USF Tops Santa Clara in OT 69-62


Winning at home against Bay area rival Santa Clara is better than a box of Valentine’s Day chocolates for the USF Dons. Winning in OT is pretty darn sweet too.

Though Santa Clara led most of the game, the Broncos could not close it out. Jared Brownridge dropping baskets left and right all night long but the tenacity and grit of USF was unstoppable. Brownridge finished the game with 14 points. Brandon Clark had 21 points and shot 3 of 6 from the three point arc. He also had 8 assists.

March 10, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; San Francisco Dons guard/forward Tim Derksen (32) dribbles against the Brigham Young Cougars during the first half in the semifinals of the West Coast Conference tournament at Orleans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Dons shot 77% from the free throw line for the evening, a huge plus for the team that came into the game 345th out of 351 teams in the nation for free throws made. Tim Derksen led the Dons in scoring with 18 points. Devin Watson had 13 points, Matt Christiansen finished with 10 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Mark Tollefsen and Chris Adams had 6 key points each. Kruize Pinkins didn’t get any points on the board until mid-way through the second half and still finished with 12 points in the game. Oddly, he has not started for the Dons in the last 3 games. A motivational tool for the Senior or a seasoning situation for other players?

Matt Christiansen stepped up to fill the scoring void left by Pinkins while Kruize was busily rebounding baskets. Pinkins and Matt Glover had 10 rebounds each in the game. Tim Derksen’s timely baskets, Matt Glover’s rebounding and Devin Watson’s key feeds in several clutch situations gave USF the keys to unlock a win, finally, at home in War Memorial Gym.

Down by 6 points at the half, USF retooled during halftime and began chipping away at the Broncos lead ultimately even with them 28-28 at the 14:27 mark. Santa Clara pulled ahead with 7 point lead after a series of baskets by Jarvis Pugh and Jared Brownridge. Kruize Pinkins finally caught fire making his first basket of the game at 6:35 shaving the lead by 4 points to 49-45.

The back and forth continued until the game was tied at 58-58 with 48 seconds left. Devin Watson had the ball in his hands during USF’s last possession but was unable give Mark Tollefsen the best possible chance to close out the game with a winning shot.

Early in the overtime period, Nate Kratch and Jarvis Pugh fouled out, casualties of the battle between the teams. Kratch finished the game with 4 points and 4 rebounds. Pugh had 8 points and 7 rebounds. USF pulled ahead with 2 free throw shots by Kruize Pinkins taking the lead 60-58. The back and forth continued until Tim Derksen earned a trip to the free throw line after colliding with a Santa Clara player under the basket and coming to a stop at the end of cheerleaders row.

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Derksen made his free throw shots then on the next possession sunk a key 2 point shot to take the Dons to a 5 point lead 67-62, returning to the foul line again with 10 seconds remaining in the OT, making his free throws and increasing the lead to 69-62. Not to be outdone, Matt Glover went up and over the scorers table to keep the ball in play with 5 seconds remaining.

San Francisco heads to Los Angeles to play Loyola Marymount on Saturday night. This win improves their record slightly to 10-16 overall and 4-10 in conference play.

Santa Clara’s record stands at 11-15 overall and 5-9 for conference play. The Broncos are off on Saturday. But they will also go south soon to play Pepperdine next week on Thursday.