Tigers Advance To CIT Semifinals With Win Over San Diego
Stockton, Calif. – The Pacific men's basketball team advanced to semifinals of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament with a 75-60 victory over San Diego at the Alex G. Spanos Center on Wednesday, March 26. With the win, the Tigers improved to 18-15 overall. The Toreros finished the season at 18-17. It was Pacific's eighth win in three CIT appearances, which is a tournament record.
"This team just keeps improving," said Pacific Head Coach Ron Verlin. "We got off to a great start tonight, but San Diego came back. We really had to battle it out in the second half. Tony Gill and Andrew Bock really stepped up tonight, but it was truly a team effort."
Pacific came out hot from the field, hitting its first four shots from the field to take a 10-0 lead just 2:13 into the game. Senior Andrew Bock scored five points in the opening run, including a layup after a steal. The Tigers then went cold from the field, going just 4-18 from the field over the next 11 minutes as the Toreros took a 22-19 lead. Pacific then scored eight straight from four different players to regain the lead at 27-22 with 4:07 left. After the Toreros got a bucket from Christopher Anderson, the Tigers scored the final six points to take a 32-24 lead at the halftime break.
San Diego scored the first seven points of the second half, to cut the Tiger lead to 32-31. After a pair of layups by senior Khalil Kelley and junior Gabriel Aguirre, USD's Duda Sanadze scored the final four points of an 8-2 run to give the Toreros a 39-38 lead with 12:59 to go. After three lead changes and the second of a couple of ties, the game was knotted at 41-41. Bock then stepped up for the Tigers, hitting a pair of three-pointers and scoring all of the teams' points in a 7-0 run as Pacific jumped to a 48-41 lead with 9:44 remaining in the game. The Toreros again cut it back, this time trailing just 53-50 with 5:33 to play after another Sanadze layup. Three-pointers from Gill and Bock started a 12-6 stretch that left the Tigers with a 65-56 lead and just 2:23 left. The Tigers hit all eight free throws the rest of the way to stretch the lead to the final margin of 15.
Bock tied his career high with 23 points, while Gill had his first career double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Senior Sama Taku added 10 points. The Tigers shot 48.0% from the field, while holding USD to 37.0%. The Toreros held a 32-30 edge in the paint, but Pacific outscored USD 18-6 from beyond the arc. The Tigers also held a 36-31 rebounding advantage.
The Tigers will next be in action in the semifinals of the CIT on Tuesday, April 1. Pacific is waiting for the official announcement of its opponent.