Feb. 16, 2005
By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer
STOCKTON, Calif. - Guillaume Yango scored 16 points and Christian Maraker added 14 points and eight rebounds as No. 19 Pacific won its 17th straight game, 79-56 over UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday night.
Jasko Korajkic scored 12 points for the Tigers (21-2, 15-0 Big West), who scored 16 consecutive points in the second half of their 28th straight conference victory.
Pacific clinched the outright Big West title with three conference games remaining, and the players donned celebratory T-shirts before cutting down the nets.
The Tigers got their fourth straight win over the Gauchos (8-14, 5-8) with more of the creative passing and accurate shooting that has propelled them onto the national scene one year after upsetting Providence in the NCAA tournament. Pacific's towering multinational front line also outrebounded tiny Santa Barbara 41-22.
Pacific never trailed in the second half, but Santa Barbara cut the lead to 48-44 with 12 minutes to play. The Tigers responded with 7 minutes of scoreless defense and more of their exciting ball movement, punctuated by Korajkic's two-handed, behind-the-head dunk on an alley-oop from Marko Mihailovic.
Joe See and Alex Harris each scored 16 points for Santa Barbara, which kept it close with eight 3-pointers in the first 28 minutes in front of a hostile crowd at the Spanos Center. But when the Gauchos lost their shooting touch in the second half, they were doomed to their 11th straight road loss.
Pacific hasn't lost since a home game against San Francisco on Dec. 18. The Tigers have roared through their Big West schedule, beating every club except talented Utah State by an average of more than 12 points. Last weekend, they rallied from an eight-point deficit in the final 37 seconds for a one-point road victory over Utah State.
That win propelled Pacific to the highest ranking in school history, just a week after entering the AP poll for the first time at No. 24.
David Kennedy had a rough night for the Gauchos. The seldom-used sophomore, forced into 21 minutes because of injuries, airballed two free throws and later got a technical foul.
Before finishing up their conference schedule with a chance to become just the eighth Big West team to go unbeaten in conference play, the Tigers will face UTEP in a Bracket Buster game Saturday night.