Stockton, Calif. - Despite a pair of career efforts out of their post players, the Tigers could not stop a pair of surges by BYU that helped the Cougars to an 81-67 win at the Spanos Center to kick off 2016. Pacific (3-10) dropped its first home contest in WCC play and fell to 2-2 in conference action while BYU (10-5) grabbed its first WCC and first road win to improve to 1-1 in the conference.
Mired in foul trouble from the outset, the Tigers did not have the manpower to overcome a pair of big runs by the Cougars that turned a close game into a double-digit win for BYU. In the first half, the Cougars used a 9-0 run at the end of the opening stanza to take a six-point lead into the break before a 12-0 run midway through the second half broke open what had been a tie game.
In a tightly contested first half, the Tigers found themselves on the wrong end of a 15-to-5 foul count that stymied an otherwise effective attack by Pacific's reserves off the bench. Finding his stroke early, the Tigers went to their big sophomore, Ilias Theodorou, as the Athens native matched his career high with 12 first half points on 5-of-11 shooting. Everytime the Cougars would begin to build a lead, Theodorou answered including hitting his second three of the half with 3:33 to go to give Pacific its first lead of the day at 24-23. The Tigers would grab a three point lead minutes later on another jumper from Theodorou, but the lead would be shortlived as the Cougars scored the half's final nine points over the last 1:43 to take a 34-28 lead into the break. The big shots for the Cougars came from Chase Fischer who hit a pair of threes in the final minute including knocking down a deep three from the middle as time expired. In addition to losing their lead, the Tigers essentially lost Theodorou in the final minutes of the half as the sophomore suffered an arm injury that kept him scoreless in the second half.
Just six minutes into the second half the Tigers had erased the Cougar lead as Pacific's starters finally began to find their way after an opening half saw just nine points scored in the post by the starting five and three zero's out of the Tigers' top three scorers. Leading the charge for the Tigers was sophomore Jacob Lampkin who came up with eight points early in the half after scoring six of the nine first half points for Pacific's starters.
After knotting the game for a second time at 43-43, Pacific's offense stalled out while the Cougars caught fire from behind the arc to ignite their 12-0 run. In the span of just four minutes, the Cougars knocked down four of their six second half three's to push their lead to 13 at 61-48 with 7:13 to play. Again it was Fischer who hit the first dagger three that kicked off the barrage as the senior would finish with a game-high 23 points while making 6-of-11 from deep.
The Cougars would swell their lead to as much as 20 points with just under five minutes to play before going three-minutes without a point. Despite the lack of scoring, the Tigers could only chip away six points off the advantage on a pair of three's from David Taylor before BYU closed things out from the line.
Fischer would lead all scorers in the game including three in double-figures for the Cougars. Behind Fischer, Kyle Collisworth netted 22 points, benefitting greatly from the early called fouls against the Tigers to score 12-of-17 from the line. Zac Seljaas added 14, making 4-of-6 from behind the arc to give the Cougars 11 three pointers in the game.
For the Tigers, Lampkin scored a career-best 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting to go with five rebounds and two assists. Taylor finished his night with a season-high 13 points while Theodorou, hampered by injury in the second half, finished with 12 points to tie his career high set on Thursday against San Diego. The Tigers were called for 27 total fouls in the contest.
The Tigers hit the road for their next three games beginning with a matchup in Malibu against Pepperdine on Thursday, Jan. 7. The game is scheduled for a 7:00 pm tip.