San Francisco closed their regular season splitting their last two games on the road. They lost a heartbreaker to Loyola Marymount (14-14) but took the W in their final game of the season against Pepperdine (9-21) for their 20th win of the season.
Against LMU, both the Dons and the Lions struggled mightily from the field and from the charity stripe. Loyola Marymount shot 29.1% from the field, 22.2% from beyond the arc, and 60.6% from the line. San Francisco had a slash line of 35.7%FG, 21.4%3P, and 45.5%FT. During the first-half USF outrebounded LMU 22-18 and took a five-point 27-22 lead into halftime. Free-throws were seemingly the difference in the second-half. The Lions made 12 of their 20 attempts while the Dons made four of their eight attempts. In the closing seconds, freshman Jordan Ratinho hit a big three-point shot with 0:17 remaining to bring San Francisco within one-point, 51-52. Loyola Marymount drew a foul and went to the line but split the free throws only increasing their lead to 53-51. USF ran down court after the inbound but missed a layup to tie the game, LMU snatched the rebound and the Dons immediately fouled with only 0:01 left on the clock. The Loyola player missed both free throws and the Dons were able to haul in the rebound and put up a full-court desperation heave but to no avail. San Francisco lost 51-53.
In their final game of the season, USF handled their business and earned the win despite a Pepperdine player peppering 31 points. After going down by eight after just five minutes of play, 3-11, San Francisco’s offense clicked and were able to erase the deficit and claim the lead 19-17 just five minutes later. Nine players scored for the Dons including 22 from junior Chase Foster with an incredibly efficient 6-of-11 from the field, including 4-of-7 from three-point land. Sophomore Frankie Ferrari cooked up 16 points, five rebounds and five assists. Sophomore Nate Renfro was active on the glass, inhaling nine boards and picked up a block and steal as well. Freshman Charles Minlend was two rebounds short of a double-double with 16 points of his own.
The Dons are headed to Vegas for the WCC tournament as the No.5 seed. First up for them will be Santa Clara on Saturday, March 4. If USF were to advance they would be playing in the Monday semifinal match vs. TBD at either 6:00 pm or 8:30 pm. Be sure to follow live on theW.tv for the quarterfinal game and ESPN for the semifinal match.