Stockton, Calif. – Pacific junior Ross Rivera led three Tigers in double figures with 17 points as the Tiger men's basketball team defeated San Francisco 67-59 on Saturday, Dec. 8. The Tigers improved to 5-4, while San Francisco dropped to 5-2.
"After getting down eight in the second half, we played fantastic basketball. We shared the basketball, made the extra pass and our four post guys played their best game of the year," said Tiger head coach Bob Thomason.
The Tigers fell behind 10-0 in the first three minutes of the game. Trailing 12-2, Pacific went on a 13-4 run, sparked by six points from senior Rodrigo De Souza to trail 16-15 with 12:21 to play in the half. The Dons built the lead back to 25-17, before the Tigers clawed back the rest of the half. Junior Tony Gill scored six points in next five minutes as Pacific used a 10-2 stretch to even the score at 27-27. USF got a layup from De'End Parker to lead 29-27 at the break.
A short jumper by junior Khalil Kelley evened it up in the opening moments of the second half tied it at 29-29. The Dons hit a pair of three-pointers in an 8-0 run to take a 37-29 lead with 15:32 left. The Tigers responded with a 13-2 run, getting nine points from Rivera to their first lead of the game (42-39) with 11:55 to play. USF evened it up at 49-49 with just under seven minutes to play, but the Tigers responded again. This time it was senior Travis Fulton who stepped up, scoring six points on a three-pointer and a three-point play as Pacific took a 57-50 lead with 5:11 to play in the game. With the Tigers leading 61-55, USF scored on a dunk from Mark Tollefson and a layup by Cole Dickerson to close the gap to 61-59 with just 1:23 to play. Fulton hit a big jumper on the Tigers' next possession to widen the gap and after a USF turnover, Rivera scored on a layup to make it 65-59 with just :27 to play. Fulton grabbed a pair of rebounds and hit a pair of free throws in the final seconds to secure the win.
Rivera led the Tigers with a season-high 17 points, while Fulton added 12 points. They combined for 23 points in the second half. Kelley was the only other Tiger in double figures with 10 points. Dickerson and Tollefson led the Dons with 14 points each.
The Tigers shot 52.0%, including 14-24 (58.3%) in the second half. The Dons shot 42.3% from the field for the game, but were just 6-15 (40.0%) from the free throw line. Pacific had 19 assists on 26 baskets, including seven from senior Lorenzo McCloud.