UC MERCED, CA – The University of California, Merced men’s basketball team’s season came to an emotional end Saturday evening. Even though the team couldn’t slay Goliath, the Bobcats certainly opened some eye in their 65-55 loss to Cal Maritime in the semi-finals of the Cal Pac Conference Tournament..
Entering the tournament as the #4 seed, the odds were stacked against them, having to face #1 California Maritime Academy on their home court. The Bobcats got off to a bumpy start, failing to score for the first several minutes of the game.
With seven seniors on the team, it was obvious the team wasn’t just going to roll over though. Michael Pierick nearly single-handedly kept the Bobcats in the game, finishing the game with 25 points on 8-10 shooting, including 6-8 from long-range. Joining his senior counterpart with a strong showing in the final game of his career was Ryan Edwards, who was strong on the boards all night, finishing with nine points and seven rebounds, including four on the offensive end.
UC Merced was able to cut the lead to just seven points in the second half after at one point trailing by 18. Unfortunately that seven-point deficit would be as close as the team would come to gaining their first lead of the game.
The season is now over for the team, but there’s much to be said about their accomplishments. After winning just three games in the past two season, including zero conference games last season, the Bobcats turned things around this year. The team won nine total games, with five of them coming in conference, and earned the #4 seed in the tournament.