Stockton, Calif. - With one tick left on the clock, Alec Kobre threw up one of the biggest shots of his Pacific career as the senior from Santa Rosa saved the night with a turn around three-pointer from 25-feet to give the Tigers a 73-72, overtime, victory over Santa Clara at the Alex G. Spanos Center. After a rough few months for the Tigers (2-8, 1-0 WCC), Pacific was able to start West Coast Conference play with a bang, winning their first Division I contest of the season while the Broncos (4-9, 0-1 WCC) fell for the second-consecutive game.
The last-second three-pointer by Kobre was the senior's first of the night after missing his first three attempts from distance while being fouled on a pair from behind the arc. The big finish for the Tigers was set up by a furious comeback at the end of the second half as Pacific erased a 12-point Bronco lead with just under eight minutes to play. In overtime, the Tigers rallied quickly from down five midway through the extra-time to make for the photo finish.
Opening up the floor and running, the Tigers found themselves out of rhythm early as they attempted to adjust to their new offensive style. With the struggle to get in rhythm, the Tigers found themselves trailing big right out of the gate as the Broncos hit six of their first eight shots from deep including getting nine quick points from Jared Brownridge. The resulting 14-0 run put Pacific in a hole that eventually reached 14 points at 22-8 just eight minutes into the contest.
Despite the fast start by the Broncos, the Tigers continued to press offensively while ramping up the defensive pressure to turn the tides of the game. Midway through the first half, the Tigers went on a 9-0 run of their own thanks to their defense to get back into the game. Forcing six turnovers in six minutes and keeping the Broncos without a point, the Tigers pushed their way back into the contest, turning the 14-point deficit into just a five-point game before the Broncos finally scored after nearly eight minutes without a Santa Clara point.
From there, the two teams would go back and forth against one another with Brownridge posting up to get the Broncos off and running while Ray Bowles took over for the Tigers. After his nine quick points from deep, Brownridge added a pair from the paint to finish with 13 points in the half while Bowles came up with 12 after scoring the Tigers' first five points of the game.
Out of the break it was all T.J. Wallace for the Tigers as the junior put Pacific on his back with six early points to bring Pacific to just two points at 37-35 just 2:30 into the half. Wallace would depart after his third foul but the Tigers were able to keep the pressure up holding the Broncos to just four points in the first seven minutes of the half.
Pacific would have a chance to tie the game on a pair of free throws but a miss on the front end kept the Tigers in chase mode down 37-36 with just under 13:30 to play. The miss proved costly as the Broncos were able to push their lead back to seven with a pair of big threes, the first from Brownridge that kicked off a scoring binge for Santa Clara from behind the arc.
The lead would balloon back to 12 at 54-42 as the clock dropped below eight minutes thanks to six three-points in the span of four minutes including three from Brownridge.
Down double-digits for the second time in the game, the Tigers mounted another comeback, this time sparked by a three free throws from Kobre as the senior sharpshooter was fouled while attempting a three from the corner. The three ignited Pacific on both ends of the court as Bowles followed the three points from Kobre with three of his own as the redshirt sophomore knocked down his second three of the game from the short corner in front of the Tiger bench. Wallace followed with a layup after the Tigers forced a 30-second violation as Pacific went on an 8-0 run in just two minutes time to cut the deficit down to four at 54-50 with 5:45 to play.
A nearly three minute scoring drought for the Broncos would end on a pair of free throws by Brownridge that kicked off an exchange of free throws between the two teams over the next three minutes.
Ratcheting up the defensive pressure, the Tigers forced three-straight Broncos turnovers to once again turn the tides of the game, turning all three Bronco mistakes into points as Pacific finally took back the lead with :47 seconds to play on a layup by Jacob Lampkin.
Fitting the style of the second half, Brownridge would drill another three to put the Broncos up two with seconds remaining but Wallace saved the day with a layup with just .3 seconds to play.
In overtime, the game appeared to slip away from the Tigers after a four-point play by Brownridge put the Broncos up five half way through the extra-time. However, on the ensuing play, Kobre again sparked a Tiger rally with three from the line as he was fouled for the second-time in the night shooting a three from the corner. After missing two chances to tie in the final minute, the Tigers again appeared as if the game would slip through their hands when the Broncos went to the line with :05 seconds to play with a chance to ice the game. Santa Clara would miss both freebies giving Pacific one last chance, a chance Kobre would cash in at the buzzer.
In all, Brownridge led all scorers in the game with 36 points including hitting a season-high 8-of-12 from behind the arc. As a team, the Broncos hit a season-best 16 three-pointers in 27 attempts and shot 49.0% from the floor.
Despite Brownridge's 36, the Tigers were able to limited the rest of the Broncos with just Matt Hubbard reaching double-figures with 11 points before fouling out. Pacific forced 18 turnovers and committed a season-low eight including zero in the overtime period.
Offensively, Bowles finished his night with a team-best 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting to lead four Tigers in double-figures. Wallace would add 14 to Pacific's cause, 12 coming in the second half, while Kobre ended with 11 and D.J. Ursery chipped in 10. The Tigers would take care of business from the line hitting 20-of-23 with Kobre going 6-for-6 while Wallace finished 4-for-4.
The Tigers will look to keep their momentum going on Wednesday, Dec. 23 when they travel to San Francisco to take on the Dons. The game is scheduled for 7:00 pm.