Fresno Pacific coach Chris Wright and Cal State San Marcos' Jim Saia always have liked to avoid having their teams square off because of the close relationship the two men have.
But Saia, the former Fresno State assistant and Fresno Pacific coach, needed games to fill out his schedule and Wright obliged with a pair of games this season.
The second of those came Thursday, and unfortunately for Wright and the Sunbirds, it was a lot like the first.
Cal State San Marcos — ranked No. 1 at the NAIA level — defeated NCAA Division II school Fresno Pacific 100-84 at the Special Events Center.
The Cougars (27-1), counting it as a regular game, won their 18th straight — a streak that includes a 93-58 home victory over the Sunbirds on Jan. 4.
It was another exhibition game for Fresno Pacific, and that was fine by Wright for reasons beyond just avoiding a loss.
"If you win, it's not fun," Wright said, "because you beat a good friend, and if you lose it's never fun."
"Chris is doing me a favor because he knows I need the games because (San Marcos remains an) independent," Saia said. "I got to schedule 32 games. Chris willingly plays me just because of our relationship. Give him some credit, he's doing a favor for us, for his former head coach."
The Cougars jumped to a 25-4 lead in the first half and led by as many as 37 in the second half. Malcolm Lemmons led all scorers with 35 points.
The Sunbirds did eventually outscore Cal State San Marcos in the second half 60-42. Trevon Clayton scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half.
Saia said he hopes to play the Sunbirds twice again next season and also would like to take on Fresno State.
"I like going up to Fresno," Saia said. "I have a lot of family and friends up there. Hopefully we can get Fresno State on the schedule."
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