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PACIFIC ADVANCES TO BIG WEST CHAMPIONSHIP

Tony Amundsen scored 13 consecutive points for Pacific early in the second half and finished with 17 Saturday night as the fifth-seeded Tigers advanced to the championship game of the Big West tournament for the first time in 13 years with a 81-69 victory over UC Irvine.

Pacific's last appearance in the Big West title game resulted in a victory over Utah State in 1979, and a victory Sunday would clinch the school's first berth in the NCAA tournament since a loss to Marquette in the 1979 West Regional.Amundsen and Dell Demps each made three 3-pointers after intermission and Demps finished with 24 points for the Tigers (14-15). Gerald McDonald scored 15 points for eighth-seeded Irvine (7-22), which came into the game off its stunning upset of top-seeded Santa Barbara.

Amundsen, who led the Big West this season with a 47.9 shooting average from 3-point territory, made three of them during a 4:34 span in which he scored 13 consecutive points for the Tigers. His third 3-pointer gave Pacific a 45-39 lead with 16:26 to play.

A 3-pointer by Demps increased Pacific's lead to 69-54 with 6:10 left, capping a 19-2 run after Irvine took its last lead, 52-50, on a 3-pointer by McDonald with 11:06 remaining.

Keith Stewart paced Irvine to a 35-32 halftime lead with eight of his 10 points.

The Anteaters opened up a 13-point cushion in the first six minutes with 3-point baskets by Stewart, Craig Marshall and David Holloway. Pacific ran off 10 points in over the next four minutes before Walsh Jordan's layup put the Tigers ahead for the first time, 28-27, with three minutes left in the half.

UC Irvine's win over UC Santa Barbara in the quarterfinals marked the first time the top seed has lost to the bottom seed in the 17-year history of the Big West tournament.