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The Portland Pilots have lost three in a row and eight of their last 10 games as they prepare to host the Pacific Tigers at the Chiles Center on Saturday night. Portland is coming off consecutive setbacks against Cal State Fullerton, Loyola Marymount, and BYU. The Tigers have also dropped three straight, falling in succession to BYU, San Diego, and Gonzaga.
Humiliated by the Zags
Losing to Gonzaga on Thursday was no surprise for Pacific, but the 67-36 scoreline was–and is–without question alarming. The Tigers slowed the pace down from the start and did not trail by double-digits until right around six minutes remained in the first half. Gonzaga outscored the visitors 12-3 over the final five minutes to take a 34-15 lead into the break. It did not get any better thereafter for Pacific, which trailed by as many as 33 points at 61-28.
Pacific’s best non-conference win came at the expense of Long Beach State, which went along with notable losses to Nevada, UNLV, Boise State, and Fresno State. Eleven players average at least 14 minutes per game, while Roberto Gallinat leads three Tigers averaging in double-figures at 14.9 points per game. His 110 made free-throws lead the West Coast Conference.
Portland opened West Coast Conference play with road losses at Loyola Marymount (76-64) and BYU (79-56). Franklin Porter led the Pilots with 14 points off the bench in Thursday’s setback against the Cougars, while Crisshawn Clark scored five points off the bench in his program debut. Clark had not played in an official game since the end of his freshman season at Canada College in 2015 due to various injuries plus a transfer. Sophomore guard JoJo Walker has reached double-figures in seven of the last eight games and has scored at least 20 points on four occasions this season. He leading the team and ranks eighth in the WCC in assists per game (3.7). Sophomore guard Marcus Shaver Jr. ranks 15th in the WCC in scoring (14.2 ppg) and 12th in steals per game (1.4). Josh McSwiggan comes in at second in the conference in free-throw percentage (.902) and 20th in scoring (12.6 ppg).
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The Pilots returned four starters and six of the team’s seven leading scorers from a year ago. They also added four redshirts to the lineup this season in Clark (a Pittsburgh transfer), freshmen Hugh Hogland and Takiula Fahrensohn, and junior Xavier Hallinan.
The Portland Pilots are:
- 1-5 ATS in their last six overall
- 0-5 ATS in their last five games against the West Coast Conference
- 1-6 ATS in their last seven games against teams with winning records
The Pacific Tigers are:
- 5-1 ATS in their last six games following a loss by more than 20 points
- 4-1 ATS in their last five games after scoring less than 50 points in their previous game
- 4-1 Under in their last five games against teams with losing records
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
To say the turn of the calendar has been a disappointment for Pacific would be a gross understatement. The Tigers went an impressive 5-1 in December but they are 0-3 in January and things obviously went from bad to worse with the disaster against Gonzaga. The Pilots are 4-12-2 ATS in their last 18 at home against opponents with losing road records, 4-10-1 in their last 15 at home against opponents with road winning percentages under .400, 2-5 ATS in their last seven following a loss, and 1-4 ATS in their last five on Saturdays.
Prediction: Pacific Tigers
Full-Game Total Pick
Portland freshman center Theo Akwuba has started 13 games, ranks second in the WCC in blocked shots (1.7), and is averaging a team-high 5.5 rebounds per contest. He has 27 blocked shots in 16 contests, which is the second-highest per game average in program history at this point. That is not exactly good news for a Pacific offense that was positively hopeless against Gonzaga earlier this week. The under is 4-1 in the Tigers’ last five against losing opponents. It is also 5-2 in the Pilots’ last seven overall, 4-0 in their last four at home, 7-3 in their last 10 against the West Coast Conference, 4-1 in their last five following a loss, and 4-1 in their last five at home against opponents with losing road records. Look for this one to stay under the total.