With the No.5 seed in the WCC tournament, San Francisco confidently went into their quarterfinal matchup against No.4 seed Santa Clara University (17-5, 10-8 WCC) whom they split the regular season series with, 1-1. Though Santa Clara beat San Francisco way back on the final day of 2016, USF won the most recent game in February.
Out of the gate Santa Clara jumped out to a 14-6 lead but the Dons held the Broncos scoreless for the next five minutes and completely erased the gap to knot the score at 14 each. SCU, in two trips to the line, made three of four free throws to regain the lead. San Francisco went on a run and took a 27-19 lead. Even with a slow start in the first half, USF led by two points going into the break 35-33. Scoring was spread all throughout with no one taking more than four shots. The Dons were also active on the glass securing 19 rebounds in comparison to Santa Clara’s 10. San Francisco shot an impressive 14-of-16 from the free-throw line as well. The only thing that was keeping USF from really pulling away was the ten turnovers they committed.
For most of the first ten minutes of the second half, the Dons were able to hold onto their slim lead. With 10:18 remaining in the game, SCU took back the lead and never let it go. Although the Broncos weren’t exactly pulling away either, USF just couldn’t find a way to get a few more timely stops to at least tie the game back up. By game’s end San Francisco exited from the WCC tournament after competing in their lone quarterfinal game, 69-76. En route to a career-best 33 points, senior Ronnie Boyce caught fire in the second half and drained 10 of his 16 shots and four of his seven free-throws for 26 of those points. Even with winning the battle of the boards by +9, 36-27, the 19 turnovers didn’t help USF’s efforts. Sophomore Frankie Ferrari, freshman Charles Minlend and freshman Remu Raitanen each pulled down five rebounds.
With hopes of the NCAA March Madness tournament lost from grasp, the Dons look to hopefully take a spot in the NIT with selection weekend coming up in just a few days, March 10-12.