Anticipating a blowout win against NAIA San Diego Christian on Sunday, the San Diego Toreros gave a lot of minutes to their backups and still came out ahead 71-61 for their third straight win. The Toreros took it easy and allowed the Hawks to close the gap from a 43-22 halftime lead, but they never seriously threatened the USD lead.
Thomas Jacobs had a big day with a double-double. He put up a game-high 14 points to go along with 11 rebounds. He was joined by three other Toreros in double figures. Chris Sarbaugh had a season-high 12 points while Jito Kok and Brandon Perry chipped in 12 and 10 points respectively. Chris Anderson and Johnny Dee were both in single digits with 5 and 8 points as they were not needed in an easy tuneup game before WCC play begins next week against Portland.
Dee is now 38 points from breaking the USD career scoring record. With the low scoring effort it likely eliminates him reaching the record in the next game. That sets up a marquee moment for the big game on December 29th against Gonzaga. If Dee continues to put up 20+ points per game as he normally does when playing his full minutes, he is one pace to break the record against the Bulldogs two games from now.
The Hawks were led by Derrick Thompson who had a team-high 15 points. He is not a normal key option for the Hawks coming into the game averaging 6.6 points per game. That being said, the Hawks also got big games from their stars. Derick Neilsen and Peter Beale-Wirsing both reached double figures highlighted by Beale-Wirsing having another good game in the post with 14 points and 4 rebounds.
San Diego Rebounds – 44
San Diego Christian Rebounds – 27
Any team can keep up with another team if they’re shooting well. But size and athleticism tend to expose weaker teams. Being an NAIA team, San Diego Christian just doesn’t have the quality of players to bang inside with NCAA Division 1 teams. That was on full display on Sunday against the Toreros. Nine USD players had multiple rebounds highlighted by the 11 from Jacobs. This was big in particular on the offensive end where the Toreros had the 16-9 advantage in offensive rebounds. A rebounding margin this large normally means that team one the game, and it’s why the Toreros cruised to victory.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Feb 6, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Toreros forward Thomas Jacobs (15) dunks the ball during the second half against the San Francisco Dons at Jenny Craig Pavillion. The Dons won 74-67. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
THOMAS JACOBS, SAN DIEGO: Most of the Toreros had a surprisingly average day against the Hawks considering the mismatch. All the key reserves got a chance to have a big game, but nobody really stepped up. Jacobs has had some big games this season, but he has been hit and miss in the thick of the non-conference schedule. This was a good confidence booster for him to dominate with a double-double right as we enter conference play. And the Toreros will gladly take him getting back on track over wishing one of the key role players or freshmen got a breakout game.
Jacobs has flashed great potential as a forward, and he has been tasked all year as being the guy to replace their only departed from last season, big man Dennis Kramer. So far Jacobs has done that admirably with some big games, but he could be more consistent. Hopefully this springboards him into a strong start to WCC play. With Dee and Anderson being the only consistently reliable options so far, the Toreros desperately need Jacobs to be that solid third option to be competitive every game.
The Toreros get almost a full week off before the host Portland to open WCC play on Saturday. That will be a tough first conference test as the 8-3 Pilots are looking every bit the breakout team they were predicted to be this season. Both of these teams are from the very good middle tier of teams hoping to challenge the top dogs in the conference, so both will really want that opening win to get off to a good start. It’s made even more important for USD as they get Gonzaga just two days later in another game in the Jenny Craig Pavilion.