Pacific hit 12 of 19 of its three-point attempts in the team’s 74-68 win over the Gauchos in a nationally televised game on Thursday night after jumping out to a 42-24 lead at the end of the first half.
“They just annihilated us in the first half,” Head Coach Bob Williams said. “They shot the lights out. End of story.”
The Gauchos struggled on both ends of the floor in the first half, continuing their tendency to rotate slowly to perimeter shooters. The Tigers hit 10 of their 15 three-point shots in the first half alone.
“To give up 42 points in the first half … it’s just way too many,” said junior forward Jon Pastorek, who scored 12 points on 6-7 shooting in his first start of the season last night.
Senior guard Jordan Weiner scored a game-high 18 points, hitting four of seven from behind the arc and 70 percent of his field goals. After a dismal first half in which he missed eight of his nine shots, junior guard Orlando Johnson finished the game with 16 points and team highs of four assists and six rebounds. Starting at the two guard, Junior forward James Nunnally scored 10 points.
The Gauchos allowed the Tigers’ lead to get to 20 points to begin the second half before crawling back into the game. Weiner cut the lead to 10 after hitting a three-pointer with 12:42 to play. Johnson chipped the Tiger’s lead to seven with a jumper that was assisted by Weiner with 10:55 left.
However, the Gauchos were unable to cut the lead further and the Tigers brought the point differential back to 10 with 2:51 to play. After failing to hit the rim on a sideline three-point attempt for his only miss of the night, Pastorek stole a pass from Tiger point guard Demetrece Young and drove in for the layup to bring the Gauchos to within eight. Weiner stole the ball from a flustered Young two more times in two consecutive plays, hitting two fast-break layups to bring the Gauchos to within four points with 1:27 to play.
“Jordan played really well,” Williams said. “It’s frustrating that it takes a half before we compete like that.”
Weiner committed his third personal foul with 1:04 to play, and the Tigers’ Jose Rivera hit both his free throws to bring the lead back up to six. With the Gauchos passing the ball around the perimeter, Johnson settled for a contested three-pointer, which he missed. Pacific put the game away after hitting three of its last four free throws.
UCSB still has one more home game to play on Saturday night against UC Davis, which is tied with UC Irvine for last place in the conference at 3-6. Tip-off will be at 7:30 p.m.