Pacific Men's Basketball - Pacific 70, Cal State Fullerton 64
The Tigers men's basketball team picked up a 70-64 win at Cal State Fullerton on Thursday, March 4. Pacific improved to 19-10 overall, 11-4 in Big West Conference games. The Titans dropped to 15-13 overall and 8-7 in league games.
With the victory, the Tigers have locked up the No. 2 seed at the Big West Tournament and two byes in the tournament. Pacific's first game will be Friday, March 12 at the Anaheim Convention Center.
"It was a great win for us," said Tiger head coach Bob Thomason. "Our guys stepped up and offensively we were very good in the second half. I thought Joe penetrating was very good, and Allen (Huddleston) had one of his best games of the year. There was a lot of pressure on us to win this game to stay in the hunt for a co-championship, and now we are 40 minutes away from that goal. We also earned a second round by in the Big West Tournament, which is really important."
Five early points from junior Sam Willard (Pierre, S.D.) kept the Tigers tied 7-7 with 16:40 to play in the half. The teams went scoreless for the next three minutes, before the Titans scored five straight points to start a 9-2 run and take a 16-9 lead with 9:12 to play in the half. Cal State Fullerton led 22-16 before five straight points from freshman Allen Huddleston (Merced, Calif.) cut it to 22-21 with 4:50 to go in the half. After a Titan basket, juniors Demetrece Young (Oklahoma City, Okla.) and Pat Eveland (San Diego, Calif.) hit back to back jumpers to give the Tigers their first lead of the half at 25-24 with 3:43 to play in the half. The Titans were able to take the lead back at the break, 32-31.
The Tigers opened the second half with two straight baskets in the lane from senior Joe Ford (Altadena, Calif.) to take a 35-32 lead just a minute into the second half. A 10-0 run gave the Titans a 42-35 lead with 16 minutes to play. A three-pointer by Eveland and a pair of free throws by senior Lavar Neufville (Fairfield, Calif.) made it 42-40 just a minute later. After the Titans extended the lead back to 46-40, Pacific made its game-changing run. Huddleston scored nine points in a 16-2 run that gave the Tigers a 56-48 lead with 8:56 to play. Jer'Vaughn Johnson hit a three-pointer on the next possession for the Titans, but another driving basket by Ford and a trey by Young pushed the Pacific lead to 10 (61-51) with five minutes to go. The Tiger lead would not fall below five the rest of the way, as Pacific hit nine of 12 free throws in the final minute.
Willard had 14 points and 12 boards for his fifth double-double of the year. Huddleston tied his career high with 14 points, while Eveland scored 14 as well. Young hit eight of 10 free throws to score 13 points. Johnson led the Titans with 18 points. The Tigers hit seven three pointers, shooting 58 percent from three-point range.
The Tigers are next in action with a 7:00 p.m. game at Cal State Northridge on Saturday, March 6.