The Pacific Tigers edged the Cal Pol Mustangs 73-71 at the Global Sports Hardwood Challenge in Eugene, Ore. Tony Gill clinched the win with a three-point play with 30 seconds left in the game. The final lead held when Cal Poly’s (2-4) Kyle Odister missed two 3-point shots in the their final possession.
Gill led Pacific (5-1) with 14 points, followed by Khalil Kelley’s 12 points and reserve Ross Rivera’s 11 points. Guard Sama Taku led the Tigers with nine boards, followed by Aaron Short with six. Trevin Harris and Taku dished out three assists apiece to lead Pacific, last season’s Big West Tournament champions. This is Pacific’s inaugural year as a member of the West Coast Conference.
The Mustangs, from the Big West Conference, were led by Chris Eversley’s 22 points. Odister scored 14 points while Dave Nwaba chipped in 11 points. Eversley also led the Mustangs with 10 caroms, followed by Nwaba’s five boards. Jamal Johnson dished out four assists to lead the Mustangs against their long-time former Big West opponents.
The familiarity between the two programs was evident as they exchanged leads a dozen times, but the Tigers held the lead when it counted the most–with time running out. The hotly contested game featured runs from both teams, including a 12-0 Pacific run in the first half, sparked by 3-pointers by Short and T.J. Wallace, giving the Tigers a 25-13 lead with 10:01 remaining before intermission. Pacific would later use another Wallace three-pointer to spark a 7-1 run and grab a 36-28 lead at halftime.
The Mustangs went on a 11-1 run of their own in the second half to keep things interesting. Eversley led the comeback, scoring inside and from the perimeter, as well as cleaning the glass on both ends of the court on his way to a double-double. Eversley knocked down a key three-pointer to give the Mustangs their last lead, 71-70 with 0:44 left on the game clock.
However, that lead didn’t hold up, as Gill converted on his three-point play the old-fashioned way, knocking down his free throw after a made lay up.
Pacific shot 45.1 percent (23-of-51) from the field, 26.7 percent (4-of-15) behind the 3-point arc, and 74.2 percent (23-of-31) from the free throw line. The Tigers out-rebounded the Mustangs 34-30.
Cal Poly shot 44.2 percent (23-of-52) from the field, 40.9 percent (9-of-22) behind the 3-point arc, and 53.3 percent (16-of-30) from the free throw line.
Pacific battles North Dakota (2-3) on Sunday at Matthew Knight Arena in their final game at the Global Sports Hardwood Challenge. Tipoff is 4:30 p.m. Pacific.