The 15th seed University of Pacific Tigers lost to the 2nd seed University of Miami (FL) Hurricanes 78 – 49 in the second round of the NCAA playoffs in Austin, TX. The game’s outcome was decided early in the first half, as the taller, stronger, and more athletic Hurricanes (28-6, 15-3 ACC) gradually built up a 40 – 19 first-half lead.
UOP (22-13, 13-5 Big West) opened the game shooting 0-for-7 from the 3-point line, as Miami’s stifling defense distracted the Tigers into a cold shooting half. The Tigers fared better in the second half from the perimeter, but the game was out of reach by then. Travis Fulton heated up in the second half, finishing with 18 points, shooting 6-of-10 from behind the 3-point arc. Khalil Kelley tried to hold the post down in the first half and finished with 11 points and nine rebounds. Markus Duran chipped in nine points, shooting 3-of-6 behind the 3-point line. Fulton also grabbed five rebounds. Leading scorer Lorenzo McCloud was held to four points, but dished out four assists.
The Hurricanes were led in scoring by Durand Scott (5-of-8 behind 3-point line) with 21 points, followed by Shane Larkin’s 10 points. However, it was Larkin’s nine assists and three steals which allowed the Hurricanes to put the game away early. Larkin created havoc on defense, and controlled the tempo on offense with pinpoint passing and lethal dribble drives. Reggie Johnson and Trey McKinney-Jones controlled the boards with 10 and eight rebounds, respectively.
This was a bittersweet defeat as it marked the last game for Bob Thomason as UOP’s head coach, who is retiring after 25 seasons. It also brought an end to UOP’s membership in the Big West Conference, as they move to the West Coast Conference next season.
The Hurricanes advance into the third round of the East Region and play 7th seed Illinois Sunday, winners over Colorado 57 – 49.