Pacific Men's Basketball - Pacific 52, Cal State Northridge 43
Opening conference play at home against Cal State Northridge, the Pacific men's basketball team snapped a three game-losing streak with a 52-43 win over the Matadors on Saturday, January 2. The win moved the Tigers to 8-5 overall and 1-0 in the Big West while the Matadors fell to 4-8 on the year and 0-1 in the conference.
The Tigers started slow from the field, missing 14 of their first 15 shots, but trailed just 5-2 with 10:30 remaining in the first half after strong defense. An 8-0 run gave the Tigers a 10-5 lead after junior Nyika Williams (Kingstown, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) sparked the team with five points off the bench. The Matadors bounced back with a 12-4 run to take a 17-14 lead with a minute remaining. Pacific scored on a layup by junior Sam Willard (Pierre, S.D.) and half-court shot by junior Pat Eveland (San Diego, Calif.) at the buzzer to take a 19-17 lead.
Senior Michael Nunnally (Stockton, Calif.) scored four of his six points in the first two minutes of the second as the Tigers took a five point lead (23-18). The Matadors were able to cut the Tiger lead to two on two occasions in the second half, for the final time after using a 5-0 run to cut the lead to 38-36 with 6:57 to play in the game. A pair of free throws by Willard and another three-pointer by Eveland took the Tiger lead back up to seven (43-36) with 6:00 to go. After Kenny Daniels cut the lead back to four (45-41) with a pair of free throws at the 1:43 mark, the Tigers held the Matadors without a field goal until the final seconds, building the lead up to 11 (52-41) before CSUN scored on a tip-in with two seconds left.
Senior Joe Ford (Altadena, Calif.) posted a career night in rebounds (11) and blocks (4) to lead the Tigers to the win. He also added 10 points to post his first career double-double. Eveland scored 14 points to lead Pacific. The Tigers shot just 32.7 percent from the field, but held the Matadors to just a 28.8 mark from field goal range. Both teams took advantage of second chances with the Tigers getting 18 offensive rebounds and Cal State Northridge pulling down 17 offensive boards.
The 52 points was the lowest winning point total for the Tigers since defeating Idaho 52-48 on December 12, 2001.
The Tigers are next in action on Friday, January 8 at Cal Poly. The tip is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at Mott Gym.