Breaking Down Pacific’s Non-Conference Schedule


Last season, the Pacific Tigers tore through their non-conference schedule only to struggle in WCC play. Ron Verlin and the Tigers will try to avoid this trend in Verlin’s second season at the helm.

Although it’s Verlin’s second season leading the Tigers, this time around could be tougher for the longtime Pacific assistant. With seven newcomers, Pacific will be in rebuilding mode for the 2014-2015 season.

Nov. 8 – Sonoma State

Last Season: 7-19 (6-16 CCAA).

The Pacific Tigers will open up the season against the Sonoma State Seawolves, a Division II school from Rohnert Park, Calif.

Sonoma State played San Francisco last season, and lost by a score of 96-73.

Nov. 14 – At Western Illinois

Last Season: 18-16 (9-9 Missouri Valley). CBI Semifinals.

After the Western Illinois Leatherbacks traveled to Stockton last season, the Tigers will travel east to Macomb, Ill. for a return game.

In their first matchup, Pacific won 66-52, with senior Tony Gill leading the team with 19 points. Unfortunately for the Tigers, 89 percent of Pacific’s scoring from last season’s matchup is gone, while Western Illinois returns leading scorer Garret Covington (14.6 PPG) and Jabari Sandifer (3.1 APG).

Dec 2, 2013; Berkeley, CA, USA; UC Irvine Anteaters center Mamadou Ndiaye (34) defends the inbound pass against the California Golden Bears during the second half at Haas Pavilion. The California Golden Bears defeated the UC Irvine Anteaters 73-56. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Nov. 16 – At UC Irvine

Last Season: 23-12 (13-3 Big West). NIT First Round.

The Tigers hosted UC Irvine last season as well, so the Tigers are returning the favor by traveling to Irvine, Calif.

In last season’s matchup, the Tigers narrowly defeated the Anteaters by a score of 84-79, partly due to Ross Rivera’s 21 points.

The Anteaters were a win in the Big West Championship game away from making the NCAA tournament, but fell to Cal Poly in the aforementioned contest and settled for the NIT. As an 8-seed in the NIT, the Anteaters were handily defeated by SMU 68-54. The Anteaters were among the top Mid-Major teams last season, and will be a steep challenge for the Tigers this season.

To make matters worse for Pacific, UC Irvine returns almost all its key players from last season. The team’s leading scorer from last season, Luke Nelson (11.8 PPG), returns as a sophomore, along with 7-foot-6 center Mamadou NdiayeWill Davis II, who was second on the team in scoring and first in rebounding last season (11.0 PPG and 6.4 RPG), will be a senior this season, and the team’s leading distributor Alex Young (4.6 APG) returns for his junior season.

Feb 15, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies guard Nigel Williams-Goss (5) shoots against the California Golden Bears during the first half at Hec Edmundson Pavilion at Alaska Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Nov. 23 – Washington (Key Arena)

Last Season: 17-15 (9-9 Pac-12).

Pacific will travel up to the northwest to take on the Washington Huskies in the Marv Harshman Classic.

The Huskies lost a slew of key players from last season, particularly shooting guard C.J. Wilcox, who averaged 18.3 points last season and was drafted No. 28 overall by the Los Angeles Clippers. USF transfer Perris Blackwell graduated and Desmond Simmons has departed to Saint Mary’s.

Returning for Washington is Nigel Williams-Goss and Andrew Andrews, who will form a solid backcourt. Mike Anderson, Darin Johnson and Shawn Kemp Jr. will add depth to the rest of the starting lineup, as will freshmen Tristian Etienne and Donavan Dorsey and Fresno State transfer Robert Upshaw.

Nov. 26 – Alaska Anchorage (Great Alaska Shootout)

Last Season: 17-13 (10-8 GNAC).

In the first round of the Great Alaska Shootout, the Tigers drew the host school, Division-II Alaska-Anchorage. The Seawolves are always good for an upset every once and a while, and the Tigers better hope that this isn’t the season where that happens.

Mar 2, 2013; Boise, Idaho, USA; Colorado State Rams guard Daniel Bejarano (2) puts up a jump shot during the game with the Boise State Broncos at Taco Bell Arena. Boise State defeated Colorado State 78-65. Mandatory Credit: Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Nov. 28 – Missouri State or Colorado State (Great Alaska Shootout)

Missouri State Last Season: 20-9 (9-9 Missouri Valley). CIT First Round.

Colorado State Last Season: 16-16 (7-11 Mountain West).

Depending on the result of the first game, the Tigers will either play Missouri State or Colorado State in the second round of the Great Alaska Shootout.

The Rams were slightly disappointing last season, but they return several key pieces that will help CSU exponentially. The team’s two leading scorers and rebounders, Daniel Bejarano (16.3 PPG and 8.3 RPG) and J.J. Avila (16.6 PPG and 7.4 RPG), return for their senior seasons, along with role players Joe De Ciman and Carlton Hurst.

Missouri State had a solid season in the Missouri Valley, but will look to improve with second leading scorer Marcus Marshall (14.3 PPG) returning for his junior season. Austin Ruder, Ron Mvouika and Christian Kirk will also return, filling out the team’s immediate rotation.

