Two-time All-American Ty Sabin from Ripon hit a contested 3-pointer with just under a second left to lead the visitors to a 75-72 win over host Pacific University on Friday afternoon in Forest Grove.
The contest between the two teams was an intense matchup for the whole 40 minutes, where the score was tied eight times and the lead change hands on 13 more occasions. "It was a tough game to lose, but as a whole I thought we competed at a good level," said Pacific University head coach Tim Cleary. "We tell our guys all the time that if we play at our level and someone beats us, we tip our caps, learn from our mistakes and move on."
The Boxers (7-3), led for nearly the entire first 20 minutes after a 3-point play by junior Nate Olowo (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), who finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds en route to his third double double of the season. He was joined in double figures by reserves R.J. Collins (Hollister, Calif.) and J.J. Spitler (Bend, Ore.), who added 14 and 12 points, respectively; plus, senior Michael Joseph (Anchorage, Alaska) added 11.
Sabin, who leads NCAA Division III in scoring with 32.6 ppg, finished the contest with 33 points, 26 of which came in the second 20 minutes to lead Ripon, who improve to 8-1. Joining Sabin in double figures were Brendan McCoy and Isaac Masters, who added 13 and 10 points, respectively.
"Sabin is an elite player, who made hard shots down the stretch, including the game winner in spite of good defense on our end," said Cleary. "I was pleased with the performance of our shooters and thought that J.J. Spitler and R.J. Collins gave us great minutes off the bench and shot well from a distance. Nate Olowo and Michael Joseph also played very well among some other solid performances. Ripon is an excellent ball club who provided us with some great competition going into our road swing at Whitworth (Fri., Jan. 6) and at Whitman (Sat., Jan. 7) next weekend.
Pacific built a lead as large as eight in the first 20 minutes on the strength of six 3-pointers – two from Joseph and Collins as well as two more from freshman Davis Holly (Bend, Ore.) en route to a 36-30 lead at the break. The loss snaps a nine-game winning streak for the Boxers' when leading at halftime. The two teams continued to trade spurts in the final minutes of the contest with neither team able to sustain a lead.
Facing a five-point deficit, 72-67 with 1:03 to play, a resilient Pacific squad managed to tie the game when Spitler hit his second 3-pointer of the game with 45 seconds left to play. Then, it was the Boxers' defense who rose to the occasion as junior J.B. Ewell (Portland, Ore.) stole the ball from a Red Hawks guard to go coast-to-coast with :15 left to play to tie the game at 72. After a timeout, the Red Hawks called on Sabin, who delivered the game-winning shot. A last-second attempt by the Boxers' came up short.
Next for Pacific is a grueling return to Northwest Conference play, where they will face a pair of top-10 teams in Whitworth (Friday, Jan. 6 at 8 p.m.) and Whitman (Saturday, Jan. 7 at 6 p.m.).
Post-Game Highlights, courtesy of Joe Londergan/Pacific Sports Info