Portland, Ore. - For the third-straight season, the Tigers and Pilots split the season series in WCC play as Portland took an 80-67 win at the Chiles Center on Saturday night in front of a deafeningly quiet crowd of 3,103. The loss for Pacific (7-19) dropped them to 5-11 in WCC play and a game behind the Pilots (12-17) who moved to 6-10 in conference action.
Early in the game it was all Bryce Pressley for the Pilots as the senior, playing his final game in the Chiles Center, scored the first seven points and 10 of the first 12 for Portland. However, countering the early onslaught by Pressley, Pacific found a balanced attack, using an outside to inside attack that saw seven different Tigers put their name in the scorebook. The offense put the Tigers ahead by four with just over eight minutes to play, but a turnover on a breakaway stymied Pacific's run and kept the Tigers from being able to pull away. The turnover shifted the momentum to the Pilots who used a 7-0 run to take a 24-21 lead with 6:58 to go in the half.
Pacific would hold tight, pushing its way to the rim, while the Pilots perfect shooting at the line to keep the Tigers it trail mode as the two teams traded points. The Tigers would knot the game at 31-31 with 3:15 to play on an Ilias Theodorou three in transition, but a second 9-0 run in just a minute's time would give Portland their largest lead of the half at 40-31 with 1:41 to play. During the run the Pilots would get a three-point play followed by the rare four-point play to do the bulk of the damage in just two possessions. The lead would hold until half as Pacific would score just two points in the final 3:15 of the half, trailing 42-33 at the break.
In the half, the Pilots would hit 15-of-15 from the stripe while Pacific went just 5-of-8. After the hot start, the Tigers held Pressley in check as he finished with 10 points while Tiger senior, Alec Kobre, netted nine on 2-of-4 shooting from deep and 3-of-4 from the line.
Out of the break, the Pilots picked right up where they left off as Alex Wintering hit a pair of free throws just :12 seconds into the half. They would finally miss their first free throw one minute later when Wintering missed one of two after T.J. Wallace was whistled for his third foul. Wintering would make up for it on the next possession, hitting a three from the corner followed by a layup as the Pilot lead grew to 15 just 3:30 into the half.
A Ray Bowles layup after a steal stopped a nearly three-minute scoreless drought for Pacific followed by a dunk by Jacob Lampkin on an inbounds play that cut the deficit to 11. The spurt by the Tigers would be short-lived as Wintering scored five-unanswered points to make it a 16-point game six minutes into the half. From there, both teams would struggle to score against the opposition's defense as both teams went over three minutes without a basket until a three by Wallace from the top of the arc made it just a 10-point game. Kobre would follow with a three of his own to make it a single-digit lead for the Pilots for the first time since the half.
Unfortunately for Pacific, Kobre would get two quick fouls off the ball, sending him to the bench for good with 7:58 to play in the game taking Pacific's biggest weapon off the court for the remainder of the night. The seven point deficit would be as close as the Tigers would get as Pacific went cold from the floor and from the line while the Pilots refound their rhythm after going nearly six minutes without a point midway through the half.
In a final push, the Tigers would put together a 7-0 spurt in just :26 seconds, stealing a pair of inbounds passes to make it an eight point game with 4:19, but again, Pacific would lose its momentum when Wallace fouled out of the contest taking the Tigers' captain off the floor for the last 3:48 to play. The Pilots would hold the Tigers' off from the free throw line led by Wintering who hit 10-of-12 in the second half. The two misses for Wintering would be the only two of the game for the Pilots who hit 30-of-32 freebies.
Kobre would lead the Tigers in scoring for the eighth time in the last 10 contests, scoring 12 points despite playing just 21 minutes and sitting out the final eight minutes of the game. Behind the Tigers' shooter, Lampkin came on for 11 points off the bench while grabbing six rebounds. Bowles would end his night with 11 points, four rebounds, and three assists. Wallace would finish with eight points and five rebounds while Eric Thompson went for nine points and eight rebounds before fouling out.
For Portland, Wintering, the WCC's second leading scorer, led the way with 27 points, scoring 14 points from the line to go with seven rebounds and three assists. Pressley finished with 15 points while adding four assists, three blocks, and three steals. Two other Portland players hit double-digits in the book as Jarrel Marshall and D'Marques Tyson tallied 10 points a piece to round out the scoring.
The Tigers return home for the final time on Thursday, Feb. 25 when they take on San Francisco at the Spanos Center at 7:00 pm. Prior to the game Pacific will honor its two seniors, Alec Kobre and Eric Thompson as they play their final home game in front of the Tiger faithful.