The Current State of Pacific Men’s Basketball
We are 23 games into the 2017-2018 season. Pacific men’s basketball currently stands at a 10-13 record (5-5 in conference play) in the midst of their second season under head coach Damon Stoudamire.
The team is fresh off a game against BYU (18-5) on Saturday, with the Tigers falling 65-80 thanks to an impressive performance by Yoeli Childs. The sophomore came off the bench to score 26 points after being questionable to even play the game due to illness. The second half performance for both teams proved to be the difference, since Pacific was outscored by 18 in the final two quarters. The game was another indicator of a concerning trend with the Tigers, as they cannot seem to maintain their level of play from the first half and have had trouble executing in the clutch.
The team’s playoff hopes may seem out of reach at this point, but the hiring of coach Stoudamire was focused on the bigger picture of developing a young core group that can develop chemistry and build to get Pacific to its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2013.
Being a part of the coaching staff of the Arizona Wildcats and Memphis Tigers prior to joining Pacific, it seemed that coach Stoudamire was exactly what Pacific needed to reinvigorate its men’s program. We are a month shy of the two year anniversary of Pacific’s announcement of the hiring, so let us see how the team has progressed under his tutelage.
2016-2017: 33 games, 4-22 (4-14 in conference) *team vacated 7 wins
2017-2018: 23 games, 10-13 (5-5 in conference)
Overall: 56 games, 14-35. (9-19 in conference)
The team’s improvement is not only seen across the two seasons, it is also seen within this second season in particular, as noted after the Tigers’ loss to St. Mary’s the other day.
St. Mary’s head coach Randy Bennett spoke about Pacific’s progression, led by its young core, and how they have improved in the time between both games against the Gaels.
“They are a tough team, and this is a tough place to play,” Bennett said. “I think the main difference between now and the first time we played them is that they are figuring it out. They have a lot of new guys, and they are figuring out who should be in each role.”
The jury is still out on how and if the team has improved under coach Stoudamire. Nonetheless, a strong end to the season can erase any lingering doubts and will help build momentum for a 2018-2019 hopeful playoff push. Pacific travels next to play Pepperdine on Saturday, a team they beat earlier this month 92-78 at the Spanos Center.
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