Los Banos did not make it easy, though, tying the game early in the fourth quarter with a 6-0 run.
“A team like that has nothing to lose, so they’re going to start throwing up threes, they’ll start attacking the basket and play with no fear, because they have absolutely nothing to lose,” Patterson coach Brian de la Porte said. “You have to kind of weather the storm a little bit. Wednesday nights, on the road, in the WAC, doesn’t matter who you play, they’re tough.”
Cariaun Williams led Patterson with 14 points, but teammate Jordan Levu notched a double-double, scoring 12 and bringing down 12 rebounds.
“We approach each game the same every week, no matter who we play,” Levu said. “But after coming off a big loss, we had to step up the next game strong. It’s our adversity – how would our team bounce back?”
Patterson led by as much at 12 in the third quarter before Los Banos started chipping away at the lead. LB guard Justin Delgado scored on a put-back at the third-quarter buzzer to pull within 6, then the home Tigers started the fourth quarter with a 6-0 run to tie the game 38-38.
“It shocked some of us, but at the end of the day, we still have to play our game,” Levu said.
Patterson (12-9, 6-2 WAC) pulled away again, starting with a Damarrio Hammonds bucket with 5:10 remaining. By the time Williams followed his own missed 3-point attempt with an offensive rebound and lay-in off the glass with 2:45 remaining, the road Tigers had a 47-42 lead. Los Banos didn’t score again.
“We beat these guys by 40 at our place a week ago, and we knew it would be tough coming in here tonight,” de la Porte said. “It’s their gym, they’re a team that plays with pride, and so you’ve just got to be ready to go”
The loss left Los Banos still winless in league play at 0-7, and 6-12 overall. LB has developed a habit of tying or coming close in the fourth quarter before giving the game away.
“It’s a long process. The first one’s the hardest one, especially when you’re in our situation when we’re 0-8 or whatever we are. You look for stuff to motivate the kids,” Los Banos coach Mike Bonillas said. “Like I explained to them, you just have to believe that you’re good enough to play with anybody. That’s the second-best team in the league, and you took them to the last two minutes.”