Tiger bucket with one of their own on the other end.
Additionally, while the Wolf Pack got into foul trouble early it was Pacific's burden late as Nevada hit four-straight free throws to grow their lead to double-digits with just over one minute to play in the half. The Tigers would end the half hitting 2-of-4 free throws to head into the lockerroom down eight at 32-23.
Out of the break the shooting woes looked like they would continue for the Tigers a burst to the basket by sophomore Maleke Haynes and a foul got the Spanos Crowd on its feet and Pacific's offense running. The Haynes basket cut the deficit to six at the media before Pacific used a 9-3 run to cut the lead down to just two with 11:17 to play in the game. While the Tigers' offense got going the Wolf Pack's offense stalled including three-straight from the line.
The layup by Haynes marked a change in the Tigers' offensive attack as Pacific began to take the ball to the basket rather than settle for shots from distance, a move that saw them go just 3-of-14 from distance in the first half. Additionally, the Tigers turned the tides of the rebounding battle to change the shape of the game.
Pacific would climb back to within just one for the second time in the half at the 5:37 mark on a pair of free throws by Wallace. On the very next possession, the Tigers would finally take back the lead in the contest when Wallace hit a step-back jumper from just inside the arc. He would add two more from the line to give Pacific a three-point advantage, but a three from the corner from Tyron Criswell and a put back dunk by West turned the lead back over to the Wolf Pack heading under the final media timeout.
Back an forth over the final four minutes the two teams traded baskets with the Wolf Pack using their size to get to the line and extend their lead to four. A Tonko Vuko three on a pick-and-pop cut the Nevada lead to one with just under one minute to play before a Bowles put-back pushed the Tigers back out front. Pacific would get the last shot of regulation after Lindsey Drew made just 1-of-2 from the line to tie the game, but the final three-ball would come up short leading to overtime.
In the extra period the Tigers would hit their first shot, a three by Bowles, before missing their next six shots to give the Wolf Pack the space they needed to open up a five points lead. Undeterred, Pacific kept firing away until Vuko drained the Tigers' eighth three from the top of the key with one minute to play to make it a one possession game at 73-71. The Tigers would have a chance to tie with :32 seconds remaining, but a slight bump on Pacific's layup attempt forced Haynes to miss before a foul sent the Wolf Pack back to the line where Criswell made it a three-point lead hitting the first of two free throws.
Haynes would make up for the miss moments later with a runner in the paint that rolled around the rim before finally settling at the bottom of the basket, cutting the Nevada lead to just one for the second time with :22 seconds to play. The Wolf Pack would hit a pair from the line to make it a three-point game giving the Tigers on last chance to extend the game once again. Sent into the game for his shooting prowess, sophomore Ilias Theordorou made his first and only bucket of the night count as the big Greek drilled a three with just :04 remaining on the clock to send the game to a second overtime.
Picking up right where they left off in the first overtime, the two teams went back and forth in the second extra period, trading punches at the rim and at the line. Down one, the Tigers would commit a critical mistake as a pass into the post was picked off by the Wolf Pack and turned into points when West hit a pair of free throws after grabbing his seventh offensive rebound of the contest. The free throws would be the final scores of the game for both sides as the Tigers came up short on a pair of game-tying threes in their final possession of the night, hitting the front rim from the angle as time expired.
After getting dominated on the boards in the first half, the Tigers closed the gap in the end to just 61-54 in favor of the Wolf Pack. Nevada held the shooting advantage at 35.6% to Pacific's 32.9%. Pacific was 9-of-33 from behind the arc, the most attempted three-pointers for the Tigers since firing up 33 against New Mexico State on Feb. 20, 2010.
Behind the Tigers' top duo in the scorebook, Haynes finished his night with a career-best 12 points on 5-of-15 shooting while Townes ended the night with nine points and nine boards to finish just short of the double-double.
The Wolf Pack put four in double-figures with D.J. Fenner checking in with 14 points while West and Criswell each tallied 11. West would also grab a game-high 16 rebounds to post the double-double while Cameron Oliver added eight points, eight rebounds, and four blocks before sitting out the 15 minutes of the contest after fouling out of the game with 5:37 to play due to a foul and a technical on the Wallace play that sparked the end game rally.
Pacific will look to pick up its first win of the year on Monday, Nov. 23 when the Tigers host Notre Dame de Namur at 7:00 pm at the Spanos Center. The game can be picked up on theW.tv with Zack Bayrouty and Coach Bob Thomason on the call.