Tigers Pick Up Big Road Win At Utah State

Andrew Bock (photo by Go Chic Photography)
Andrew Bock (photo by Go Chic Photography)

Logan, Utah – The Pacific men's basketball team defeated Utah State 78-68 at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Saturday, Dec. 7.  Pacific improved to 7-1 on the season, while Utah State dropped to 5-2. Utah State is now 102-11 in its last 113 home games, with the Tigers holding two wins in that stretch.

"It was a good win, they're a good team and we played well," said Head Coach Ron Verlin. "Andrew Bock and Sama Taku did a great job of taking care of the ball and T.J., along with our post guys did a great job. I give our guys a ton of credit, they executed the game plan we had and they just kept going at them. I'm very proud of this group. We'll get a week off for finals and we'll get back next Saturday at home."

The Tigers opened with an early 8-7 lead and then went on a 12-2 run featuring points from six different players to take a 20-9 lead with 9:12 to play in the half. The Aggies cut it back to 24-18, but senior Ross Rivera scored four points in an 11-3 run that pushed lead to 35-21 with 3:14 to go. USU scored on its next three possessions for an 8-0 run, but senior Andrew Bock scored on a layup to give the Tigers an eight point lead (37-29) heading into the halftime break. Pacific outscored the Aggies 26-4 in the paint in the first half.

In the early part of the second half, Utah State came out firing on all cylinders. The Aggies used a 5-6 start from the field to outscore the Tigers 18-8 and cut Pacific's lead to 48-47 with 12:35 to play. Pacific responded with a 10-1 run as four Tigers scored in the stretch to get the lead back to 58-48 with 7:58 to go. Spencer Butterfield scored six points in an 8-3 Aggie run to make it 61-56 with 6:29 to play in the game. Freshman T.J. Wallace responded with a corner three-pointer to start a 10-4 run that was capped by a huge three-pointer from senior Tony Gill to give Pacific a 71-60 advantage with just 3:05 remaining.  The Tigers' lead did not fall below eight the rest of the way, as Pacific answered each Utah State surge. Pacific hit seven of 10 free throws the rest of the way. Bock hit one of two in the stretch, snapping a streak of 41 straight free throws made.

Bock led the Tigers with 18 points, while Wallace had 15 points and Rivera added 11. Gill had seven rebounds to lead the team.

The Tigers shot 50.0% (29-58) from the field, while the Aggies were 42.3% (22-52). Pacific outscored the Aggies 42-24 in points in the paint and 15-0 in points off of turnovers. Taking care of the ball was a key in the game, as Pacific had a season-low four turnovers.

Pacific is next in action with a home game against Menlo College on Saturday, Dec. 14. The game is set for a 7:00 p.m. tip.