Pacific men's basketball: Tigers face-off against BYU for second time this season

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Pacific returns to action Saturday, Jan. 29, as the Tigers take on BYU at the Alex G. Spanos Center. Tip-off against the Cougars will be at 6:30 p.m. on ESPNU.
Pacific returns to action Saturday, Jan. 29, as the Tigers take on BYU at the Alex G. Spanos Center. Tip-off against the Cougars will be at 6:30 p.m. on ESPNU.

STOCKTON — The Pacific men’s basketball returns to the Alex G. Spanos Center on Saturday as the Tigers face off against BYU for the second time this season.

On Thursday, Alphonso Anderson led the Tigers, scoring a team-high 17 points against Portland. Anderson shot 40% (two-for-five) from the field during the first half of action but connected on five of his eight free-throw attempts. The senior from Tacoma, Washington, finished the game four-for-nine from the field and registered his third double-double of the season as he collected 10 rebounds.

Nick Blake came alive in the second half for the Tigers, scoring 12 points of his 14 points in the final 20 minutes. Blake, averaging 10.4 points per game in his last seven games, recorded his sixth game of scoring 10 or more points this season. The freshman from Las Vegas knocked down four of his six free-throw attempts in tonight’s contest, increasing his free-throw percentage to 84.6% in the past two games.

Pierre Crockrell II and Jeremiah Bailey also scored in double figures for the Tigers, making this the sixth game this season where four Tigers scored at least 10 points. Crockrell II, coming off his career-high 24 points against San Diego, finished the game with 11 points, three rebounds, and three assists. Bailey, scoring in double figures for the first time since scoring 13 against UC Davis on Dec. 19, scored 10 points and pulled down eight rebounds.

BYU enters Saturday’s contest with an overall record of 17-5 and sits in third place in the West Coast Conference standings. The Cougars are coming off a loss, falling to Santa Clara, 77-76, Thursday evening in the final seconds.

Alex Barcello leads the Cougars, averaging 16.9 points per game, and dropped a team-high 20 points in the loss to Santa Clara. The last time out, the Tigers held Barcello under his season average as he scored just 15 points. Fousseyni Traore leads the team with 8.4 rebounds per game and registers 1.3 blocks per game.

Saturday’s matchup will be the 23rd meeting between the two programs and will be the 11th time facing off in Stockton. Before joining the West Coast Conference for the 2013-14 season, Pacific held a 3-3 record against BYU dating back to Dec. 22, 1961. During that stretch, the Tigers earned their most significant margin of victory, an 80-58 road win on Nov. 30, 1996.

In recent history, the Tigers earned a narrow 67-66 victory over the Cougars on Jan. 6, 2018, at the Alex G. Spanos Center. The Tigers shot 52% from the field, and former guard Jahlil Tripp led all Tigers in scoring with a team-high 22 points.

Tiger tidbits

Anderson registered a double-double against Portland, scoring 17 points and tallying 10 rebounds. He currently leads the team with three double-doubles and averages 16.3 points and 12 rebounds in those games.

Leading the team in scoring, averaging 11.1 points per game, Anderson ranks 19th in the West Coast Conference in points per game and is averaging 13.8 points per game in the four conference games played.

After tallying four free throws against Portland, Blake has connected on 11 of his last 13 free throws for an 84.6 free-throw percentage in the past two games.

Blake scored 14 points Thursday evening in the Rose City and now has six games this season where he has scored 10 or more points in a game.

Four Tigers scored in double figures Thursday evening at Portland, making this the sixth game this season where four Tigers scored at least 10 points.

Long-distance shooting: The Tigers rank sixth in the conference with a 33.8 shooting percentage from beyond the arc. Luke Avdalovic leads the team with a 41.5 three-point shooting percentage.

Pacific will also appear on national television during conference play this season. The Tigers will appear on CBS Sports Network as the matchup at No. 2 Gonzaga on Feb. 10 in the McCarthey Athletic Center was selected as one of the 12 games in the CBS Sports Network package with the West Coast Conference. The other contest is when the Tigers host BYU on Saturday in the Alex G. Spanos Center will be televised live on ESPNU.

Pacific was selected eighth in the West Coast Conference preseason poll of the league's 10 head coaches. At the top of the preseason poll is Gonzaga, who secured nine of the 10 first-place votes. BYU, who received the other vote, was second, followed by Saint Mary's. Gonzaga, BYU, Santa Clara, and San Francisco each landed two players on the preseason All-WCC Team.

This article originally appeared on The Record: Pacific faces-off Against BYU at the Spanos Center

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