Tigers Open Regular Season At Nevada
7:05 p.m., Friday, Nov. 8
Lawlor Events Center, University of Nevada, Reno (Reno, Nev.)
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The Pacific men's basketball team opens the 2013-14 regular season on Friday, Nov. 8, with a road game at University of Nevada, Reno. The game is set for a 7:05 p.m. tip off. It will be the first game for Pacific Head Coach Ron Verlin, who began his NCAA coaching career at Nevada in 1991.
"This is really a challenging way to start the season, on the road against a tough Nevada team," said Verlin. "I am excited to return to Nevada, where I started my NCAA coaching career. We have had a good week of practice and we are ready to start the year."
The Tigers won both games in the pre-season, defeating Cal State Stanislaus 80-70 on Oct. 30 and Montana Tech 76-52 on Nov. 3. Senior Sama Taku scored 25 points in the Cal State Stanislaus game, while senior Tony Gill paced the Tigers with 19 points against Montana Tech.
Pacific finished the 2012-13 season with a record of 22-13 and highlighted by its ninth trip to the NCAA Tournament. Last season was also the 25th and final season as head coach for Bob Thomason. The Tigers were 13-5 in Big West Conference play to finish second in the regular season, but won three games in three days to claim the Big West Tournament title and advance to Austin, Texas for an NCAA Tournament Second Round matchup with Miami.
The Tigers return eight letterwinners, including seven seniors from last year's team. Sama Taku started all 35 games last year and is the top returning scorer with 8.1 points per game, while center Khalil Kelley was at mid-court for the opening tip in all but one game in 2012-13. Also returning for their final year for the Tigers are Ross Rivera (7.6 points per game), Tony Gill (Big West Tournament MVP),Trevin Harris (22 three-pointers), Andrew Bock (15 assists, 3 steals) and Tim Thomas (54.3% from the field). Also returning is junior Spencer Llewellyn (8 appearances).
There are seven newcomers to the court for Pacific in 2013-14, with four incoming student-athletes and three players who redshirted last year. Junior Aaron Short, along with freshmen Aaron Hendricksand Thomas Peters each redshirted in 2012-13. Gabriel Aguirre is a junior transfer from City College of San Francisco, where he helped the team to an undefeated regular season. T.J. Wallace and Ray Bowles were teammates at Modesto Christian High School, both entering Pacific this year looking to make an immediate impact. David Taylor has a wealth of international experience, coming to the Tiger program as a freshman from Germany.
Pacific leads the all-time series with Nevada 53-44, with the Tigers getting the win in five of the last six meetings. The Tigers are 13-5 against the Wolfpack in the last 18 meetings, but trail 30-17 in Reno. Last year the Tigers defeated the Wolfpack 78-72 in overtime in Stockton on Dec. 4. Lorenzo McCloud led the Tigers with 24 points in the win.