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Pacific (11-18) vs. UC Santa Barbara (18-9)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Thursday, March 8, 3:00 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Honda Center (17,608) -- Anaheim, California. Television: None. Home Record: Pacific 8-7, UCSB 11-3. Away Record: Pacific 3-11, UCSB 7-6. Neutral Record: Pacific 0-0, UCSB 0-0. Conference Record: Pacific 6-10, UCSB 12-4. Series Record: Pacific leads, 54-52.

GAME NOTES: The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos begin the search for three Big West Tournament championships in a row this afternoon in Anaheim, when they face off against the Pacific Tigers in quarterfinal round action of this year's event at the Honda Center.

The Tigers dropped three straight to end the regular season, culminating with a 67-38 setback at Cal Poly last weekend. Pacific owns just 11 wins to its overall ledger, and finished with a 6-10 tally in Big West action en route to a sixth-seed ranking in this tournament.

As for UC Santa Barbara, the Gauchos ended their 2011-12 campaign last Saturday with an exclamation point, as the squad ran away with a 90-43 rout of UC Davis. The win was the 18th of the year for the Gauchos, and marked the seventh straight winning season for the club, which is a school record. UCSB took the Big West Tournament Championship in both 2010 and 2011, and earned the No. 3 seed in this seasons dance thanks to a 12-4 mark against league foes.

Pacific leads, 54-52, in terms of the all-time series between the two rivals.

The Tigers were stifled to just 31.1 percent from the field in the loss to Cal Poly, hitting only 2-of-19 from beyond the arc and 8-of-14 at the foul line in the process. The Tigers lost the battle of the boards by a 34-24 margin as well, and were guilty of a game-high 11 giveaways. The second half of the contest was especially abysmal, as Pacific went just 4-for-22 from the field over the final 20 minutes, and were outscored 34-14 during the frame. The Tigers were held to without a double-digit scorer in the meeting, with Travis Fulton leading the way with nine points and six rebounds. The Tigers average an underwhelming 62.6 points per game this season, and are currently shooting at just 40.1 percent from the field as a team. As a result, the club owns only a pair of double figure scorers, with Ross Rivera leading the way with his 11.4 ppg. Lorenzo McCloud follows (10.5 ppg), while Fulton rests on the cusp of a double-digit scoring average (9.4 ppg) and leads the Tigers on the boards with 5.7 rebounds per contest. The Tigers have fared slightly better on the defensive end of the court, holding the opposition to 66.3 ppg on 43.0 percent shooting, but those adversaries do own a slight 34.6 - 32.3 edge on the glass.

James Nunnally posted a game-high 21 points, leading four players in double figures, to pace the Gauchos in the 47-point win over UC Davis. The Gauchos shot at a 50.0 percent clip during the meeting, a mark that included a 13- of-24 performance from three-point range. The Gauchos also added 17-of-21 at the foul line, and kept UC Irvine in check at the other end of the court to the tune of 30.8 percent from the floor. The Gauchos registered eight blocks as well during the contest, with four of those rejections coming from Greg Somogyi. UCSB broke a school record with the swats, notching 147 total on the season, which also currently ranks 12th in the nation. Orlando Johnson finished with 20 points in the win for the Gauchos, while Alan Williams and Kyle Boswell chipped in 17 and 14 points, respectively. The Gauchos own a 45.8 percent team-shooting percentage up to this point, and the club has shot at better than 50.0 percent in 10 of their contests this season. The squad also owns a 37.5 percent mark from long range, but has really turned it on over the last eight games, hitting more than half of their three-point attempts in five of those meetings. Johnson, with a 20.0 ppg tally, leads the way for the Gauchos this season, and he is joined in double figures by Nunnally, with his 15.9 ppg contribution.

The Gauchos get the nod here. Not that they need the extra motivation against an inferior opponent, but UCSB has had a lot of success the past couple of years and will really be looking for that trend upward to continue today.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UC Santa Barbara 72, Pacific 62

03/08 10:34:56 ET