Pacific Defeats Pepperdine 76-66

Sama Taku (photo by Go Chic Photography)

Stockton, Calif. - The Pacific men's basketball team defeated Pepperdine 76-66 on Saturday, Jan. 25. The Tigers improved to 11-8 overall and 2-6 in West Coast Conference play. Pepperdine dropped to 12-10 and 5-5 in WCC play.

"Our defense really made a difference tonight," said Pacific Head Coach Ron Verlin. "Holding a great offensive team like Pepperdine without a point for seven minutes was really big. "Tony, Andrew and Sama all made big plays in the second half for us, which helped us get a win we really needed."

The Tigers fell behind 8-4, but a pair of three-pointers from senior Tony Gill and Aaron Short and four points from senior Sama Taku gave the Tigers a 16-12 lead with 12:29 to play in the half. Pepperdine evened it up at 22-22, but five points from Taku jump-started a 10-2 run that gave Pacific a 32-24 lead with 6:38 left. The ebb and flow of the game then went the Waves' way, as five players scored in a 14-4 run to give Pepperdine a 38-36 lead. A layup from Short evened it up as the game headed to halftime 38-38.

In the opening moments of the second half, Pepperdine took a 45-38 lead with a 7-0 start. Senior Andrew Bock then started a 14-0 run with a pair of layups as the Tigers held Pepperdine scoreless for seven minutes and switched it to a 52-45 advantage with 10:33 to play. Pacific's defense stepped up, forcing nine missed shots and five turnovers in the stretch. After a layup by the Waves' Amadi Udenyi, the Tigers pushed the lead to 10 (60-50), getting five points from Gill. A pair of free throws from Pepperdine's Stacy Davis cut the Tigers' lead to 64-58 with 4:11 to play, but a jumper by senior Ross Rivera and a layup from Gill pushed the lead back to 10 (68-58) and it would not fall below seven the rest of the way.

Taku led the Tigers with 18 points, while Gill added 17 and Bock scored 12. Senior Trevin Harris had a career-high six assists and three steals. The Tigers shot 56.0% from the field (28-50) and 50.0% from three-point range (7-14). The Waves shot just 31.3% (10-32) from the field in the second half, to finish at 42.1% (24-57) for the game. Pacific had 20 turnovers in the game, while the Waves had 17.

The Tigers are next in action with a road game at BYU on Thursday, Jan. 30. The game is scheduled for a 6:00 p.m. (PST) start and will be televised nationally by BYU TV.