March 4, 2010
Fullerton, Calif. - Sam Willard had a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds and Allen Huddleston and Pat Eveland each added 14 points off the bench Thursday night to lead Pacific to a 63-57 Big West Conference victory at Cal State Fullerton.
The Tigers (19-10, 11-4) moved within half a game of first-place UC Santa Barbara while Fullerton (15-13, 8-7) held onto third place because UC Davis lost at Cal State Northridge.
Pacific used a 21-5 second-half run to turn a 46-40 deficit into a 61-51 lead with 4 minutes left. The Tigers started concentrating on running down the shot clock and didn't score again until the final minute but they held Fullerton to 4 points over the same span and the Titans never got closer than 5 points.
"When it got down to deciding the outcome, Pacific stepped up and outplayed us," said CSF Coach Bob Burton. "We hit a wall and couldn't score.
"I thought we really played hard and competed. I think you saw two pretty good defensive teams out there tonight. Pacific just played great."
Joe Ford scored the first two buckets of the second half to give Pacific a 35-32 lead but the Titans went on a 10-0 run making it 42-35 to equal their biggest lead of the first half (16-9).
Pacific closed the gap to 2 at 42-40 before Fullerton stretched it to 6 points at 46-40, only for the Tigers to respond with a 7-0 run to regain the lead at 47-46 with 12:20 to play. A little later UoP went on a 9-0 run to make it 56-48 at 9 minutes after a 3-pointer by Eveland. UoP never trailed again.
The first half statistics were as close as the 1-point Fullerton margin of 32-31. Each team had 13 buckets, UoP on 37 shots to 34 for Fullerton. Each team had 4 turnnovers and Fullerton led in rebounding, 17-16.
The game was televised nationally on ESPNU. Fullerton had been unbeaten (6-0) on live TV this season.
Both teams conclude their regular season Saturday. Fullerton hosts UC Davis at 6:05 p.m. while Pacific plays at Cal State Northridge at 7 p.m.