It was an eventful week for the San Francisco Dons Men’s Basketball team, who had three games during Thanksgiving week. Before heading to a tournament at Eastern Washington University, they took a quick stop at home for a matchup against Troy University.
The Dons came into the night with a 2-0 record, led by senior Ronnie Boyce who averaged almost 30 points per game in their young season. The roll continued last Wednesday night in their game against the Troy University Trojans, where they notched a 79-67 win. Boyce led the way again, stuffing the stat sheet with a 25-point, 10-rebound double-double, and a career-high 7 assists, all while shooting a clean 8-14 (57 percent). Sophomore forward Nate Renfro had a solid all-around game as well, putting up 9 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists. Freshmen Jordan Ratinho and Charles Minlend also posted 11 points each, and shot a combined 7-10 from beyond the 3-point line.
While the Dons couldn’t put the Trojans away early — a 6-point lead at the end of the first half — they built a double digit lead in the second half and cruised to the finish line. The Trojans were led by Wesley Person, who scored 24 points on 5 3-pointers, and had two other players reach double figures. The Dons improved to 3-0 after the contest, while the Trojans dropped to 3-3.
After a Thanksgiving intermission, the Dons headed north to Reese Court in Cheney, WA for the Eastern Washington Classic, where they played 2 games against Sacramento State and the host team, Eastern Washington.
The Dons kicked the tournament off with a win on Saturday night, besting Sac State 77-59. However, Ronnie Boyce — who came into the contest averaging 28.0 points — was contained for the better part of the game. This challenged the rest of the squad to either step up or take their first loss of the season. Without flinching, a handful of other Dons filled the gap and turned in their best performances of the season. The effort was led by Junior forward Chase Foster, who made four 3-pointers on his way to a career-high 18 points; Sophomore guard Marquill Smith also scored a career-high 12 points on just three shots from the field, and an efficient 6-6 from the free throw line. The Dons also received 10 point contributions from both Nate Renfro and Jordan Ratinho, and 8 points from Sophomore forward Matt McCarthy.
The Dons remained in control all game long, heading to halftime with a 9-point lead and doubled it by the end of the game. The win marked the Dons fourth straight to the open the season, their best start since 1986, and also the second game in a row in which they shot over 50% from the floor. They held Sacramento State to just two 10+ point scorers.
On Sunday night, San Francisco took on the tournament host Eastern Washington University in front of a lively home crowd. Riding their four game win streak, the Dons looked to return home undefeated, and turned a record-breaking offensive performance in an effort to do so. However, they still ended up on the losing end of a hard fought game, 90-96. The Dons drilled a school-record 18 three-pointers and shot 55 percent from the field, but it wasn’t enough to best the Eagles.
Ronnie Boyce bounced back from an off game Saturday scoring 27 points, Jordan Ratinho continued his strong play with a career-high 17 points and Chase Foster followed up his career game on Saturday with 12 points and 5 assists. Freshman guard Charles Minlend also came off the bench to score 10 points in just 15 minutes. However, Eastern Washington star Junior Bogdan Bliznyuk went off for 32 points and seven assists, and got to the line with ease, making 12 of 13 free throws. The Eagles’ Senior wing Felix Von Hofe and Junior guard Sir Washington both scored 21points, propelling the Eagles to the win. San Francisco was competitive until the bitter end, but couldn’t pull out the win in the hostile environment.
The Dons end the week with a strong 4-1 record, and look to continue the early-season momentum throughout the coming homestand. Next week features two home matchups vs. Alcorn State University on Wednesday night at 7:00pm, and a Friday night showdown against Lamar University also at 7:00pm.
Photo Courtesy of Dons Athletics/Flickr