SPOKANE, Washington — The Pacific men’s basketball team, fresh off a dominating performance against nationally-ranked USC, are traveling to take on No. 2 Gonzaga in a West Coast Conference clash on Feb. 10 at the McCarthy Center.
The Tigers put together a dominant first half, taking control, and held an eight-point halftime lead over the 21st-ranked Trojans. Khaleb Wilson-Rouse had the shooting touch in the first 20 minutes of play, scoring a team-high 11 points. Wilson-Rouse, who shot 44.4% (four-for-nine) from the field, and 40.0% from beyond the arc, recorded a season-high five rebounds.
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Alphonso Anderson also contributed to the successful first-half, scoring seven of the Tigers’ first 12 points, propelling the team to a 12-8 lead in the early goings. Anderson finished the game scoring a game-high 22 points and was one rebound shy of his fourth double-double of the season. The senior from Tacoma, Washington, who scored his second 20-point performance of the season, is now leading the team in scoring, averaging 11.4 points per game.
Leading 30-22 at the halftime break, the Tigers opened the game up to start the second half, taking off on a 9-4 run in the first four minutes to gain a 39-26 lead. Jeremiah Bailey, who went scoreless in the first half, came alive and tallied eight impactful points in the second half to keep the Tigers in the game. With the Trojans storming back into the game and trailing 51-48 at the 8:48 mark, Bailey recovered after an Anderson turnover and kept the Trojans from gaining any more ground with a chase-down block on Ethan Anderson.
Gonzaga rolls into Thursday’s contest with an overall record of 19-2 and is on a 12-game winning streak. The nationally-ranked Bulldogs have not lost a game since Dec. 4 against Alabama and rank first in Division I in points per game with 90.9. The second-ranked Bulldogs, who have won 23-straight conference games dating back to their last loss on Feb. 22, 2020, at BYU, are undefeated this season in conference play with a record of 8-0.
The Bulldogs are led by freshman standout Chet Holmgren, averaging 14.7 points per game and 9.2 rebounds per game. Holmgren, who has scored 43 points in the last two games, ranks 39th in Division I with seven double-doubles.
Thursday’s matchup will be the 21st meeting between the two programs. The Bulldogs have had the upper hand in this matchup, as the Tigers earned a win on Dec. 23, 1976.
Time: 6 p.m. Feb. 10
Location: McCarthy Center • Spokane, Washington
Anderson was one rebound shy of his fourth double-double of the season as he tallied a game-high 22 points and nine rebounds at USC.
Protecting the rim: Bailey unleashed on the Trojans and stuffed Ethan Anderson with a chase-down block to preserve the lead Tuesday night. Bailey, who tallied three blocks against USC, leads the team with 13 blocks this season.
Pierre Crockrell II continues to produce and create plays for the Tigers by passing the ball. His 97 assists this season ranks fourth-best in the West Coast Conference and averages 4.4 assists per game.
Rebounding battle: Despite the lack of size compared to USC, the Tigers outrebounded the Trojans Tuesday night, 38-29. The Tigers also led the game in offensive rebounds with nine.
Second-chance points: Winning the rebounding battle led to more second-chance points for the Tigers. The Tigers tallied nine second-chance points against the Trojans with nine offensive rebounds.
The Tigers nearly have three players averaging at least 10 points per game. Anderson (11.4), Bailey (10.7), and Luke Avdalovic (10.2) at least 10 points per game, while Nick Blake is on the cusp, averaging 9.2 points per game.
Thursday’s matchup at Gonzaga will be the first time the Tigers will be featured on CBS Sports Network this season. The last time the Tigers were featured on CBS Sports Network, the Tigers suffered a home loss to BYU on Feb. 18, 2021.
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 Tigers travel to take on Gonzaga in West Coast Conference