USF Closes Out Pacific to Open WCC Play 77-71


In a tight contest where Pacific led for at least 75% of the game, USF closed in near the end of the game to beat the Pacific Tigers 77-71 in Stockton, CA. Santa Claus gave the Dons the gift they wanted most to start conference play, a road win.

Mark Tollefsen was just huge in this game, finishing with 24 points. Matt Glover dished out 7 assists and led the team in rebounds with 9 of them. Kruize Pinkins contributed 16 points leaving Derrell Robertson to take the fouls for the team. Robertson racked up enough fouls to foul out at 11:21 in the second half. Devin Watson’s 14 points and Tim Derksen’s 11 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists capped the USF scoring effort.

TJ Wallace poured in 26 points for Pacific with his skillful shooting. When he wasn’t sinking baskets, Eric Thompson was sinking a few of his own.  Thompson finished the game with 17 points and 7 rebounds. Dulani Robinson had a quiet night with only 6 points and 2 rebounds. Though USF was on the scoreboard first, Pacific led the entire first half but not by more than 5 points at any one time.

Halftime allowed the Dons to regroup and come out swinging. Kruize Pinkins made the first 2 points after the half. USF was dominant by capitalizing on turnovers allowing the team to collect 16 points from turnovers as well as gaining 20 points through fast breaks during the game. Pacific was a tough opponent and did not go quietly. They had several scoring runs of their own during the game, a 9-0 run in the first half sparked by David Taylor. In the second half, Pacific followed an 8-0 run by USF at the 5:43 mark with a 6-0 run of their own. USF carved out a lead and though the Tigers responded with another flurry of baskets from Thompson and Wallace, USF stepped on the gas with a new 9-0 run giving the Dons the lead and ultimately the game.

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Pacific Coach Ron Verlin, in his second season with the program agreed that “the game got away from us tonight.” USF Coach Rex Walters was enthusiastic in his praise for his team noting in particular the play of Devin Watson who came off the bench and scored 14 points and zeroing in on the fact that the Dons only had 3 turnovers as a team the entire game.

The Dons will meet the Saint Mary’s Gaels Monday night in Moraga, always a battle royale between the two Bay area teams.