The Dons came out on top over Pepperdine in a low-scoring brawl that ended with USF just two points ahead, 56-54. The team traveled to Malibu, Calif. for the match which featured three different Dons scoring in double digits. Junior guard Tim Derksen’s 19 points were the highest of the three and he tacked on three assists and two steals as well.
The Dons were the first team to put points on the board in the game when junior forward Matt Christiansen hit a jumper from mid range. After a layup by Derksen and a dunk by senior guard Matt Glover USF was already up 6-0. The rest of the half would be close and Pepperdine came within reach of tying numerous times, but the Dons managed to stay ahead until the halftime buzzer. Going in to the break, the Dons were up 31-19.
It was in the second half that the Dons struggled. They were unable to create offensive opportunities and only scored three points in the first nine minutes. Meanwhile Pepperdine took advantage of the Dons offensive stumble and with 11:15 left to play found themselves tied with USF 34-34. The rest of the half would be tightly contested with four different lead changes occurring before time ran out.
Coming into the final two minutes of the game, the Dons were up by one. Before they could increase their lead, however, Pepperdine’s Stacy Davis was fouled and netted two free throws to put the Waves up by one. USF came right back though and managed to snatch back the lead off of a two-point jumper by senior forward Kruize Pinkins. With less than 20 seconds left, Derksen made a layup to put the Dons up by three. Pepperdine answered with two points of their own that left them down just a single point with four seconds left. The Waves fouled Glover as soon as he got the ball sending him to the line. Glover missed his first free throw, but made the second, putting the Dons up by just two points. Pepperdine took a last second three pointer to try and win it all, but it was no good, and the Dons walked away with the victory.
In addition to Derksen’s 19 points, there were two other Dons in double digits. Matt Glover had 10 points in addition to five rebounds, and three assists. Matt Christiansen had 10 points of his own as well. Overall the Dons shot 42 percent from the field and 22 percent from three.
Two days earlier the Dons were in Los Angeles for a blowout win against Loyola Marymount University. USF got out ahead early and never looked back. At the half they were already up 39-20 and things would only get worse for LMU. When the dust finally settled the Dons had only increased their lead with the final tally being 72-45.
The Dons have two more games before the season ends and the West Coast Conference Championships begin. Their next match will be against St. Mary’s in the War Memorial Gym on the Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. Two days later they have another home game against Pacific starting at 7 p.m.
Photo Credit: Courtesy OF Dons Athletics