Kalamazoo, Mich. – The Pacific men's basketball team dropped a 67-62 decision at Western Michigan on Saturday, Feb. 23 in a Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters game. With the loss, Pacific fell to 15-12 on the season. Western Michigan improved to 17-9 overall.
The Tigers had a rough start from the field, missing seven of their first eight shots. Falling behind early, the Tigers faced an early 9-2 deficit. Junior Tony Gill then gave the Tigers a lift off the bench, scoring 10 points in a 13-5 stretch that made it a 15-14 Pacific lead with 12:02 to play. WMU scored the next four points and led 26-22 with 6:29 to go. Senior Colin Beatty capped a 7-0 run with a left-wing three-pointer to give the Tigers a 29-26 lead with 4:12 to play in the half. The Tigers would not score again, as the Broncos used their own 7-0 run to take a 33-29 halftime lead. The Tigers missed their final three shots and had a pair of turnovers in the last four minutes.
Pacific fell behind by six (35-29) to open the second half, but baskets by Gill, junior Sama Taku and a three-pointer by senior Lorenzo McCloud evened it up at 36-36 at the 17:55 mark. It was the second of five ties in the game, as WMU would move ahead but the Tigers would strike back. Taku hit a three-pointer to give the Tigers a 46-44 lead with 11:50 to play. The Broncos then used an 11-3 run to take a 56-49 lead with 8:16 to play in the game. Pacific came back over the next three minutes, getting five points from McCloud and another three-pointer from Taku to make it 58-57 with 4:52 to go. After forcing a miss on the defensive end, the Tigers had a chance to take the lead, but a pair of three-pointers by Beatty and senior Travis Fulton bounced out. A three-point play by Brandon Pokley made it 61-57, but another Gill three-pointer brought the Tigers within one (61-60) with just 2:42 left. Another basket by WMU and a pair of free throws by McCloud made the score 63-62 with two minutes remaining. Darius Paul made one of two free throws, setting up the Tigers with a chance to take the lead trailing 64-62, but a three-pointer from senior Rodrigo De Souza was just off the mark. A pair of free throws by Shayne Whittington made it a four point game and pair of late field goal attempts were off the mark for Pacific as WMU held on for the five-point win.
Gill led the Tigers in scoring for the second straight game with a career-high 18 points, while McCloud had 15 points and Taku added 10. Whittington had 14 points to lead WMU.
The Tigers shot 36.7% from the field and three-point range. The Tigers were 22 for 60 from the field and 11 for 30 from three-point range. Pacific out-rebounded WMU 38-32, including a season-high 17 offensive rebounds. The Broncos shot 48.0% from the field, including 56.5% in the first half.
Pacific is next in action with a road game at Cal State Fullerton on Thursday, Feb. 28 at 8:05 p.m.