UC Riverside men’s basketball hangs tough, but is defeated by Pacific

By in Press Enterprise on December 1, 2017

By Obrey Brown

By Obrey Brown
Correspondent
RIVERSIDE >> Dikymbe Martin scored 15 points to lead UC Riverside on Thursday night, but the Highlanders lost 57-55 to University of the Pacific in a nonconference game.
It was Martin’s play — he also had five steals and four assists —that sparked a UCR (2-4) comeback from a 27-11 deficit in the first half to make it a close game.
Pacific’s Namdi Okonkwo’s dunk off Jahlil Tripp’s feed gave the Tigers (4-4) a 16-point lead. Just when it seemed like they were about to take control, UCR started the battle back into contention.
D.J. Sylvester’s driving layup over Okonkwo, who had five blocks, was one of Pacific’s highlights. Moments earlier, Martin’s steal led to a basket. Brandon Rosser’s follow, two free throws and another Martin steal cut the gap to 31-22 by halftime.
“Defense got us back in it,” said Martin. “We’ve lost a lot of close games at home. We’ve been there countless times. We’ve got to learn from those.”
Martin hit a 3-pointer, Alex Larsson took a Chance Murray pass for a basket, then drilled another 3-pointer that tied the score at 46-46 with 12 minutes left.
In a remarkably back-and-forth duel, UCR’s 7-footer, Menno Dijkstra, buried a 21-footer to bring the Highlanders to within 56-53 with 3:23 left.
Moments later, Dijkstra took aim from the left corner with a chance to tie. Okonkwo, UOP’s 7-footer, fired out to the corner and swatted the shot away.
“That was a big play,” said UCR coach Dennis Cutts. “Menno’s a very good 3-point shooter. He needs his space.”
Martin’s 10-footer from the right with one minute left brought UCR to within 56-55.
UOP’s Anthony Townes hit one of two free throws with 34 seconds left to make it 57-55.
Martin missed a 15-footer to tie, Roberto Gallinat picking off the rebound with 16.8 seconds left. UOP’s Kendall Small, […]    

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