And with reigning Western Athletic Conference champion Central Catholic High of Modesto in town for a crucial early-season game, the timing couldn't have been worse.
Close-range shots rolled around and out. Loose balls caromed away from home-team hands. The chaos created by the Tigers' defense produced more Raider fast breaks than turnovers.
The result: a discouraging 76-50 loss to a dominant Central Catholic team and a wound to its burgeoning hopes of a run at a WAC title.
A season ago, after winning 13 games straight, including a 9-0 start in league play, the Tigers dropped a late-season road meeting to the Central Catholic Raiders. Patterson eventually finished the 2012-13 WAC campaign in second place, one game behind Central Catholic.
Friday night's contest, anticipated as a compelling matchup of two conference frontrunners, was all but settled some eight minutes into the game. A three-point Tigers first quarter let the Raiders' cruising offense build an insurmountable lead that ballooned to 16 at halftime and never deflated.
Patterson (8-8 overall, 2-1 WAC) got off to a slow start, as the Tigers struggled offensively in a loss, their second consecutive to the rival Raiders.
Two days after claiming an emotionally charged victory over Ceres, the Tigers managed only 14 points in the second period, shooting just 1-of-15 to open the game, and could not make up a 33-17 first-half deficit.
Seniors Cariaun Williams and Justin Rodriguez led Patterson starters with 12 points and two rebounds apiece, but the Tigers received only 32 points from its starting five. Junior Kevin Phelps paced the Tiger reserves with 12 points and a team-high eight boards.
It was a miserable first three quarters for Patterson, who shot only 32 percent (12-37) from the field during the opening three periods, as the Raiders stretched their lead to 29 at 59-30 on a Joe Hamilton buzzer-beater, heading into the final eight minutes.
Patterson shot just 37 percent from the field for the game and was forced to hurl up 23 3-point attempts, making four.
The Tigers will travel for a Friday, Jan. 17 game against the Livingston Wolves. Game time is 7:30 p.m. at Livingston High School.
Michael Lawson tallied 16 points and seven rebounds for Patterson as the Tigers rally fell short to WAC foe Central Catholic 50-43 Friday night at home.
Avery Dehoyos added 14 points and Spirit Ricks (eight rebounds) nine for Patterson, which trailed by 14 at the end of three quarters but narrowly outscored the visitors 16-12 in the final period.
Patterson cut the lead to seven three times in the fourth quarter, but the contest belonged solely to Central Catholic.
Kosi Ogbuli (10 rebounds) and Adam Hansen each scored four points, while Nana Appiah scored three for the Tigers.
A doozy of a fourth quarter where the teams swapped the lead four times, ended in favor of Central Catholic Friday, Jan. 10, as the Raiders held on to beat the freshman Tigers 34-31.
The game was close all the way until the end, with a slim lead for the visitors in the final ticks. Patterson had the ball with a chance to tie, but a last-second 3-pointer by Angel Rojas bounced on the rim and fell off and Central Catholic escaped with a victory.
Rojas (four rebounds, three assists) and Tevita Kelepi (four rebounds) were Patterson's leading scorers with 10 points apiece, while teammates Pierre Williams and Tre McGill (six rebounds) added five and four points, respectively.
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or email@example.com.