San Diego, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Johnny Dee made a pair of crucial free throws late, finishing with 15 points, as the San Diego Toreros slipped by Portland, 61-59, in a West Coast Conference showdown at Jenny Craig Pavilion.
Dee converted 3-of-6 behind the 3-point line on the night as well, his point total matched by Duda Sanadze, as the Toreros (15-14, 6-10 WCC) posted their second win in a row.
The Pilots (15-12, 7-8) were paced by Thomas van der Mars with a game-high 18 points, followed by Bobby Sharp and Bryce Pressley with 16 and 11 points, respectively, as they had a two-game win streak snapped.
San Diego shot an impressive 54.2 percent from the field in the first half, including 5-of-9 behind the 3-point line, but the team still led by just four points at the break, 35-31. The Pilots made good on 46.4 percent from the field, but just 3-of-10 on the perimeter in the frame.
In the second half the Toreros fell apart, converting a mere 7-of-24 (.292) from the floor and 1-of-5 beyond the arc, but managed to hold on down the stretch as they outscored the visitors at the charity stripe, 11-5, in the period.
The USD bench stepped up to tally 26 points, compared to just two for the Portland reserves.