Recap: Pacific 64, UC Irvine 55
Pacific 64, UC Irvine 55: Tony Gill scored 19 points and the Tigers extended the coaching career of Bob Thomason at least another game by winning the Big West Conference championship at Anaheim, Calif.Thomason, who announced his retirement effective at the end of the season after 25 years on the sidelines, guided Pacific (22-12) to its fifth Big West title and the conference's automatic NCAA berth. Lorenzo McCloud added 16 for the Tigers.Daman Starring led UC Irvine (20-15) with 19 points. Chris McNealy added a dozen for the Anteaters, who saw their three-game winning streak come to an end.The second-seeded Tigers led 31-20 at the break and opened up a 38-25 with 16:50 left on Gill's jumper. But UC Irvine, which has never won the tournament title, twice cut the deficit to three points midway through the second half.Pacific did a solid job at the free-throw line hitting 19-of-24 from the stripe and fended off the Anteaters' rally. McCloud had eight points down the stretch for the Tigers.GAME NOTEBOOK: Travis Fulton grabbed a game-high eight rebounds for Pacific. Fulton was the hero in the Tigers' semifinal win with a putback in the final seconds to give Pacific a two-point win over Cal-Poly. ...With the score tied at 10, Gill hit a jumper to start a 16-4 run and Pacific never trailed again. The Anteaters shot 25.9 in the first half. ...It was UC Irvine's fifth trip to the final.
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