Eugene, Ore. – The Pacific men's basketball used a 17-1 run to open up a close game and cruised to a 93-76 victory over North Dakota on Sunday, December 1 at Matthew Knight Arena. The Tigers improved to 6-1 with the win, while North Dakota dropped to 2-4. It was Pacific's third and final game of the Global Sports Hardwood Challenge. It was the first 90 game for the Tigers since a 95-50 victory over UC Davis on Feb. 25, 2008.
The Tigers fell behind 7-2 early in the first half and were playing catch up the remainder of the half. Senior Sama Taku had four points as the Tigers countered with a 7-2 run to even it at 9-9 with 16:08 to play. UND again pulled ahead by seven (18-11), this time with a 9-2 run. The Tigers nearly evened it again, as senior Ross Rivera gave the team a lift off the bench with a pair of three-pointers to bring Pacific within 21-20 with 12:15 to go. UND then scored five straight, before the Tigers tied it up again at 32-32, after a pair of free throws from senior Tony Gill capped a 12-6 stretch. North Dakota was again able to take a five point lead, before holding a 48-45 halftime lead.
Pacific scored the final two points of the first half to pair up for a 17-1 run that changed the game considerably. The Tigers went from down 48-43, to up 62-49 with 13:24 to play in the game. Taku scored eight of his 18 points in the run to help Pacific take control of the game. After a dunk by Troy Huff made it 64-54, freshman T.J. Wallace capped a 9-2 run with a jumper to take the lead to 17 (73-56). It was the first of three straight baskets by Wallace. With the Tigers leading 81-64, an 8-0 run by UND that featured the final six scored by Alonzo Traylor made it 81-72. Pacific finished it off with a 12-0 run that had four more points from Taku.
Five Tigers scored in double figures, led by Rivera's 19. Taku had 18 points, while Gill (14), Bock (14) and Wallace (10) all were in double digits. Pacific shot 62.1% from the field in the second half and 56.5% for the game. North Dakota ended up shooting 41.3% from the field and 22.2% (6-27) from three-point range. UND started out 4-5 from three-point range, but hit just two of its final 22 attempts. Pacific's bench outscored UND's 44-20.
Pacific is next in action with a game at Utah State on Saturday, December 7. The game time is set for 4:00 p.m. (PST).