Tony Gill’s basket with 1:01 remaining stood up as the Pacific Tigers withstood a turnover, two missed free throws and a layup at the buzzer that missed to beat the Grand Canyon Antelopes 69-67 Wednesday night at GCU Arena in Phoenix in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.
The Tigers (16-15) will advance to the second round on Friday or Saturday against an opponent yet to be determined.
It was Grand Canyon’s first appearance in postseason play in this, their first season transitioning to Division I, and the Antelopes (15-15) led by as many as 15 points early in the second half before Pacific clawed its way back into the game.
The Tigers put together a 12-0 run in the middle of the second half to tie the game at 49-49 and led 66-62 with 2:37 remaining before Grand Canyon tied the game on a 3-pointer by Akachi Okugo with 1:30 to go.
Andrew Bock got into the lane and missed from short range, but Gill snagged the offensive rebound and scored the put-back to put Pacific on top 69-67 with 1:01 remaining.
Gill fouled Jerome Garrison with 46 seconds left, but Garrison missed both of his free throw attempts.
With 16 seconds to go, Gill turned the ball over, giving Grand Canyon an opportunity to tie it or win it.
But Garrison’s driving layup was off the mark as time expired and Pacific escaped with the win.
Bock led the Tigers with 18 points, while Gill and Sama Taku each scored 15 points. Gill also had seven rounds and Taku handed out four assists.
Daniel Alexander and Killian Larson scored 20 points each for the Antelopes, with Larson pulling down 11 boards but also committing eight turnovers. Garrison finished with 13 points and Okugo handed out seven assists.
Pacific was 27-for-55 (49.1 percent) overall, 6-for-21 (28.6 percent) from 3-point range and 9-for-14 (64.3 percent) from the free throw line. Grand Canyon was 21-for-44 (47.7 percent), 11-for-22 (50 percent) and 14-for-21 (66.7 percent).
The Tigers had the rebounding edge 33-26 and dominated in the paint, outscoring the Antelopes 36-14. Even though Grand Canyon committed 17 turnovers to just 15 for Pacific, the Antelopes got 20 points off those miscues to just 13 for the Tigers.