Dons Fall to Lions Late

After a dominant first half, the University of San Francisco Dons men’s basketball team lost to Loyola Marymount University 90-88 on Saturday, February 4, 2012 in Los Angeles. The Dons (15-10, 5-6 WCC) came out with a vengeance but couldn’t hold on to win, giving up painful turnovers late in the game against the determined Lions (15-9, 8-3 WCC).

San Francisco’s Cole Dickerson started the scoring spree for the Dons with back-to-back jumpers that put the Dons up 9-7 early in the game. USF played tough defense on both sides of the court. They kept LMU’s offense at bay, only allowing them to shoot at a .367 percentage while also forcing nine turnovers. By the end of the first half, the entire USF team jumped on the scoring train with seven Dons players scoring at least three points. Junior guard Michael Williams led the first half scoring with thirteen points helping the Dons go into the intermission with a strong 43-30 lead.

Starting play in the second half the Lions had no intentions of giving up the game that easily. They used a 16-4 run, which ended with back-to-back three pointers from Drew Viney and Ashley Hamilton, to cut the lead to seven points only three minutes into the second half.

In response to the Lions offensive surge the Dons sunk three more three pointers, two from senior forward Angelo Caloiaro and one from senior guard Rashad Green, to keep the lead at sixteen with fifteen minutes to play.

The Lions, led by Viney, kept trading points with the Dons slowly but surely eating away at the deficit. With just under ten minutes to play, Viney hit another three that made the game 69-60.

Once again USF responded, as Green drew a foul that sent him to the free throw line where he went one for two. After a defensive stop by the Dons, Cody Doolin dished the ball to Green who drained the teams tenth three pointer of the game to make the score 73-60.

The hot three point shooting continued for the Lions, who sunk five three pointers in the final seven minutes. With just under two minutes to play, LMU’s Anthony Ireland drove hard down the middle, drawing two USF defenders. In the absence of his defender, Viney was left wide open near the baseline and nailed a three pointer to make the score 86-83.

USF took the ball down court but unfortunately wasn’t able to convert as Green missed a jump shot. The Lions took advantage of the mistake and made it a one-point game. A careless inbound play from Caloiaro, who accidently stepped over the line as he was passing the ball, led to a costly turnover for the Dons. LMU was able to draw a foul and took their second lead of the game, 87-86, with one minute and thirty seconds to play.

Green, who scored a game and career high twenty-four points, countered with a jump shot to put USF in the lead 88-87. Viney came back for LMU with the game winning lay-up at the fifty-four second mark and USF was forced to foul. This win over the Dons completed the season sweep for the Lions and keeps them tied for third place in the WCC with Brigham Young University.

The Dons next match is against Bay Area rival Santa Clara who will be looking for revenge after the Dons beat them last week. Tip off is set for 8 PM in War Memorial Gymnasium and the game will also be televised on ESPNU.

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