Boxers Fall in Season Opener to UT Tyler, 63-62

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The University of Texas at Tyler nearly led from start to finish and withstood a late rally by host Pacific University in a 63-62 win on Saturday in Forest Grove, Oregon.

The Patriots (1-1), who were playing their second game in two days, took a one-point lead with 14:28 left in the first half and remained in front for the rest of the contest. Three players for UT Tyler scored in double figures, including Melvin Anthony, who had a game-high 17 points to lead the visitors from the Lone Star state. He scored seven of the first 12 points for the early lead. Reserve Jordan Francis added 16 points and Josh Tatum scored 12 in the win.
The Boxers (0-1) were led by senior K.C. Harrison and junior Nate Olowo, who had 12 and 10 points, respectively.
"I thought our level of competing was very good," said Pacific University head coach Tim Cleary. "We defended at a good level. I thought we competed on the glass – we had 24 offensive rebounds and outrebounded them 55 to 41. When you do those kind of things, you know you are competing." The top rebounder for Pacific was Olowo, who had nine rebounds – just shy of a double double and Harrison added eight rebounds from his guard position.
Cleary was pleased with the performance of his young guys, who were seeing their first Boxer action. including freshmen Davis Holly and Lane Josi and sophomore transfer Nick Edens. In 26 minutes of action, Holly scored eight points and had four assists, plus Josi added two points and two rebounds in five minutes of work. In addition, Edens added four points and four rebounds in 16 minutes of time.
After falling behind as much as seven, 22-15, the Boxers scored five unanswered points to cut the deficit to 22-20 with 5:15 left in the opening half. Four-straight points by UT Tyler extended the lead to six, but the Boxers fought back to make it a one-point game just before halftime. In the second half, on a pair of occasions, the visitors built a nine-point lead on Pacific.  
Facing a 59-50 deficit with 6:29 to play, an 11-2 run by the Boxers cut the deficit to two, 61-59 with 1:49 to play. Pacific had three looks to tie the game for just the third time, but the Patriots came away with a defensive rebound and Tatum made a pair of free throws to make it a four-point contest. With :10 to play, Holly hit a 3-pointer but after a Boxers' timeout, the Patriots were able to get the ball in bounds and come away with the win.
Next, Pacific will host Portland Bible at the Stoller Center on Wednesday, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m. before heading to California for the Thanksgiving holiday.