The Portland Pilots defeated the USF Dons 74-58 on Thursday night at USF’s War Memorial Gym. Despite a close game at the half, the Dons eventually fell throughout the second half of the game to lose in a 16 point deficit.
The game’s first half consisted of a steady match of both teams playing fairly tight man and trying to gain dominance of the post. The Dons slowed the pace of their game down about half way through the first half, passing the ball around the perimeter, until a shot either from underneath or outside was open. The Pilots on the other hand put more pressure on the Dons offense while attempting many more screens to open up drives under the basket. At the half, the score was in reach for both teams as the Pilots led 35-30.
After half time, the game play became much sloppier for the Dons, as within the first four minutes, the team turned the ball over five times on offensive fouls, a traveling violation, loose balls, and a steal from Portland. However, Portland failed to capitalize on all of the errors, only spreading the game 39-30.
After a timeout from Portland on a turnover by USF, the game play changed to more full court presses from both USF and Portland, causing a more upbeat game that had several fast breaks because of the tighter defense and more open court.
With 12:14 left in the second half, the Dons called a timeout with a win still within reach, with the score at 49-41. However the game changed completely as Portland would take advantage of poor ball handling by the Dons and excellent three point range from their side. All of a sudden, a game within reach had turned into a twelve point struggle with the scored at 58-46 Portland.
The Dons continued to miss shots underneath, while also fouling the Pilots, which allowed the Pilots to take control over the game from the free throw line. Portland began to burn the clock by holding onto the ball for the full thirty-five second shot clock on offense with their 60-47 lead.
As the Dons continued to foul the Pilots and miss their opportunities to score, the game became to a wide gap of 72-54 with under two minutes remaining. While only playing for pride the Dons managed to score a couple more baskets. But the game ended with a slow easing disappointment as the Pilots held onto the ball to burn clock.
The Dons ended the game with highs from Rashad Green (14 points) and Dior Lowhorn (12 points).