Early Lead Slips Away In 69-65 Loss To Broncos

Eric Thompson - Photo by: KeithSanpeiPhoto.com
Eric Thompson - Photo by: KeithSanpeiPhoto.com

Santa Clara, Calif. – The Pacific Tigers seemed to be on their way to ending their difficult season with a victory at Santa Clara. Instead, the game became a microcosm of their entire 2015-16 campaign. Pacific saw a 13-point second-half lead fall by the wayside as Santa Clara's Jared Brownridge exploded for 23 second-half points and 29 total points to lead the Broncos (11-19) to a 69-65 win over the Tigers, who suffered their 10th loss of the season by five points or less. Pacific (8-20) lost despite a career-best rebounding performance from Eric Thompson in his final game as a Tiger. Thompson notched his second career double-double (1/22/15) with 14 points and a career-best 17 rebounds.

Pacific got off to a fast start in the first half as Alec Kobre's three-point jumper with 17:23 to go gave the Tigers an early 8-0 lead. The Tigers took their lead into doubles figures inside the eight-minute mark as Ray Bowles sank a jumper that increased Pacific's lead to 23-12.

The Tigers never trailed in the first half and held Brownridge to three points on 1-of-12 from the floor as they took a 30-25 lead into the locker room.

Pacific opened the second half on as strong a note as they finished the first, opening up a 36-25 lead following a 6-0 run. After a Kobre three-pointer stretched the Tiger lead to 41-28, Santa Clara proceeded to go on an 18-2 run that began with a made layup by KJ Feagin. After Brownridge sank a pair of free throws, a Jacob Lampkin turnover went the other way for a made three-pointer by Brownridge to pull the Broncos to within six at 41-35. Brownridge went on to score six of the next eight Santa Clara points on a pair of three-pointers, his second one giving the Broncos their first lead of the game at 43-41.

After Pacific tied the game on a D.J. Ursery jumper, Feagin sank a jump shot with 12:07 to play that gave Santa Clara the lead for good at 45-43.

Pacific cut the deficit to a point after T.J. Wallace went 1-for-2 at the line at the 9:42 mark, but Wallace's split of the free throws illustrated Pacific's struggles from the line all game as the Tigers finished 16-27 (59.3%) from the stripe.

Tonko Vuko completed a three-point play with 7:35 to go in the contest to tie the game at 51-51, but Santa Clara went on to score the next five points to stretch the lead back out to five at 56-51. The Broncos maintained their lead down the stretch and took their largest lead of the night with 1:35 to play as Brownridge made a layup to make it an eight point game at 62-54.

The Tigers showed late life as Wallace hit a three-pointer with 14 seconds to play to pull Pacific to within two points, but Brownridge continued to make free throws down the stretch (six inside the last minute) to keep the Broncos out of reach.

Overall, Wallace led the attack with 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting while Thompson finished with his 14 points including hitting 8-of-11 from the line and Bowles came up with 13 points. Despite being held to just six points, Kobre finished his senior season in record fashion as the sharpshooter from Santa Rosa became the Tigers' first ever 50-40-90 performer in program history. In all, Kobre would cap his historic season shooting 50.5% from the floor, 44.1% from behind the arc, and 90.9% from the line. With his two threes in the game, Kobre also finished his career tied for 10th all-time in three-point shooting, draining 105 despite playing just two seasons in the Orange and Black.