BYU waves goodbye to win streak
Huge defensive plays? Check. Clutch free throws? Check. Biggest upset in the Conference so far this year? Check, check and check.
That’s right, the Pacific men’s basketball team (7-15) entered the den of the BYU Cougars (17-8) and emerged victorious on Saturday, taking home a 77-72 win. The heavily favored Cougars suffered their first home loss of the season, which also resulted in the team’s 17-game win streak at the Marriott Center coming to an end.
In a game that featured 17 different lead changes throughout, the Tigers left it all on the court in front of a crowd of just over 16,000 enthusiastic Cougar fans. Pacific proved that Tiger blood runs ice cold, though, as they made 18 of 19 free throws down the stretch to hang on for the victory. Free throws had been problematic for the Tigers in recent games, which made Saturday’s performance all the more impressive.
“It couldn’t have been any better, the way that game played out,” Pacific head coach Mike Burns told his team after the win, as captured by Pacific Athletic Relations. “It was an absolute team win.”
Indeed, the Tigers received valuable contributions from a number of players. Guard Alec Kobre ’16 led the team with 17 points and also brought down three rebounds. Guard T.J. Wallace ’17 kept up his usual consistency, posting 15 points, six rebounds and three assists.
It was Pacific’s defense, however, that really stole the show. Wallace led the team with three steals, and power forward Eric Thompson ’16 let out the beast with three highlight-reel blocks, in addition to eight points and eight boards. Thompson’s final block came with two minutes left in the game as BYU’s Nick Emery attempted a layup that would have cut Pacific’s lead to four. Instead, Thompson chased Emery down from behind and denied the shot.
The Tigers held the Cougars to just 23 percent shooting from the field in the second half, and that lockdown defense earned them praise from the opposition.
“They have really talented, individual guys that are tough matchups for us. They guarded us really well,” BYU head coach David Rose told the media following the game.
With the victory, Pacific improves to 7-15 overall and 5-7 in the West Coast Conference. The Tigers will now look to carry on this momentum into tonight’s matchup with Loyola Marymount at 7 p.m. in the Alex G. Spanos Center.
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