The USF Dons came racing into the the final days of January riding a 3-game win streak that included commanding victories over Pacific, Portland, and San Diego. The victories got them back on track after the team weathered through a rough patch in the schedule.
The Dons (15-8, 5-5 WCC) kicked off the the last Thursday of January by taking a short road trip to Moraga to visit the #21 St. Mary’s Gaels (19-2) for the second time in conference play. The Dons played well but came up short in their first matchup, and were eager to get another shot at the nationally ranked team. San Francisco proceeded to play a fantastic first half of basketball, shooting 52 percent from the field and ending the half in a tie at 30-30.
The second half told a different story, however. The Gaels flexed their muscles as the second-best defensive team in the country, and limited the Dons to just 16 second-half points. They also recovered from their poor first-half shooting to finish with a torrid 57.4 percent from the field, and were led by Emmett Naar and Calvin Hermanson who scored 18 a piece for the Gaels. After San Francisco maintained the tie at 34-34 to begin the second half, St. Mary’s went on a 12-0 run and never looked back.
Freshman Charles Minlend paced USF with 13 points on (6-12) shooting, and Ronnie Boyce and Jordan Ratinho each added 8 for the Dons.
Looking to respond to the Thursday night loss, USF made another short trip to Stockton to take on the University of the Pacific (8-15). The WCC’s best 3-point shooting team (USF) was up to their old tricks on Saturday night, pouring in 13 three-pointers en route to a 81-60 victory at the Spanos Center. The 21-point victory matched the margin they bested UOP on January 14th, which was a 72-51 win at War Memorial.
They shot 48.3 percent from the field and an excellent 43.3 percent from deep. Senior Ronnie Boyce poured in a game-high 24 points on (9-15) shooting to lead the Dons to the W. The victory marks their fifth win in the past 6 contests and improves the season record to 15-8, the best mark at this point in the season since 2000. USF enjoyed a 13-point contribution from junior Chase Foster, and 12 points from freshman Remu Raitanen. The 81 points scored by USF was their highest total in WCC Conference play so far and the team looks to sustain the offensive momentum in the coming games.
Pacific was led by Ray Bowles, who scored 19 for the Tigers. They shot just 37.3 percent from the field as a result of excellent defense on USF’s part, and now fall to just 2-8 in WCC Conference play.
The Dons look ahead to this week where they will host Pepperdine (6-16, 2-8) on Thursday, Feb. 2 and Loyola Marymount (10-11, 3-7) on Saturday, Feb. 4 to begin a 4-game homestand. Be sure to come out to War Memorial Gym or follow live on theW.tv.
Photo Courtesy of Dons Athletics/ Flickr