Tigers' Late Rally Falls Short As Pacific Drops WCC Opener To Saint Mary's

Andrew Bock (photo by Go Chic Photography)

Stockton, Calif. – The Pacific men's basketball team dropped an 88-80 decision to Saint Mary's on Monday, Dec. 30 at the Alex G. Spanos Center. Pacific is now 9-3 overall and 0-1 in West Coast Conference play. Saint Mary's is 10-3 overall and 1-0 in WCC play.

The Tigers opened with a basket from senior Khalil Kelley to take a 2-0 lead, but it was the only lead of the game for the Tigers as the Gaels scored six straight to take a 6-2 advantage. After the Tigers cut the lead back to 12-10, the Gaels pushed it back to 19-11. Senior Andrew Bock scored six points in an 11-3 run to even the game at 22-22 with 9:32 to play in the half. Kerry Carter then hit two of the Gaels three three-pointers in a 9-2 run as SMC took the lead back at 31-24 with 6:15 to go. The Tigers cut it to three on three more occasions in the first half, but the Gaels hit a late three-pointer to hold a 45-39 halftime lead.

The Tigers held Saint Mary's to 0-6 shooting to open the second half, outscoring the Gaels 5-0 to cut the lead to 45-44 with 17:52 to play. The Gaels then hit seven straight shots to open up a 62-50 lead with 11:12 to play.  The Gaels pushed their lead to 13 on three occasions, and held a 13-point lead (79-66) with 2:26 to go. Pacific then outscored the Gaels 14-6 over the next two minutes to make it 85-80 with 41 seconds left. After Stephen Holt hit one of two free throws, senior Ross Rivera's three-pointer was just off the mark in an attempt to make it a one-possession game. The Gaels hit two more free throws for the final margin.

Bock led the Tigers with a career-high 23 points, while senior Sama Taku added 17 points and Rivera had 10. Senior Tony Gill had seven points and a career-high 12 rebounds.

Pacific was just 1-10 from three-point range in the second half and 4-16 for the game. The Gaels hit 13 of 26 from three point from for 50.0%. The Tigers outscored Saint Mary's 40-24 on points in the paint, but the Gaels had a 20-7 advantage in points off of turnovers.

The Tigers are next in action at Portland on Thursday, Jan. 2 at 7:00 p.m. The game will be televised live by Root Sports and TheW.tv.