Intensity filled the crowd as the Pacific Union College men's basketball team grasped a 77-76 home court win against the CSU Cal Maritime Keelhaulers on Saturday night, Feb. 8.
The Pioneers and the Keelhaulers were neck-to-neck the entire match, and were tied 29-29 with 3:02 left in the first half. Pioneer guard Mario Perez banked a three-pointer to bring the Pioneers up 36-31. By the end of the half, PUC was leading 38-34.
The second half brought more excitement to the court as Pioneer forward Bryan Patterson executed a three-point play. Perez followed with two three-pointers in a row. Pioneer forward Brett Graves got in on the action with another three-pointer which brought PUC up 52-40 and caused a Keelhauler time-out.
With 9:58 left in the second half, Pioneer forward Rob Adams brought the crowd to their feet with a tip-in dunk off of a missed free throw by Perez. The Keelhaulers answered with three consecutive three-pointers from forward Mike Walker which gave them a 61-59 lead.
Pioneer forward Matt Hickman got fouled and made both of his free throws, bringing PUC a 77-73 lead with :10 left in the game. The Keelhaulers came back with a three-pointer by Walker with :03 left . With the Pioneers in possession of the ball, Perez got fouled but missed his free throws. The Keelhaulers got the rebound but the buzzer sounded with the Pioneers at a one-point advantage.
"We had chances but we didn't take advantage of them," said Keelhauler captain Rich Mendoza.
The Pioneers were led by Mario Perez with 20 points, and Bryan Banfield with 12 rebounds. Mike Walker led the Keelhaulers with 25 points.