The San Diego Toreros got a tough stretch in their schedule off to a winning start with a 77-70 victory over Western Michigan on Monday night. Playing in their final home game before a six game stretch of road or neutral site games against some top competition, the Toreros turned in a strong team effort highlighted by some big performances in a quality win. They improve to 3-1 on the season and have won both their home games so far this season after defeating Florida A&M last Wednesday before defeating the Broncos tonight.
Johnny Dee as usual led the scoring efforts with a game-high 21 points. He is averaging 20.5 points per game through the first four contests. Chris Anderson chipped in a season-high 12 assists along with 6 points. The effort should push him into the top five in the nation in assists per game. He came into Monday night in 6th with 8.0 assists per game.
Thomas Jacobs continues to develop into a breakout start as he contributed a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Jacobs is averaging an impressive 10 points and 8 rebounds per game so far after spending all of last season as a solid contributor off the bench. The Toreros have clearly found their answer for their most glaring need after the graduation of post player Dennis Kramer. Through four games, Jacobs’ number are right on par with the 11.5 points and 6.6 rebounds Kramer averaged in his final season last year.
Dec 5, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; University of San Diego Jito Kok (33) shoots over San Diego State Aztecs forward Skylar Spencer (0)during the first half at Jenny Craig Pavillion. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
The surprise star of Monday night’s win was Jito Kok. Normally a below average offensive player who excels on defense, he poured in a career-high 15 points to go along with his usual standout defense highlighted by four blocks. It’s a rare offensive outburst for a player that averaged just 4.7 points per game last season. If he successfully develops into a more consistent offensive threat down low, it will be a new dynamic for the Toreros that will make them even more dangerous.
Also positive for the Toreros was the return of Duda Sanadze. He missed the previous game with a minor injury, and he has been off to a very slow start so far this season. Not only did he appear fully healthy, he looked strong turning in his best performance of the season with 13 points. He did however only play 19 minutes as San Diego may still be nursing him back to health.
This was a very strong team effort against a quality opponent. The Broncos won the MAC Championship last year and return four starters from that team that reached the NCAA Tournament. It is easily the biggest win of the season for the Toreros so far after they cruised to relatively easy victories against easy opponents before this. To get a solid win over a previously undefeated team is a very positive sign, especially heading into the toughest portion of their schedule.
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Later this week, the Toreros will head to Los Angeles for the Wooden Legacy. They will open on Thursday with a tough test against Xavier, followed by two more games against quality opponents. They then begin a brutal stretch of road games at San Diego State, UCLA, and UC Santa Barbara before they return home again. Kicking things off with a good win in one of their more winnable games during this stretch will allow them to be a little more comfortable heading into the Wooden Legacy and beyond.