Moraga, Calif. – The Pacific men's basketball team dropped a 79-73 decision at Saint Mary's on Saturday, Jan. 18. The Tigers fell to 10-7 overall and 1-5 in West Coast Conference play. Saint Mary's improved to 14-5 and 4-2 in WCC play.
"It was a very physical game tonight with a lot of fouls called," said Head Coach Ron Verlin. "We had five players in double figures, but Saint Mary's hit big three-pointers down the stretch. We had a great effort and great intensity on the court. I was proud of how hard the guys competed tonight."
The Tigers opened up the game with a 5-0 deficit, but flipped it with a 10-3 run that included points from four different players to give Pacific a 10-8 lead with 14:43 to play in the half. The Tigers built the lead to seven (21-14) after a pair of three-pointers by seniors Tony Gill and Trevin Harris. Saint Mary's bounced back with 10-4 stretch to make it 25-24. Pacific extended its lead to 10 (34-24) with 1:57 left after scoring nine straight, including four from Gill. Pacific held a 38-31 lead at halftime.
In the opening minutes of the second half, the Gaels went on a 10-2 run that gave SMC a 46-45 lead with 13:40 to play in the game. The Tigers took the lead back at 49-47 with 12:34 to play after a layup by senior Andrew Bock. It was the last lead of the game for the Tigers, as the Gaels took control at the free throw line. Five straight points from Stephen Holt, including three at the line, gave SMC a 52-49 lead. The Gaels hit 14 of their first 17 free throws in the second half, holding a 17-1 free throw attempts edge just over midway through the second half. Holding a 55-53 lead, SMC went on a 12-1 run that featured four free throws and a pair of three-pointers to take a commanding 67-54 lead with 6:59 remaining. After the Gaels pushed the lead to 73-59, Pacific used a 12-2 run over the next four minutes to cut the lead to 75-71 with just 33 seconds left. Bock scored five points in that stretch. The Gaels hit four of six free throws the rest of the way to hold off the Tigers.
Gill led the Tigers with 16 points and six rebounds. Four Tigers joined him in double figures, as seniors Sama Taku (11), Bock (11), Harris (11) and senior Ross Rivera (10) each scored 10+.
The Tigers shot 50% from the field (23-46), while the Gaels shot 48.7% (19-39). Pacific hit 22 of 28 (78.6%) from the line, while SMC was 31 of 43 (72.1%).
The Tigers are next in action with a home game against Loyola Marymount on Thursday, Jan. 23. The game is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. start and will be televised by theW.tv.