STOCKTON, Calif. - New Pacific head coach Damon Stoudamire has preached finishing to his squad since practice began in August. Judging by Tuesday morning's result: message received.
The Tigers shot nearly 50 percent after halftime from the field in Stoudamire's debut inside the Alex G. Spanos Center and cruised to a 76-58 win over Green Bay, the defending Horizon League Tournament Champion and participant in the 2016 NCAA Tournament. The contest, which started at 11 p.m. PT Monday and carried into Tuesday, was part of ESPN's ninth annual College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon.
The Tigers are now 15-2 in their last 17 regular-season openers in the Alex G. Spanos Center and have won 13 of the last 14. Pacific (1-1) has won 108 of its last 136 non-conference contests in the arena since 1989.
In all, Pacific had four players finish in double figures in points and rebounds after having five score in double figures in last season's matchup.
However, unlike last year's contest in which the Tigers erased a late double-digit deficit with timely shooting only to fall just short, Stoudamire's group dominated the final 20 minutes this time around, outscoring the Phoenix 50-31.
"The biggest thing about the win, because it's not about me, I'm proud of our guys because it was a nasty game," Stoudamire said. "Green Bay, the style they play...they like to junk the game up. It's kind of unorthadox.
"We hit big shots. Most importantly, from the last game at UCLA moving on to Green Bay, I thought our defense was so much better. We contested shots and rebounded the ball."
Sami Eleraky and Ray Bowles each posted a double-double, becoming the first Tiger duo to accomplish the feat since T.J. Wallace (11 points, 10 rebounds) and Eric Thompson (10 points, 11 rebounds) at Portland last year. Eleraky finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds, just one point and two rebounds shy of tying his career-high in each category. Bowles tallied 10 points and 11 rebounds, one off his career-high.
Eleraky scored eight of his 10 points n the final 20 minutes and had eight of the team's first 12 points after intermission.
"Today, Sami was ready," Stoudamire said. "He punished those guys. A double-double in 11 minutes, I'll take that any day of the week."
David Taylor pumped in 15 of his game-high 17 points after halftime and was 5-of-6 shooting, including 3-of-4 from deep, in the second half.
"I thought tonight, the thing that helped David out, I look at a moment in the game, he caught the ball in the backcourt, dribbled down, and got a layup, and that got him going," Stoudamire said. "Sometimes when you get a layup, it makes that rim a little bit bigger."
Pacific outscored Green Bay (1-1) 34-16 in the paint. The Tigers turned 14 Green Bay turnovers into as many points. The Orange and Black outrebounded the visitors 61-38, including 24-8 on the offensive glass, leading to 19 second-chance points.
The Tigers shot 48.6 percent (17-of-35) in the second half after shooting just 22.2 percent (8-of-36) in the first. Green Bay went nearly four minutes without a basket midway through the second half and struggled from the floor in the period, shooting just 33.3 percent (10-of-30).
Trevor Anderson registered 14 points for the Phoenix. Khalil Small had 13 points and seven rebounds. Turner Botz pulled down eight boards.
Three-straight 3-pointers by Taylor gave the Tigers a double-digit lead, 57-46, with just under nine minutes to play. The advantage swelled to 19 after a Williams jumper at the 6:33 mark.
"In the first half, I wasn't aggressive enough, but in the second half, coach (Stoudamire) and some of the assistant coaches told me that I needed to step it up," Taylor said. "I took some shots, made them and got it done.
"It felt really good (to get our first win). We want to defend home court."
The Phoenix started the affair on a 7-0 run. The Tigers missed their first eight shots and were 0-of-5 from behind the arc before responding with a 6-0 run. Pacific's first lead came after a Wallace bucket from distance.
Each team struggled to make shots in first 10 minutes. Pacific was just 4-of-17, while Green Bay was a paltry 4-of-15, including 0-of-7 from 3-point land.
In a first half that featured five ties and eight lead changes, a Wallace old-fashioned 3-point play gave Pacific a 22-21 edge at the 3:47 mark. Wallace had 11 of his 16 points in the period. He also pulled down seven of his eight rebounds in the frame.
The Tigers turned eight Phoenix first-period turnovers into 10 points. Pacific outrebounded the visitors 10-3 on the offensive glass. Eleraky had six rebounds.
Green Bay shot just 26.9 percent (7-of-26), including 2-of-11 from deep, in the first half.
An Eleraky offensive rebound and two-handed flush gave Pacific a 32-29 edge less than two minutes into the second half.
Each team made 19 free throws.
Pacific travels to UC Irvine on Saturday. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. PT.