Tigers Dominate Pacific Union For Win In Home Opener

Eric Thompson (photo by Keith Sanpei)
Eric Thompson (photo by Keith Sanpei)

Stockton, Calif. - The Pacific men's basketball team opened the regular season home schedule with an 81-56 win over Pacific Union on Thursday, Nov. 20. The Tigers improved to 2-1 on the season, while Pacific Union dropped to 1-5.

"To lose two starters coming into this game made it a bit more difficult, but I was glad to see everyone score," said Head Coach Ron Verlin. "There were definitely some bright points in the game. I was very happy about Dulani getting a 11 assists and just one turnover in his first start at point guard and Eric was outstanding in the middle, not missing a shot. We'll take the win, but we have a lot of room for improvement."

In the first four minutes, the Tigers took an 11-4 lead with all points coming from Sami Eleraky (4) and Eric Thompson (7). Jordan Monteith hit a three-pointer as the Pioneers scored five straight points to cut Pacific's lead to 11-9 with 14:38 to play in the first half. The Tigers answered with a 9-2 run started by a three-pointer by Alec Kobre and four Tigers scoring to take the lead to 20-11 with just under 12 minutes to go in the half. After PUC cut it back to five, Ray Bowles sparked an 11-2 run with four points to give the Tigers a 14 point lead (31-17) with 7:40 to go. With the lead cut back to nine (31-22) after a Troy Moon jumper, Pacific scored eight straight, getting a pair of three-pointers from Aaron Hendricks and Dulani Robinson to push the lead to 41-24 lead with just under a minute to play and held a 41-27 half-time lead.

Four different Tigers scored in a 9-4 stretch as Pacific extended the lead to 50-31 with 16:36 to play. Another 7-1 stretch that had a three-pointer from D.J. Ursery and a jumper from Thomas Peters gave the Tigers a 22-point lead (61-39) as the game reached the midpoint of the second half. A 10-2 run capped by a Robinson three-pointer gave the Tigers their largest lead of the game (75-48) and Pacific cruised to the victory from there.

Thompson led the Tigers with 19 points and nine rebounds, both career bests. Robinson had his first career double-double with 10 points and 11 assists. Bowles added 12 points, and Eleraky had a career-best 10 rebounds. The Tigers shot 56.5% from the field, hitting 35 of 62 shots. Pacific had a considerable height advantage and used that to out-score the Pioneers 54-14 on points in the paint. All 13 Tigers that saw action scored at least two points. Gabriel Aguirre and T.J. Wallace missed action with injuries for Pacific.

The Tigers are next in action at the Marv Harshman Classic against Washington on Sunday, Nov. 23 at Key Arena in Seattle, Wash. The game is at 5:00 p.m. prior to Seattle facing Montana in the second game. Pacific will then spend Thanksgiving at the Great Alaska Shootout with three games in four days.