Tigers Fall Late At Home

Sami Eleraky (photo by keithsanpei.com)
Sami Eleraky (photo by keithsanpei.com)
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Stockton, Calif. - The Pacific men's basketball team dropped a 54-47 West Coast Conference home game to Saint Mary's on Saturday, Jan. 10. The Tigers dropped to 9-8, 1-4 in WCC action, while the Gaels improved to 13-3 and 5-0 in WCC play.

Sami Eleraky scored six points in the seven minutes as the Tigers played great defense in the early going to take an 8-2 lead. SMC's Emmett Naar capped an 11-0 run with a three-pointer as the Gaels held the scoreless for five minutes to take a 13-8 lead with 8:43 left in the half. A layup by Pacific's Eric Thompson preceded a three minute stretch where neither team scored. SMC broke the drought with a layup by Brad Waldow that sparked an 11-2 run that gave the Gaels their biggest lead of the game at 24-12 with a minute left in the half. Alec Kobre hit the Tigers' only three-pointer of the game on the next possession, to make it a 24-15 halftime lead for SMC.

A 6-0 run with baskets from Thompson, David Taylor and Eleraky in the early part of the second half brought the Tigers within three (26-23) with 17:09 left in the game. The Gaels pushed the lead back to seven on four more occasions in the next several minutes, holding a 36-29 lead with 10:11 to play in the game. Pacific then used an 8-0 run capped by a pair of field goals from T.J. Wallace to take a 37-36 lead with 7:15 remaining. It was the first lead for Pacific since the midway point of the first half. The Tigers' lead was short-lived, as Waldow and Aaron Bright each hit a pair of free throws to give the Gaels a 40-37 lead with 5:28 left. SMC hit two of it's five three-pointers on the next two possessions to counter a pair of free throws and a field goal by the Tigers to take a 46-41 lead at the 4:21 mark. Taylor missed a three-pointer, but Bowles tipped in the miss and then Aguirre hit one of two free throws to make it 46-44 with 2:50 to go. Two makes at the line for SMC was offset by a Taylor free throw and a layup by Aguirre with a foul to cut it to 48-47 with :32 to go. Aguirre had an opportunity to tie the game but missed the free throw. Thompson claimed the offensive rebound, but Wallace came up short on a layup attempt. Trailing by one with just :12 left, Thompson fouled Waldow after the rebound. After a video review, the officials determined Aguirre made contact with an SMC player after the play had ended, which resulted in a technical foul. The Gaels then received four free throws (making three of four) and were given possession. Bright then made two more free throws as SMC finished off the win.

Eleraky tied his career high with eight points. He led seven Tigers that scored at least six points. The Tigers shot 39.6% from the field, while holding Saint Mary's to 32.7% shooting. Pacific hit just one of 12 three-point attempts (8.3%), while the Gaels were 5-20 (25.0%) from long range. Wallace led the team with eight rebounds, as the Tigers held a 38-34 rebounding advantage.

Pacific is next in action with a home game against Brigham Young on Thursday, Jan. 15. Game time is set for 8:00 p.m. and it will be televised by ESPNU.