GAME NOTES: San Francisco heads into the weekend as the third-best team in the West Coast Conference, and the Dons will entertain the Pacific Tigers at War Memorial Gym.
Trailing only Gonzaga and BYU in the WCC standings, the Dons posted their second straight win and the third in the last four outings overall just two nights ago with a 73-62 triumph over Saint Mary's at home. With the victory the Dons, now 10-5 in league play, snapped a 17-game slide in the all-time series with SMC.
As for the Tigers, they too were in action on Thursday night but the outcome was much different than the one enjoyed by the Dons as the team suffered an unsightly 70-50 loss on the road at Santa Clara. The defeat was the second in a row for a squad that is just 5-10 in conference play in 2013-14.
The Dons hold a 63-31 advantage in the all-time series and have been particularly dominant at home over the years with 36 wins in 44 opportunities. San Francisco won the first meeting of the season in overtime at the Spanos Center, 81-72.
Scoring a mere 50 points in 40 minutes of action, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise to find that Pacific had just one player score in double figures versus Santa Clara, with Tony Gill posting 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting from the floor. Unfortunately, the other four Pacific starters combined to shoot a mere 5-of-23 from the field as the team overall converted 32.0 percent, including a dismal 1-of-9 behind the 3-point line.
The 50 points tallied two nights back were quite unusual for the Tigers, given that they are averaging 74.3 ppg through 26 contests. Gill is second on the scoring list with 11.6 ppg, just fractions of a point behind Andrew Bock who is responsible for 11.9 ppg. Sama Taku checks in with another 11.2 ppg for a squad converting 44.7 percent from the field and a decent 37.1 percent behind the 3-point line.
The San Francisco defense went on the attack against the Gaels in the first half of their meeting, limiting the visitors to only nine field goals and 3- of-16 shooting beyond the arc. Altogether, SMC made just 5-of-26 out on the perimeter and 39.7 percent from the floor on the night. Offensively, USF was paced by Matt Glover, Kruize Pinkins and Mark Tollefsen with 16 points apiece, while Cole Dickerson chipped in 12 points and seven rebounds before fouling out.
Producing 76.1 ppg, the Dons have four active players putting up double figures in scoring, led by Dickerson with his 14.4 ppg, although that number could be even higher if not for the fact that he has fouled out five times. The same goes for Pinkins (12.8 ppg) who has picked up five fouls in a game seven times already. Glover (8.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg), who leads the program with 90 assists, has also played too physical at times, being disqualified five times.
As long as the Dons don't get too far ahead of themselves with just how impressive their win was against SMC, this should be a meeting that doesn't require overtime in order to set down the Tigers.
Game Date and Time