Mar 12, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Washington State Cougars guard DaVonte Lacy (25) shoots against Stanford Cardinal guard/forward Anthony Brown (21) during the second half in the first round of the Pac-12 Conference Tournament at MGM Grand Garden Arena. The Cardinal defeated the Cougars 74-63. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Nov. 29 – Rice, Mercer, Washington State and UC Santa Barbara (Great Alaska Shootout)

Rice Last Season: 7-23 (2-14 C-USA).

Mercer Last Season: 27-9 (14-4 Southern). NCAA Second Round.

Washington State Last Season: 10-21 (3-15 Pac-12).

UC Santa Barbara Last Season: 21-9 (12-4 Big West).

There are four opponents that the Tigers can face in the final game of the Great Alaskan Shootout.

If they were to win out, they would likely face Washington State, who struggles in the Pac-12, but holds some talent nonetheless with DaVonte Lacy, Que Johnson and Ike Iroegbu.

Mercer made it to the NCAA tournament last season, but lost their top four leading scorers on that team and will likely be in complete rebuilding mode, just like the Tigers.

Rice, who was abysmal in Conference USA last season, will be even worse with their top two leading scorers – Sean Obi and Austin Ramljak – leaving the program.

UC Santa Barbara, who was a very solid program last season, returns one of the best players in the country in Alan Williams, along with Michael Bryson (11.5 PPG) and Zalmico Harmon (7.8 PPG).

Dec. 3 – Cal State East Bay

Last Season: 7-21 (4-18 CCAA).

The Tigers will take on it’s third Division II program of the season when they host Cal State East Bay in early December.

Dec 14, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies forward Shawn Kemp, Jr. (40) guards Idaho State Bengals forward Jeffrey Solarin (5) during the second half at Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. Washington defeated Idaho State 85-66. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Dec. 6 – At Idaho State

Last Season: 11-18 (8-12 Big Sky).

If the Tigers begin to struggle against Idaho State at this stage in the season, it might be time to start worry about the Tigers 2014-2015 campaign.

Idaho State is a lower-level Big Sky team, but has some viable options on its roster. The Bengals return their leading scorer Chris Hansen (16.6 PPG) and their leading rebounder Jeffrey Solarin (8.2 RPG). However, they lose leading distributor and second leading scorer Tomas Sanchez and their third leading scorer Andre Hatchett (14.1 PPG).

Mar 15, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Western Michigan Broncos guard Austin Richie (22) shoots the ball past Toledo Rockets guard Jonathan Williams (1) during the second half in the championship game for the MAC college basketball tournament at Quicken Loans Arena. The Broncos won 98-77. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Dec. 14 – Western Michigan

Last Season: 23-10 (14-4 MAC). NCAA Tournament First Round.

Out of all the schools on the Tigers non-conference schedule, Western Michigan might be the best team on it.

The Broncos lose Shayne Whittington (16.1 PPG and 8.9 RPG), but return just about everyone else. The team’s leading scorer, David Brown (19.1 PPG), comes back for his senior season, along with Austin Richie. Coming back as juniors is Connar Tava and Jared Klein, and sophomore Tucker Haymond returns after an impactful freshman season.

The Broncos are primed and ready to build further on a solid season, where the Broncos won the Mid-American Conference and the made it to NCAA tournament, and will prove to be a fantastic test for Pacific.

Jan 25, 2014; Laramie, WY, USA; Nevada Wolf Pack guard Michael Perez (23) shoots against Wyoming Cowboys Riley Grabau (right) and Larry Nance Jr (22) during the first half at the Arena-Auditorium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Dec. 18 – Nevada

Last Season: 15-17 (10-8 Mountain West).

The Nevada Wolfpack will head to Stockton to take on Pacific in a return game, after the Tigers defeated the Wolfpack by a score of 80-78 last season. Point guard Andrew Bock nailed a layup with four seconds left to pull the Tigers ahead at the last second.

Just like Pacific, Nevada was decimated by transfers and graduation this past offseason. Deonte Burton, who averaged 20.1 points and 4.1 assists last season, and Jerry Evans Jr (12.3 PPG) have both graduated, and Cole Huff (12.4 PPG) transferred to Creighton. The Wolfpack will need to rely heavily on Michael Perez (11.5 PPG) and AJ West (6.8 PPG and RPG), who will be seniors this upcoming season.

After last season’s theatrics, Nevada will be looking for revenge. If the Tigers can fend off the Wolfpack for a second time around, it would be another big win for coach Verlin and the program.

Mar 1, 2014; Fresno, CA, USA; Fresno State Bulldogs guard Marvelle Harris (23) attempts a shot over San Diego State Aztecs forward Dwayne Polee II (5) in the second half at the Save Mart Center at Fresno State. The Aztecs defeated the Bulldogs 82-67. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Dec. 20 – Fresno State

Last Season: 21-18 (9-9 Mountain West). CBI Finals.

Fresno State hosted the Tigers last season, and were shocked with an 86-77 loss to Pacific, partly thanks to a 19 point performance from Andrew Bock. Now the Bulldogs will return the favor and take on the Tigers in Stockton.

From their previous meeting, the Bulldogs lose Tyler Johnson, who led the team in scoring last season and paced the Bulldogs with 25 points in the loss. However, Marvelle Harris, who was second on the team in scoring last season and had 19 points in the defeat, as well as Cezar Guerrero, who scored 17 points in the loss and was third on the team in scoring.