Pacific Cruises Into CIT Quarterfinals With 89-60 Win

Sama Taku (photo by Keith Sanpei)
Sama Taku (photo by Keith Sanpei)

Stockton, Calif. – The Pacific men's basketball team cruised to an 89-60 victory over Texas A&M Corpus Christi in the Second Round of the Postseason Tournament at the Alex G. Spanos Center on Saturday, March 22. With the win, the Tigers improved to 17-15 overall. The Islanders finished the season at 18-16. It was Pacific's seventh win in three CIT appearances. Pacific will host San Diego on Wednesday, March 26 at 7:00 p.m. in the CIT Quarterfinals.

"We really did a great job in all facets of the game tonight," said Pacific Head Coach Ron Verlin. "It was our best passing night of the year and each guy that came in gave every ounce of energy he had. We really need the fans to come out and show their support on Wednesday night against San Diego."

The Islanders took a 9-6 lead after making their first three shots from beyond the arc including two from Jeff Beverly. Senior Ross Rivera, starting in just his second game at the 3 spot, scored six straight points to give the Tigers a 10-9 lead with 17:09 remaining. After TAMUCC scored four straight, five different Tigers scored in a 10-2 Pacific run that turned into a 20-15 lead. The Islanders cut it back to 22-19, but the Tigers then went on a 19-4 run to take a commanding 41-23 lead with just two minutes to go in the half. Senior Tony Gill scored seven points and freshman David Taylor scored five of his career-high tying 10 points in the run. Pacific held a 46-28 halftime lead, outscoring the Islanders 26-10 in points in the paint.

In a slow moving start to the second half, the Tigers increased their lead to 50-29 with 16:33 left in the game, after a pair of jumpers from senior Sama Taku. With the Tigers leading 54-33, the Islanders scored four straight to cut it back to 17 (54-37). Pacific used three three-pointers and five straight points from Rivera to finish off a 14-4 run to extend the lead to 27 (68-41) with 10:16 to play. The lead did not slip below 20 the rest of the way, with it getting as high as 31 (89-58).

Taku led the Tigers with 15 points, while Rivera (13) and Taylor (10) each scored in double figures. Gill had 14 points, adding six rebounds and a career-high seven assists. The Tigers had a season-best 23 assists. Pacific shot 60.0% from the field in the first half and 58.3% for the game. The Islanders shot 50.0% from the field, but were just 2-14 from three-point range after starting the game 3-3. Pacific had a huge rebounding edge (37-21), including 12 offensive boards that led to 13 second chance points.

The Tigers will host San Diego on Wednesday, March 26 at 7pm in the Quarterfinal round of the CIT. Tickets will be available at beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday morning and at the Pacific Box Office on Monday morning at 9:00 a.m.