The Dons Struggle in WCC, Coming Up Short Against Pepperdine 69-67

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Fast breaks are the easiest way to score a basket because they lead to easy lay-ups and wide-open shots. The Dons inability to both score and prevent fast breaks was one of the reasons why they lost to the visiting Pepperdine Waves. With the Dons struggling to hit shots early on in the game, Pepperdine was able to start the fast break off of rebounds. Getting all of those easy baskets allowed the Waves to jump out to an 18-8 lead halfway through the first half.

USF struggled to find their shot for most of the first half, missing their first four shots. The Dons also struggled to maintain possession as they committed 10 turnovers in the first 10 minutes of the game. They seemed lost on offense against Pepperdine’s zone defense. On many of their possessions, USF simply passed the ball along the perimeter hoping someone would make a three point shot. But Pepperdine did an excellent job of rotating, causing contested shots. The Dons were timid to pull the trigger on those contested shots; instead settling for passes along the perimeter and not shooting the ball. In the beginning of the first half, USF had a hard time getting the ball to Dior Lowhorn in the post, where he is hard to stop.

But once the Dons found Lowhorn in the post, they started to get back into the game. USF eventually tied the game at 25-25 with two minutes left in the first half. Pepperdine quickly took back the lead, making it a 31-27 game before Peter Smith hit a buzzer beater three pointer for USF. The Dons went into the half with a little momentum after starting the game slowly. They were hoping to carry this momentum over into the second half and eventually to a victory but Pepperdine did not allow this to happen.

The second half started the same way the first half ended, with both teams scoring back and forth. Both Pepperdine and USF looked to their best players to carry their offenses. USF made it a priority early in the second half to get Lowhorn the ball in position and he capitalized on his opportunities. At the same time Pepperdine allowed freshman guard Keion Bell to isolate, going one on one against his slower defensive opponents. Bell was able to use his quickness and soft shooting touch to torch the USF defense.

But Lowhorn and the Dons would not let Bell and the Waves run away with the game. Lowhorn single handedly carried the Dons’ offense scoring six points in the beginning of the second half. His great play started to rub off on his team mates as Manny Quezada and Angelo Caloiaro made a few big shots, allowing the Dons to take the lead 43-42 with 14 minutes left in the game.

Every time Pepperdine needed a basket, Bell was there to deliver, as he hit a jumper to take the lead and converted on a three-point play to stretch the Waves’ lead. Bell was on fire the whole game; he finished with 32 points missing only one shot, as he went 13-14 from the field.

USF did a good job of not giving up as they continued to battle, attempting to make a come back. Once again Dior Lowhorn led the team in scoring, as he finished with 28 points, while also grabbing down 10 rebounds. Despite his effort the Dons lost to Pepperdine 69-67. Pepperdine ended the game with 12 fast break points opposed to four by USF. Had the Dons been able to contain Pepperdine’s fast break they may have won the game.

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