Irvine, Calif. – The Pacific men's basketball team dropped a 68-59 decision at UC Irvine on Wednesday, Feb. 20. With the loss, Pacific fell to 15-11 on the season and 9-5 in Big West play. UC Irvine improved to 15-13 overall, 9-6 in league action.
The Tigers fell behind early, as the Anteaters took a 15-6 lead with 13:27 to play in the half. Pacific scored eight in a row, with senior Lorenzo McCloud hitting a three-pointer to pull the Tigers within 15-14 with 10:14 to go. The Anteaters pulled ahead by three (17-14), but another five straight points capped by a three-pointer from senior Markus Duran put Pacific on top for the first time at 19-17 with 8:21 to play. A 7-2 run by UCI gave the Anteaters a 25-21 lead with 6:13 left and they kept the lead at four with a 30-26 halftime advantage. Pacific shot just 29.6% in the first half (8-27).
Pacific scored the first three points of the second half on a basket and a free throw from junior Tony Gill to get within one (30-29). The Tigers evened it up at 38-38 on a jumper from senior Rodrigo De Souza, but the game turned UCI's way after a pair of three-pointers by Michael Wilder. It started a 12-2 surge that gave UCI a 50-40 lead with 9:49 to play. The Anteaters pushed the lead to 60-46 with 5:51 to play, but after a 9-2 Tiger run it was down to a 62-55 lead with 3:12 to go. McCloud had a shot at a three-pointer to cut the lead to four, but it was just off the mark. The Tigers made just one of their final five shots, trailing by seven or more the rest of the way.
Gill evened his career high with 17 points, while McCloud had 11 points. Senior Jordan Turner led the team with a career-high seven rebounds and equaled his career high with three points. Daman Starring had 16 points to lead UCI.
The Tigers shot 33.3% from the field and were just four of 17 (23.5%) from three-point range. The Anteaters shot 45.5% from the field, including 51.9% in the second half. UCI shot 50.0% from three-point range and hit its final six three-point attempts of the game.
Pacific is next in action with a road game at Western Michigan on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 10:00 a.m. Kalamazoo. The game is part of the Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters and will be televised by ESPN3.