Pacific Tigers (14-11, 5-9) at Santa Clara Broncos (11-16, 4-10)
Date: Thursday, February 20, 2014
Location: Leavey Center, Santa Clara, Calif.
Last Matchup: Pacific defeated Santa Clara 80-68 at home.
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This is a very important matchup for both teams, with the WCC tournament just two weekends away. Right now, they both sit in the 7-10 spots, which have to play into the quarterfinals of the tournament. This game is crucial for two teams who want to avoid the play-in games. However, it could very well be a preview for one of those games, if neither can move up into the top 6.
Pacific started league playing losing 6 of their first 7, with the lone win coming against Santa Clara, but have been better of late. Last weekend they upset BYU in Stockton, before falling to San Diego on Saturday. They are one game back in the loss column to Pepperdine for the all important 6th place, and they know the importance of every game from here on out.
Santa Clara has been on a horrible slide ever since they beat St. Mary’s at the buzzer in early January, losing 8 of 9 since then. Last weekend, they lost 69-63 at home to USF in a battle of Bay Area rivals. As bad as they have played, they are tied with San Diego for 8th in the league, and with a few big wins could catch up to those above them.
Keys To The Game
Take Advantage of Size
Last time they played each other, Pacific outrebounded Santa Clara 39-30, and held the starting front court of Santa Clara to three points combined. If they want to win again, they have to exploit this weakness in Santa Clara’s game.
Santa Clara may have the most productive guards in the conference, yet they are getting killed down low. McArthur, Atanga, and their bench need some production to help Brownridge, Clark, Roquemore, and Richard.
Both teams know the importance of playing well going into the tournament. Santa Clara has been close recently, never losing by more than 13 points in their recent slide, but they can’t get over the hump. Pacific has been up and down, but I think they should be more focused coming down the stretch. Pacific 82, Santa Clara 75