Pacific (16-12) at UC Riverside (6-22)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 2, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: SRC Arena (3,168) -- Riverside, California. Television: Big West TV. Home Record: Pacific 11-2, UCR 5-8. Away Record: Pacific 3-9, UCR 1-12. Neutral Record: Pacific 2-1, UCR 0-2. Conference Record: Pacific 10-5, UCR 3-12. Series Record: Pacific leads, 19-4.
GAME NOTES: The Pacific Tigers are set to invade SRC Arena on Saturday with the intention of sweeping the UC Riverside Highlanders in a Big West Conference matchup.
Pacific improved to 19-4 all-time versus the Highlanders on Jan. 24 as it downed UC Riverside, 63-58, at home. The Tigers led by as many as 15 points despite allowing UC Riverside to hit on 72.2 percent of its field goal attempts in the second stanza.
Pacific is coming off a 64-55 victory at Cal State Fullerton after a brief break from conference action for the annual BracketBusters event. The win rose the Tigers to a 16-12 overall record which includes their 10-5 Big West standings, which is the second best in the conference. They enter the weekend three games back of Long Beach State with three to play. Coach Bob Thomason uses an 11-man rotation that allows his team to stay aggressive for the full 40 minutes. Lorenzo McCloud is pacing the squad with 11.3 points and 3.9 assists per tilt.
Travis Fulton finished with 19 points and seven rebounds for Pacific in its win over the Titans earlier this week. Colin Beatty added 11 points for the Tigers, who held the Titans to 16 first-half points and stopped a two-game losing streak. Pacific managed to connect on 48.9 percent of its field goal tries. The Titans meanwhile, converted just 30.8 percent of their field-goal attempts to be held more than 23 points below their scoring offense average. Pacific has the seventh most productive offensive in the 10-team Big West with a scoring average of 67.6 ppg, but it is third in the league on the defensive end with only 64.4 points allowed per tilt.
UC Riverside is coming off of a 59-52 setback to UC Davis that served as its ninth loss in 10 games and dropped it to a 6-22 overall record. The Highlanders are still stuck at the bottom of the Big West Conference standings with a 3-12 mark in league action as well. Chris Patton is pacing the team with 13.1 points per game on 53.8 percent shooting from the field and Chris Harriel chips in 10.6 ppg. Fox is another solid forward for the Highlanders with averages of 9.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per outing.
The Highlanders had shot over 41 percent from the field in their two previous games before clashing with the Aggies. UC Davis managed to hold them to 37.0 percent shooting and force them into 15 costly turnovers. UC Riverside didn't do itself any favors at the charity stripe and has made only 11-of-26 at the free-throw line over its past two games. Patton scored 14 points and Davin Guinn had nine for the Highlanders versus UCD. Robert Smith grabbed 11 rebounds. UC Riverside shot just 38 percent from the floor, although UC Davis (42 percent) was only a shade better.
The Tigers played at a very high level in their last outing. They will be a serious contender to win the conference tournament if they continue to show the same tenacity on the defensive end. The struggling Highlanders stand very little chance in this one unless their corps of forwards can produce in a big way.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Pacific 67, UC Riverside 58
03/02 10:46:22 ET