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UC Irvine (0-1) at Pacific (1-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, November 12, 10 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Alex G. Spanos Center (6,150) -- Stockton, California. Television: None. Home Record: UCI 0-1, Pacific 0-0. Away Record: UCI 0-0, Pacific 1-0. Neutral Record: UCI 0-0, Pacific 0-0. Conference Record: UCI 0-0, Pacific 0-0. Series Record: Pacific leads, 41-37.
GAME NOTES: Former foes in the Big West Conference, the Pacific Tigers and the UC Irvine Anteaters rekindle their relationship tonight at the Spanos Center in Stockton, California.
UC Irvine, which still resides in the Big West, began the season last Friday night and put up a fight against visiting Fresno State before suffering a 98-97 overtime loss. The Anteaters are coming off one of their most successful campaigns in recent years as they posted a 21-16 overall record and managed to pick up a win in the postseason (CollegeInsider.com Tournament) over High Point, before bowing to Oral Roberts.
As for the Tigers, who are now operating as a member of the West Coast Conference, they too were in action last week but in their case they managed to secure an 80-78 win on the road at Nevada. Pacific is opening a three-game homestand tonight, a run that will continue with visits from Western Illinois and Fresno State over the next 11 days.
Last season these teams met a total of three times, with Pacific taking two of those clashes, including a 64-55 victory in the title game of the conference tournament. As a result, the all-time series now favors the Tigers by a count of 41-37.
Chris McNealy erupted for 27 points in the opener last week against Fresno State, shooting 10-of-19 from the floor, but even that effort was not enough as the Anteaters took the one-point loss. Part of the problem for Irvine was that the squad shot a combined 14-of-29 at the free-throw line, with McNealy sinking just half of his 10 chances. Alex Young tossed in 20 points, Travis Souza 13 and Will Davis II 10 points to go along with a team-best 16 rebounds before fouling out.
The Anteaters ended up shooting an impressive 50.7 percent from the floor and 11-of-24 (.458) behind the 3-point line, but those numbers still fell below FSU which hit on 51.6 percent from the field and 14-of-30 (.467) on the perimeter.
The free-throw shooting issue is nothing new for Irvine, considering the team made good on just 66.5 percent at the charity stripe last season to rank 263rd in the country.
Andrew Bock played the hero for Pacific in the opener when he converted a layup in the final seconds to break a 78-78 tie with Nevada and give the visitors to the Lawlor Events Center a hard-earned victory. Bock played 25 minutes yet took only four shots and finished with six points, but still he was the right man at the right time for the Tigers.
Fellow starters Tony Gill (22 points), SamaTaku (13) and Trevin Harris (11) carried much of the load for Pacific, while reserve Ross Rivera checked in with 14 points for the squad as it not only converted 53.4 percent from the floor overall but also 8-of-11 behind the 3-point line.
Pacific failed to record a single blocked shot in the meeting, which isn't unusual seeing as how the program was ranked 342nd in the country a season ago with just 1.3 rejections per outing.
Both of these teams have the talent to fight for a full 40 minutes and beyond, but being at home should provide the Tigers with a bit more bite.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Pacific 76, UC Irvine 73
11/12 10:31:59 ET
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