Pacific Men's Basketball: Tigers Bounce Roadrunners in Bakersfield, 71-44
The Tigers fell behind 6-5 seven minutes into the first half, but took control with an 8-0 run over the next 2:30 with a tip-in from senior Joe Ford (Altadena, Calif.) capping the run to give Pacific a 13-6 lead. The Roadrunners cut Pacific's lead to 17-13 with 6:23 to play in the half, but the Tigers allowed just three points the rest of the half. Willard scored eight of his 13 first half points in a 19-3 run to finish the half. Lamar scored seven points in the first half. The Tigers hit just one of nine three-point attempts in the first half, but made 12 of 20 shots from inside the arc.
Up by 20 at the break, the Tigers coasted in the second half of play to run away with the victory. 13 different Tigers saw time the half as Pacific maintained its lead through the first 12 minutes of the half before pulling further away from the Roadrunners late in the contest. Leading by 21 with just over eight minutes to play, the Tigers extended their lead to 28 over the next six minutes, outscoring the Roadrunners 14-8 run lead in the paint by Willard and junior Nyika Williams (Kingstown, SVG) who combined for eight points. With the Tigers pushing the play on the inside, Pacific's outside shooting picked up in the second half as they team hit 4-of-7 attempts from distance. Leading the way from deep, Lamar was a perfect 2-of-2 in the half while juniors Royal Edwards (Sacramento, Calif.) and Pat Eveland (San Diego, Calif.) each hit their only attempts from behind the arc.For the game, the Tigers shot 51.9 percent from the floor including an impressive 60.0 percent showing in the second half. At the line Pacific hit 10-of-13 attempts. Joining Willard and Lamar in the double-digit score column, junior Terrell Smith (Federal Way, Wash.) added 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting while senior Lavar Neufville (Fairfield, Calif.) tallied nine assists in the contest.
The Roadrunners were led by Trent Blakley with 12 points while Santwon Latunde was the only other Cal State Bakersfield player to reach double figures with 10 points. Latunde added seven rebounds to lead the team. Overall, the Tigers outrebounded the Roadrunners 38-24 for the afternoon.
Pacific will be back in action on Wednesday, February 17 in Long Beach, Calif. The Tigers return to Big West Conference play with their first match-up of the season against the preseason conference favorite 49ers of Long Beach State. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 pm.