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

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.