Pacific (10-6) at Saint Mary's-CA (13-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 18, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McKeon Pavilion (3,500) -- Moraga, California. Television: None. Home Record: Pacific 5-2, SMC 10-1. Away Record: Pacific 2-3, SMC 3-2. Neutral Record: Pacific 3-1, SMC 0-2. Conference Record: Pacific 1-4, SMC 3-2. Series Record: Saint Mary's-CA leads, 64-42
GAME NOTES: A couple of West Coast Conference teams that have had a chance to rest a bit since last hitting the floor a week ago get back to playing basketball today, as the Saint Mary's-CA Gaels entertain the Pacific Tigers at McKeon Pavilion.
For the Tigers, this is a chance to pick up a second straight win after having lost four in a row. Currently 1-4 in league play, Pacific's most recent outing was against Santa Clara at home last Saturday, resulting in an 80-68 win for the hosts.
Since dropping all three games played in Hawaii during the Diamond Head Classic, the Gaels appear to have regained their footing, winning four of the last six dates on the schedule. Last Saturday, the program took down San Francisco at home, 88-73, moving them to an impressive 10-1 in Moraga this season.
The Gaels, who lead the all-time series by a count of 64-42, won the first meeting of the season last month by a score of 88-80 at the Spanos Center as all five starters scored in double figures, led by Beau Levesque with 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Pacific was paced by Andrew Bock with a game-high 23 points.
Sama Taku provided a huge spark off the bench for the Tigers versus Santa Clara as he tallied a team-best 19 points and handed out four assists in the home win. Also scoring in double figures for Pacific, as the team knocked down 53.8 percent from the field and held the visitors to just 35.2 percent, were Andrew Bock and Trevin Harris with 16 and 13 points, respectively.
The Tigers are generating 74.7 ppg, but with 74.5 ppg allowed they leave very little margin for error. Bock and Taku are both responsible for 12.2 ppg, while Tony Gill checks in with another 10.4 ppg. In conference games Taku is putting up 14.0 ppg and Bock 13.6 ppg, but the team is scoring just 72.0 ppg in those outings and permitting 79.0 ppg.
It was a tale of two halves for the SMC defense as the team initially limited San Francisco to only nine field goals through the first 20 minutes, allowing the hosts to take a 15-point halftime lead, but in the second half the Dons knocked down 60.7 percent from the floor in order to keep the Gaels from running away with a more lopsided decision. Stephen Holt led the way with 21 points, James Walker added 17, Brad Waldow 16 points and seven rebounds, while Kerry Carter and Levesque responded with 14 and 13 points, respectively.
On the season overall, the Gaels have enjoyed a scoring advantage of 10.0 ppg, but in conference play the margin is far less as the team owns a 1.6 ppg advantage over the rest of the WCC. League outings see Levesque and Holt posting an identical 14.2 ppg, while Waldow accounted for 13.0 ppg, with all three players shooting better than 46.0 percent from the floor.
Obviously the Tigers have revenge as a motivating factor, but even though SMC is no longer blowing away opponents just by showing up, playing at home still gives the Gaels a distinct advantage in this matchup.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saint Mary's-CA 78, Pacific 73
01/18 10:24:27 ET