A big run by Pacific to open the second half proved to be the downfall for North Dakota on Sunday evening at Matt Arena as the Tigers wound up with a 93-76 victory in the Global Sports Hardwood Challenge finale for both teams.
UND (2-4) held a 48-45 at halftime lead after playing its best basketball of the three-day tournament, but after making 17 first-half field goals the Green and White managed just nine after the break.
The first of those second-half baskets came on a dunk by senior Troy Huff, who had a game-high 21 points, but unfortunately that ended an over eight-minute field goal drought to start the stanza.
Pacific (6-1) took advantage of the turnover-plagued cold stretch by UND to take its first lead since a 2-0 start and build a double-digit lead at 64-52 during that span.
"We played hard for 40 minutes, but only executed the game plan for 20," UND head coach Brian Jones said. "Pacific, being the veteran team that they are, did not get rattled and stuck to their game plan. That allowed them to create some separation."
The loss was the third of the weekend for UND, who was in a four-team field that all advanced to postseason play a year ago. Pacific, meanwhile, improved to 2-1 in the tournament with its lone loss coming at the hands of host Oregon.
Senior Jamal Webb had his best game of the season for UND, scoring 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field. Webb had 11 first-half points and Huff had 16 points and eight rebounds at the break, but the offense never found a rhythm after the break.
After turning the ball over only six times in the opening half, Pacific forced UND into 11 miscues in the closing 20 minutes with several of those coming during that first eight-minute stretch.
Tim Thomas matched Pacific's largest lead of the game at 81-64 with a tip-in, but UND had one last run to put a scare into the Tigers. Webb started a quick 8-0 run with six minutes remaining that saw resereve forward Alonzo Traylor cap it with three consecutive baskets.
That spurt put the deficit at single digits, but Pacific would respond with a 12-0 run to quickly end any thoughts of a UND comeback.
Five Tigers reached double figures with reserve forward Ross Rivera leading the way with 19 points. He had 14 of those in the first half when the Tigers would not let UND extend its lead by more than seven points. Each time UND flirted with breaking the game open, Pacific had an answer, but would never take the lead again until after the half.
The Tigers ended up with a 56.5 field goal percentage, while UND shot just 41.3 percent from the field thanks to a 9-for-26 effort after the break. Pacific also did a better job on the glass after the half, overcoming a seven-rebound deficit to end up with a 34-32 advantage for the game.
Senior Aaron Anderson was the third UND player to reach double figures with 11 points. UND opened the game by making four of its first five 3-point attempts, but went just 2-for-22 the rest of the way.
UND will play again next Saturday at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse in a game against Butler of the Big East. Tipoff is slated for 5 p.m. CT and will be televised nationally on FoxSports1.
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