Jan 4, 2014; Spokane, WA, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs center Sam Dower (35) fights for position against Pacific Tigers forward Gabriel Aguirre (11) and forward Aaron Short (15) during the first half at McCarthey Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Pacific Tigers Defeat Santa Clara, Almost Prove Me Right


Jan 4, 2014; Spokane, WA, USA; Pacific Tigers forward Khalil Kelley (13) react after being called for a foul during a game against the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the first half at McCarthey Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 4, 2014; Spokane, WA, USA; Pacific Tigers forward Khalil Kelley (13) react after being called for a foul during a game against the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the first half at McCarthey Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The Pacific Tigers defeated Santa Clara today by a score of 80-68, but I know all you care about is how close my prediction was.  I don’t want to toot my own horn because I said 81-73, but I was close (kind of).  Okay, it could have been closer, but you’re going to know that I was almost right.

The driving force behind the Tigers’ pivotal victory was the offensive production that came from the usual suspects, Sama Taku and Andrew Bock.  Both of those players average the highest point totals for the Tigers, and they came through tonight, unwavering in their commitment to the offense of this team (Taku scored 19, Bock scored 16).

Santa Clara also had a great scoring duo tonight with Brandon Clark and Evan Roquemore, who scored 20 points and 19 points, respectively.  Unfortunately for the Broncos, they were essentially the only players that provided any offensive firepower, and even then those two players shot poorly.  No other player scored in the double digits, an unusual stat for Santa Clara.  In fact, only two players scored over 5 points.

Santa Clara just couldn’t get any luck tonight.  Not only was nothing falling for the Broncos (they shot a horrendous 35%), but they were also unable to prevent Pacific from shooting effectively.  Pacific seemed to be on a mission tonight, and couldn’t be stopped, shooting 54%, over ten percentage points higher than their usual.  Something was different in this Tigers team tonight.  Perhaps they were propelled by the win over Saint Mary’s, or perhaps was just their home court advantage; after all, it goes without saying that the Tigers have been successful at home this year.  And they haven’t been marginally successful, they’ve been substantially more succesful at home, amassing an 8-3 record at home, while still offensively producing in all three of those games (the blowout loss to Princeton being the outlier).  Tonight proved no different.

Santa Clara is now only one game over .500 and the WCC season still keeps chugging ahead, pitting the Broncos against San Diego next Thursday, which is fortunately a home game for Santa Clara.  Pacific will pack up and head to Moraga for a game against the Gaels next Saturday, one that will be a test of this Tigers team that is hungry for a signature conference win in their first season in the WCC.  Both of those games are important, but then again it’s WCC conference play-no victory is inessential!

 

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