It was the fourth straight year that the Pacific University men’s basketball team completed their season with 12 wins. With a close game on Feb. 17 in a crowded gymnasium in Newberg, Ore., the Boxers had a chance to break that streak against George Fox University. However, the Bruins spoiled the season finale and again, the program ended with a 12-game winning season.
The Boxers had an up and down season as they began the season 8-0, but dropped the next seven games. In that losing streak, they lost to conference teams such as No. 1 Whitman College and No. 8 Whitworth University.
They would then proceed to bounce back, with wins over George Fox University, Pacific Lutheran University and a double overtime win against Lewis & Clark College. After that, the Boxers would drop the next six of their seven, finishing the season 12-13, 6-10 in the Northwest Conference (NWC).
Despite the rocky season, the team had many bright spots including senior forward Nate Olowo. In his fourth year with Pacific, Olowo recorded nine double-doubles on the season and averaged 14.5 points a game, along with his average of 9.3 rebounds. Olowo now ranks second all-time in rebounds for the university with 621. Dan French holds the record with 688 all-time.
Head coach Jerrod Gibson had nothing but respect for his forward, as Olowo was one of Gibson’s first recruits when he started at Pacific.
“He was instrumental,” Gibson said. “Saturday was a sad day for me, as Nate was one of my first recruits when I got here five years ago. He was the first guy we were able to find and knew he had a good opportunity to have a good career in front of him. I couldn’t be more-happy for him, he had a great senior year. Hopefully, the all-league voting will recognize him.”
Besides the potential all-league forward, the Boxers had other key contributors. Pacific had three players who were in the 300-point club, these players included Olowo, sophomore point guard Davis Holly and junior Brevin Brown.
Holly showed the most improvement last season, bumping up his average point total from 7.3 to 12.8. In the assist category, he averaged 2.6 last season, to 3.9 this season. Rebound wise, he would go from an average of 1.9 to a 3.7 per game. He would also play the most minutes on the team, averaging 33.6 a game.
Gibson commented on how Holly’s game and leadership helped the team succeed.
“Davis was tremendous for us,” Gibson said. “Davis still has room to grow which is exciting. His leadership on the floor is very savvy, he’s got a really good feel and knows how to play.”
Junior transfer from Everett Community College, Brevin Brown, was an important add in the offseason. Brown would average a team high of 14.8 points per game. He would also lead the team with eight 20 or more point efforts on the season. Known for his three-point shooting, Brown knocked down 51 of his 150 attempts on the season. In a win over George Fox to snap the Boxers seven game losing streak, Brown hit a school record nine three-pointers en route to 33 points in the game.
As for Gibson, he entered the season as an interim after former coach Tim Cleary resigned. The university will now begin its search for a permanent head coach this offseason. Gibson will have the opportunity to take the title of “interim” away and hope to become the long-term coach for the program.
“My goal is to be here for the long term,” Gibson said. “Hopefully I get that opportunity, there will be some very good applicants I will be going up against. I’m grateful for Ken Schumann to give me the opportunity this year, it’s something you always work for.”