Pacific (2-2) vs. Saint Mary's-CA (4-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 23, 3:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Anaheim Convention Center Arena (9,000) -- Anaheim, California. Television: ESPN 2. Home Record: Pacific 1-1, Saint Mary's 2-0. Away Record: Pacific 0-1, Saint Mary's 1-0. Neutral Record: Pacific 1-0, Saint Mary's 2-0. Conference Record: Pacific 0-0, Saint Mary's 0-0. Series Record: Saint Mary's-CA leads, 65-42.
GAME NOTES: The Pacific Tigers try to pull off another upset as they take on the undefeated Saint Mary's-CA Gaels in the semifinal round of the DirectTV Classic at the Anaheim Convention Center.
The winner of this game will advance to the championship game to face either California or Georgia Tech.
Pacific went into its first-round game versus Xavier with a 1-2 record and as a huge underdog. No other Big West Conference Tournament team had won its first-round game of this event in the past six seasons. Coach Bob Thomason had his team hungry to bounce back from its slow start which did not consist of any wins over Division I competition. Pacific overcame an early 11-2 deficit on Thursday and after a back-and-forth second half, took a 70-61 lead with under a minute to play. The Tigers held on for a 70-67 decision to advance to the semifinals.
Saint Mary's held off a shorthanded Drexel Dragons team for a 76-64 win in their opening contest. The win improved the defending West Coast Conference regular season and tournament champions to 4-0 with an impressive 16.6 point average margin of victory. Coach Randy Bennett has build the Gaels into a mid- major power since taking over the helm of the program 12 years ago. After Thursday's win, the Gaels improved to 73-12 versus non-conference foes in the last seven seasons.
These two teams have not met since 2009, but they have a lengthy rivalry, with Saint Mary's holding a 65-42 edge.
The Tigers will hope to stay hot after they knocked down 56.9 percent of their field goal attempts versus Xavier. The Musketeers, who came in with a 3-0 record, shot 47.9 percent from the field against Pacific's defense. Trevin Harris led the way with a season-high 16 points after he hit a career-best four three-pointers. Senior guard Lorenzo McCloud came into the game with a team best average of 13.3 ppg, but he was held to six points on 3-of-8 shooting from the floor. The reserves were the stars on Thursday, as Pacific held a 44-7 advantage in points off the bench to get past Xavier.
Unlike their counterpart in this one, the Gaels did not use a balanced effort in their first game of the tourney. Instead the team deferred to its superstar point guard, Matthew Dellavedova. The senior from Australia scored a season- high 32 points on 10-of-16 shooting from the floor against a talented array of Drexel guards. Forward Brad Waldow was nearly perfect, going 6-of-7 from the field on his way to 15 points and seven boards. James Walker III added 13 points off the bench while four players combined to produce the remaining 16 points. Overall, SMC shot 19-of-22 from the free throw line and held a commanding 32-20 advantage on the glass.
The Tigers played exceptionally well in their first-round contest, but they may have caught Xavier off-guard. SMC is rarely on the losing end due to its excellent coaching and on-court leadership. Dellavedova is going to find a way to win this game whether it be with his scoring ability, passing skills, or both.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saint Mary's-CA 79, Pacific 67
11/23 10:37:21 ET