GAME NOTES: The San Diego Toreros will continue their four-game homestand at Jenny Craig Pavilion on Thursday night when they take on the San Francisco Dons in a West Coast Conference showdown.
USF most recently lost to Gonzaga on Saturday night, 75-65, to close out its five-game homestand 3-2. The Dons are 14-9 overall this season (3-4 on the road) and at 7-4 in the WCC, locked up in a tie for second place with BYU, three games behind Gonzaga (10-1).
USD sports a solid overall mark this season at 13-11, but things have taken a turn for the worse in league action, winning just four of 11 matchups. After earning back-to-back wins, the Toreros fell back on their losing ways with an 84-67 setback at home to Pacific on Saturday, as their record at Jenny Craig Pavilion slipped to 7-4.
The Dons hold a 37-34 advantage in the all-time series with the Toreros, which includes wins in two straight and eight of the past nine matchups.
USF trailed by just one point early in the second half to Gonzaga but could not hold off the Bulldogs down the stretch and eventually dropped the 10-point decision. It managed to hold the high-octane Bulldogs to less than 39 percent shooting from the floor, but it could not take advantage with its field-goal attempts (.345). Avry Holmes shot just 5-of-13 from the field but four of those buckets came from 3-point range en route to 18 points. Mark Tollefsen posted 15 points and seven rebounds, while Matt Glover had eight points, eight boards, five assists and three steals.
The Dons are typically a much more efficient offensive squad, shooting a lofty 48 percent from the field for 77.2 ppg, which is usually enough to support their lackluster scoring defense (74.5 ppg). Cole Dickerson is the spark plug and one of the WCC's best forwards, scoring 14.5 ppg (on 52.8 percent field goal shooting) and grabbing 7.2 rpg, although his free-throw percentage has been dreadful (.500). Kruize Pinkins (12.3 ppg, 6.6 rpg) joins Dickerson in the frontcourt, while Holmes (12.0 ppg), Tollefsen (11.6 ppg) and Glover (8.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg) round out the balanced attack.
The Toreros built a 10-point lead less than 11 minutes into their most recent game but were outscored to close out the first half, 34-14, to go into intermission down 10 and they never sniffed the lead in the second stanza. They shot an impressive 50 percent from the field, including 11-of-21 from 3- point range, but Pepperdine was even better at 54.7 percent from the field. Dennis Kramer paced the losing effort with 19 points and eight rebounds. Johnny Dee netted 17 points, Duda Sanadze scored 15 and Christopher Anderson handed out eight assists.
The poor defensive effort over the weekend was a rare occurrence for USD, which allows a lowly 63.8 ppg (first in the WCC) on 41.4 percent shooting this season. It's a good thing the team plays such good defense, because its scoring offense (67.5 ppg) is the league's worst. Dee is the catalyst with 17.1 ppg, having made 69-of-157 from 3-point range (.439) and 78-of-84 at the free-throw line (.929). Sanadze (12.8 ppg), Kramer (11.9 ppg, 6.7 rpg) and Anderson (9.8 ppg, 5.8 apg) are also regular contributors.
Its latest game not withstanding, USD usually performs well on its home floor, and it should be able to feed off the energy in the building to take down a USF squad that has been shaky away from home.
Game Date and Time