USF at Saint Mary’s Game Preview


USF Dons (7-6) vs. Saint Mary’s College (8-3)

Date and Time: Monday, December 29, 2014 at 6:00 PST

Location: Saint Mary’s College Campus (McKeon Pavillion), Moraga, CA



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Meet the Teams


Feb 6, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Francisco Dons guard Chris Adams (10) dribbles the ball during the first half against the San Diego Toreros at Jenny Craig Pavillion. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Always an intense game between these two across the Bay Bridge rivals, the Dons and the Gaels will go toe-to-toe in this early season game.  Playing worthy rivals in their pre-season games such as Florida Gulf Coast University, Evansville, the University of Colorado and Cal Poly seasoned USF nicely in preparation for this game.  Mark Tollefsen, Kruize Pinkins, Tim Derksen and Matt Glover are battle tested and ready, Devin Watson, Derrell Robertson, Matt Christiansen and Chris Adams are great go-to’s off the bench or in the starting lineup.

Interestingly, both USF and SMC have played Cal Poly in the pre-season.  USF lost after leading the game 71-78, Saint Mary’s won more definitively 82-56.  If that is any measure, USF will have to play a bit out of their heads to stay with the Gaels.

The Dons have the stats to match the Gaels.  Consistent high scorers (Tollefsen and Pinkins), great rebounders and second chance shooters (Glover and Derksen) and spoilers (Watson and Christiansen.)  Personnel is not an issue for this team.  Late in the game closing skills are.  If the Dons bring their killer instinct in the last 5 minutes of the game, they can take the win with them back to the hilltop.

To get respect from the rest of the WCC, USF must to win this game and must win games always make for great basketball.


Saint Mary’s College 

The Gaels will host the Dons after handily beating their travel partner, Santa Clara, Saturday night by 13 points. Against a tougher, more talented team, the Gaels will need to play just as well in order to beat the Rex Walter’s coached Dons.

Guard play will be a key element for the Gaels, as USF boasts two very skilled and physical guards in Matt Glover and Tim Derksen. While Emmett Naar is running the offense, it is crucial that Aaron Bright and Kerry Carter are getting open and defending the aforementioned Dons to ensure USF doesn’t over power SMC on the perimeter and help out their talented freshman point guard.

In the frontcourt, Brad Waldow and company will be tested with the Dons assembly of post-players, particularly all-WCC caliber forward Kruize Pinkins. The 6-foot-7 forward is a handful down low, as the junior leads USF in both scoring and rebounding with 16.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. In addition to Pinkins, USF has Mark Tollefsen, a skilled all-around big man, Derrell Robertson, a resounding defensive presence, and Matt Christiansen to throw out on the court. It will be interesting to see who Randy Bennett decides to matchup with Pinkins and the rest of the USF frontcourt on Monday night.


Key Matchup


Waldow vs. Pinkins

The two forwards are workhorse players for their respective teams and both need to be on their games to ensure a victory for their respective school’s. There is a good chance you could see two double-double’s coming from these players.