San Francisco Upsets Pepperdine 56-54


USF led for 95% of the game to take the win against Pepperdine 56-54 in Malibu.

Going with Matt Christiansen in the starting line-up and leaving Kruize Pinkins on the bench, the Dons got out to a quick lead over the Pepperdine working their magic primarily from inside the paint. Tim Derksen was especially prolific, leading USF in scoring with 9 points in the first half, ending the game as San Francisco’s top scorer with 19 points. Pepperdine was turnover prone the first half with 10 turnovers for the half and shooting poorly, only making 8 of 33 field goals.  Sometimes it is easy to forget what a young team this is. Stacy Davis led the Waves in scoring the first half with 6 points finishing the game with a total of 23 points.

Even though the Dons led the game by 12 after the half, Coach Rex Walters was not happy knowing that Pepperdine had the potential to return from halftime with a vengeance.

Pepperdine did indeed close the scoring gap in the second half tying the score or taking the lead for a very brief few minutes. Jeremy Major put up 17 shots in the game and connected for only 4 points finishing the game with 7 points total. With 54 seconds left to play, Major collided with Kruize Pinkins under the basket gaining a huge welt over his eyebrow and sending Kruize to the bench for good after earning his 5th foul during the collision though it was not deemed a flagrant foul.

Before it was clear that Major would take the free throw shots awarded to him, there was a brief moment of anxiety on Pepperdine’s bench as John Yi, a freshman or Jake Johnson, a junior transfer, wondered if they would be selected by Coach Walters to shoot the free throws in the event that Major could not shoot them. Yi and Johnson are Pepperdine players who have yet to accrue free throw shooting averages. Nothing says pressure like getting called up in the closing minute of a very close game when your team is down by 3 points.

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Crisis for Yi and Johnson happily averted. Major stepped on the free throw line and missed both shots leaving the score unchanged at 53-50, USF in the lead. Jett Raines was fouled with 51 seconds left and closed the scoring gap  53-52 making 1 of 2 free throw shots.  Tim Derksen made the next basket for the Dons, then Stacy Davis took it inside for Pepperdine bringing the score to 55-54. Raines finished the game with 6 points as did Lamond Murray, Jr. and Atif Russell.

On the next possession, Matt Glover, the Dons 48% free throw shooter was fouled. Glover made 1 of 2 on the free throw line boosting the score to 56-54 with 2 seconds remaining. Jeremy Major took the last shot for Pepperdine and missed as the game buzzer sounded.

The Dons have won 7 straight games over Pepperdine and have had a productive road trip to Southern California. They will play Saint Mary’s and Pacific as their regular season schedule draws to a close.

Pepperdine will not be damaged by this loss other than the damage to their pride and an awareness that they need more Stacy Davis to shoulder the scoring  burden. The Waves will closeout their regular season against Loyola Marymount Saturday, February 28th.

After this win, USF is 12-16 for the season and 6-10 in conference play. Pepperdine is now 16-12 and 9-12 in conference play.