Pair of Struggling Teams Meet as San Diego Visits Pacific


While the San Diego Toreros and Pacific Tigers have had somewhat similar seasons, their outlooks have been very different considering preseason expectations. The Tigers are just 9-9 overall and 1-5 in conference play, but they have had some strong performances as they continue to look much better than the team that lost a ton of players in the offseason and was picked to finish a distant last in the WCC. The Toreros have a nearly identical record at 9-10 overall and 2-5 in conference play, but they are stuck in a nightmare of a season after expectations were very high to be a breakout team after returning almost all their key players.

With both teams fading fast and on multiple game losing streaks, both will be looking to right the ship on Saturday in Stockton. With a whopping 6 conference losses already, the loser of this game would likely be lucky to even finish in the middle of the pack when it’s all over. So this one will be big to build momentum as we near the halfway point of conference play.

San Diego Toreros (9-10, 2-5) at Pacific Tigers (9-9, 1-5)

When: Saturday, January 17th at 8:00 pm Pacific

Where: Alex G. Spanos Center, Pacific campus (Stockton, Calif.)

Stats:  StatBroadcast


Meet the Teams

San Diego

The Toreros are a talented team with a good score, but they have been wildly inconsistent which has not allowed them keep pace with most teams lately. Johnny Dee remains the lone consistent bright spot as the deadly shooter is one of the top scorers in the conference. Chris Anderson is an excellent floor general who will provide a decent amount of points and spread the ball around ranking 1st in the WCC in assists.

On the inside, Thomas Jacobs continues to have a breakout season replacing Dennis Kramer, the one departed Toreros starter. He will be the best source of points and rebounds inside. Jito Kok may be a question mark after playing just 12 minutes in a loss to Saint Mary’s on Thursday. The Toreros are very much reliant on his defensive presence as the best shot blocker in the conference. Brandon Perry would step into his role if Kok cannot contribute much. Perry has shown flashes of potential and is a giant presence inside, but he has been inconsistent after coming in from Cal State Northridge with high expectations.

The biggest issue as always for the Toreros will be depth. Beyond the above group, they rarely get any kind of support even at the smallest level. Duda Sanadze has been plagued by injuries all season, and he is not a reliable source after a breakout season last year. No other rotation players contribute much including the key bench players. If the above group of key players is hot, the Toreros may still not get enough support to win. If most of that group goes cold which does sometimes happen, the Toreros will have another rough night.


The Tigers are coming in off three straight losses and are well buried in the standings, so it’s odd to say that they are actually improving fast. After losing so many players to graduation and transfers, they spent most of non-conference play relying completely on T.J. Wallace, the only returning player with any significant game experience. But things changed when his turf toe injury flared up a few games ago and he became more ineffective.

Forced to have other players step up, the Tigers have risen to the occasion as other players have become much more consistent with Wallace being limited. Wallace will still need to have a good night of scoring, but others will contribute. Dulani Robinson has become a very dangerous threat providing points, rebounds, and assists. Alec Kobre and Gabriel Aguirre are solid supporters in the backcourt, and they have had some big performances.

On the inside, Eric Thompson is really coming into his own as rebounder and post player. He was a big factor against BYU when he took advantage of the weak inside game of the Cougars to keep the Tigers close for much of that game. Sami Eleraky and Jacob Lampkin also have good size and make for a good if not overwhelming frontline in the post.


This should be a good, evenly matched game. Watching Wallace and Robinson of Pacific battle Dee and Anderson on the outside will be fun, and they should all get points. Thomas Jacobs could have a big night, but if the Toreros are without Kok it could be a big problem inside. The Tigers showed they can bully a team with a weak inside presence against BYU on Thursday, and the Cougars are still a more talented team inside than the Toreros are without Kok.

That being said, talent could prevail. If Jacobs and Perry are aggressive on the boards and play up to their potential, the Toreros should win this game. But Pacific will push them, and don’t be surprised if the Tigers are still hanging around towards the end of the game. With the struggles the Toreros normally have trying to close out games, the Tigers might be able to steal the victory.

Don’t expect a high scoring game as both teams can struggle mightily with their shooting. Normally that puts them both out of close games, but since they both struggle it might come down to who struggles a little less and does just enough to win. In games like that, talent normally prevails. And despite their improved play, Pacific doesn’t have the same talent level as San Diego. The Toreros survive and get a much needed win, but just barely.