Pacific Men's Basketball - Pacific 80, Cal State Fullerton 73
With the victory, Pacific improved to 11-6 overall and 4-1 in conference play, while the Titans fell to 8-9 on the year and 3-4 in the Big West Conference.
Playing strong defense again in the opening minutes, Pacific took a 6-0 lead after the first three minutes. After the Titans cut the lead back to 9-7, the Tigers used a 13-4 run to take a 22-11 lead after a half court alley oop from senior Lavar Neufville (Fairfield, Calif.) to junior Nyika Williams (Kingstown, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) and a three-pointer from junior Pat Eveland (San Diego, Calif.). The Titans again cut the lead back to four (24-20), but the Tigers surged ahead again behind a 12-2 run to take a 36-22 lead with 2:11 to play in the first half. Pacific held a 40-29 lead at the break.
The Titans got a pair of baskets from Jer'Vaughn Johnson and Jacques Streeter to cut the Tiger lead to 40-33 with 18:29 remaining. Eveland capped a 10-3 Tiger run with a trey to make it 50-36 with 15:48 to play. Cal State Fullerton then stunned Pacific with a 13-0 run over the next three and a half minutes led by six points from Orane Chin to cut the lead to just 50-49 with 12:17 to go. Neufville scored to give the Tigers a three-point lead (52-49), but the Titans answered with buckets from Streeter and Chin to take their first lead of the game at 53-52 with 9:59 to play. The teams traded the lead back and forth four times over the next four minutes with the Titans taking their largest lead of the game at 62-58 with 5:38 remaining. A pair of jumpers from junior Terrell Smith (Federal Way, Wash.) knotted the game at 62-62, but after a pair of free throws from Devon Peltier, the Titans pulled back ahead by two. Junior Demetrece Young (Oklahoma City, Okla.) then stepped up for the Tigers, hitting three-pointers on the next two possessions to give the Tigers a 68-64 lead with 3:33 to play in the game. With the Tigers leading 73-66 with 2:27 to play, a trey from the Titans' Aaron Thompson was answered by Eveland on the Tiger end to maintain Pacific's seven point edge (76-69) with under a minute to play. Pacific made all four free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
Young led the way with a career-high 22 points on six three-pointers, the first Tiger to post a 20 point scoring night on the season. Eveland added 16 points, while senior Michael Nunnally (Stockton, Calif.) added 14 points and seven rebounds. Smith had 10 points and four assists. Chin and Thompson each scored 16 points to lead the Titans.
The Tigers outshot Cal State Fullerton 53.6 percent to 46.9 percent on the game, but the Titans shot 54.5 percent in the second half, the highest second half total allowed by Pacific this year.
Pacific next returns to action on Saturday, Jan. 23 with a local conference match-up against Big West rival, UC Davis. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. in the Alex G. Spanos Center.