Stockton, Calif. - Junior guard David Taylor dropped a game-high 19 points and the Tigers hit 10 three-pointers en route to a 79-72 exhibition win over Carroll College at the Alex G. Spanos Center on Saturday, Nov. 7. Pacific held off a late charge by the Fighting Saints to come up with the opening win to their 2015-16 campaign as the Tigers saw three players hit double-digits in the scorebook.
Taking advantage of a hot touch from behind the arc, the Tigers jumped out to an early lead and never looked back as Pacific slowly pulled away to build a comfortable lead at the break. Fittingly, the Tigers' first bucket of the night came from Taylor as the combo-guard knocked down his first of three first-half triples from the short corner just in front of the Carroll College bench.
Despite the early hot shooting Pacific went through a 5:26 span without a point before newcomer Maleke Haynes stopped the drought with a pull-up jumper in the paint with just over three minutes to play. During the dry spell, the Tigers maintained their advantage as the Saints were able to only close to within four before the Haynes jumper. Additionally, the Tigers' guards helped to open up the paint where forward Jacob Lampkin was the beneficiary to the tune of four easy buckets at the rim while scoring 11 first half points.
In all, the Tigers would hit six first-half three-pointers between Taylor and Haynes who buried his final shot from distance with just :29 seconds remaining to bookend the half for Pacific from three-point territory.
A careless start to the second half allowed the Saints to fight their way back into the game, cutting Pacific's nine-point halftime lead to just one at 50-49 at the 13:42 mark of the final half. Up one, the Tigers got back three in the old-fashion way when freshman Anthony Townes was fouled on a layup and converted the free-throw to push the lead back to four. Ilias Theodorou would add three more minutes late, knocking down his first jumper from distance
Pacific would push its lead back to 10 with just under eight minutes to play in the game when D.J. Ursery got into the fun by knocking down his first three of the night from the short corner. However, the lead would be short-lived for the Tigers as the Saints again pushed back, this time scoring eight unanswered points in just over a minutes time to cut the lead to just one at 69-68 with 5:16 to play. Again, the Tigers would calmly answer the run with another big shot, this time just inside the arc, when Taylor found some daylight at the top of the key and knocked down the jumper.
Despite the scare the Tigers would never relinquish their lead as a free throw by junior T.J. Wallace put Pacific up two before Taylor gave the Tigers some breathing room with a step-back three from the left angle. While it was the offense that controlled the game it was defense that sealed the win for Pacific when Theodorou stuffed a reverse layup attempt with 1:28 to play leading to a layup on the other end by Wallace that put the Tigers back up seven. The Tigers would close the game with seven straight stops to pull way for the win.
As a team, the Tigers shot 51.9% from the floor hitting 27-of-52 shots while tagging the Saints for 10 three-pointers. Pacific also held the rebounding edge in the matchup, 34-27. The rebounding effort was led by Lampkin who cleared the glass nine times, finishing one board short of a double-double after scoring 13 points in the paint. Lampkin was matched by Haynes who also scored 13 points, knocking down 3-of-5 from behind the arc.
The Saints put five players in double-figures led by Oliver Carr's 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Zach Taylor chipped in 14 before fouling out of the game while Ryan Imhoff added 13 points. Sam McMahon and Match Turnham each added 10 points as the Saints shot 44.2% from the floor and hit 7-of-22 from behind the arc.
Pacific starts the regular season on Friday, Nov. 13 when the Tigers travel to Tucson, Ariz. to take on the No. 13 ranked Wildcats of Arizona. The game is scheduled for 7:00 pm from the McKale Memorial Center.