San Francisco (10-6) at Pacific (9-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 9, 10 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Alex G. Spanos Center (6,150) -- Stockton, California. Television: None. Home Record: USF 8-3, Pacific 4-1. Away Record: USF 2-3, Pacific 2-3. Neutral Record: USF 0-0, Pacific 3-1. Conference Record: USF 3-1, Pacific 0-3. Series Record: San Francisco leads, 60-34.
GAME NOTES: The struggling Pacific Tigers retreat home to the Alex G. Spanos Center for West Coast Conference action against the San Francisco Dons.
Rex Walters's Dons improved to 10-6 overall and 3-1 in conference play on Saturday with a 76-66 win over Pepperdine. San Francisco has defeated Portland and Loyola Marymount in the WCC and lost at Gonzaga since entering league action. The Dons rank third in the conference in scoring at 78.6 ppg with over a third of their field-goal attempts coming from beyond the arc. They are one of the weaker defensive teams in the WCC, allowing 74.8 ppg on a league-worst 46.4 percent efficiency from the field.
Pacific is still in search of its inaugural WCC win of the 2013-14 season after its 86-64 loss to Gonzaga on Saturday. The Tigers have lost four of their last five games to fall to a 9-5 standing. Coach Ron Verlin's team has been impressive at home thus far, defeating four of the five opponents that have visited the Spanos Center. The Tigers suffered an 88-80 setback to Saint Mary's in their last home bout. Despite the winning record, Pacific is ranked last in the WCC in scoring margin.
In the series which dates back to the 1911-12 season, USF holds a 60-34 all- time series lead. Pacific has won 10 of the last 15 meetings, including last year's contest in Stockton, 67-58.
USF overcame a slow start versus Pepperdine as it converted 51.2 percent of its field-goal tries, including 6-of-11 from behind the 3-point line in the second half to rally back and defeat the Waves. Kruize Pinkins recorded a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds to spearhead the charge while Mark Tollefsen added 16 points and six boards. Tim Derksen contributed 15 points and Avry Holmes chimed in with 10 points to go along with four assists. Cole Dickerson, who paces the Dons with 13.3 ppg, was limited to seven points on 3-of-9 shooting from the field. Pinkins's role has continuously grown throughout the season as he has attempted 140 field goals to rank second on the team behind Dickerson despite averaging only 22.3 minutes per tilt, which is only the seventh highest mark on the squad. Holmes and Chris Adams have combined for 52 of USF's 119 makes from beyond the arc.
David Taylor and Andrew Bock scored 10 points apiece to lead the Tigers against the Zags, who shot 69.2 percent (27-of-39) from the field and 76.9 percent (10-of-13) from beyond the arc. Pacific has converted just 36.7 percent of its shots from the floor in its three league games. Verlin utilizes a deep rotation that features nine different players averaging 11 minutes per game or more. Senior guard Sama Taku is pacing the squad in the scoring column at 12.1 ppg and Bock is a close second at 11.6 ppg. Tony Gill is adding 10.2 ppg to go along with a team-best 5.6 rpg.
The Tigers' slump should end as they return home to face an opponent of equal talent. Although Walters has USF playing at a very high level, it will be difficult to knock off Pacific on the road. The Dons can not afford to fall behind in the first half like they did in their last outing since the Tigers' slower pace will make a second half rally difficult to pull off.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Pacific 77, San Francisco 73
01/09 10:34:54 ET