Surprise!  Kansas to Face Pacific Sunday

For the first time since 1967, the University of the Pacific will see a second-round game in the NCAA Tournament.

The 12th-seeded controlled Friday night’s early game from wire-to-wire and beat #5 seed Providence, 66-58, to win their 16th game in a row.

Pacific didn’t play like a 12-seed.  The Tigers played with confidence the entire game, taking a lead into the locker room at halftime and never giving it up.

“Especially when they get to three minutes left in the game, these guys don’t think anyone can beat them.  They made some big plays,” said Pacific coach Bob Thomason.

Pacific never backed down from the bigger, more athletic Friars.  Providence won the rebounding battle 36-25, but Pacific held their opponent to one shot on several key late possessions.

“We knew we had to play a great game and really beat Providence up.  We knew we had to keep them in the 50s and that’s what we did,” Tiger guard Christian Maraker said.

Pacific was lead in scoring by Miah Davis with 19 points.  Guillaurne Yango helped the cause with 18 points and Tom Cockle broke into double-figures with 11.

So what will coach Thomason do to get his team ready to take on Kansas after one of the program’s biggest wins ever?

“I don’t know,” Thomason laughed.  “We took last Monday off.  Tuesday and Wednesday weren’t good practices.  But the last few days were really focused.  It’s a game of emotions, and I want the guys to enjoy tonight, but we’re going to rest and get our legs.  I know we’re tired, but there’ll be a time when it ends, and then we can rest.”

The Friars’ outstanding forward Ryan Gomes wrapped up his season in style with 27 points and 13 rebounds.

Photo courtesy: (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)


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