Dons Torch Toreros: Blackwell Receives WCC Player of the Week Honors

Perris Blackwell WCC Player of the Week by Emily Bogden

On Thursday, January 28th, the University of San Francisco men’s basketball team continued their recent hot streak, picking up their fifth win in six games. The Dons used a second half surge to defeat the University of San Diego Toreros 84-70 at War Memorial Gym in San Francisco.
Leading the way for the Dons was junior Perris Blackwell, who dominated inside en route to a career-high twenty-six points. Junior guard Michael Williams also turned in an outstanding performance, scoring twenty points on a night when he drained four three-pointers. Leading scorer Angelo Caloiaro showcased another side of his game in the victory. The senior forward dished out a season-high nine assists in addition to scoring sixteen points.
The Dons were able to overcome a shaky start against the Toreros. San Diego used a 10-2 run to grab an early 18-12 lead. USF responded immediately, and a Michael Williams three pointer gave the Dons a 30-27 lead with 6:19 remaining in the first half. However, the home team found itself behind 40-36 as the first half came to a close.
The Dons came out on fire in the second half. They made six of their first eight shots, scoring eighteen points in less than five minutes of second half play. A four point halftime deficit was now a 54-51 advantage. The game’s tempo slowed subsequently, but USF kept making shots. A three point shot by sophomore Dominique O’Connor made it 63-55, Dons, with 9:48 remaining; the Toreros never came closer. Solid defense and clutch free throws, including six alone by Caloiaro, prevented San Diego from having any chance of climbing back into the basketball game.
While Blackwell, Williams, and Caloiaro combined for 62 of San Francisco’s 84 points; other players stepped up with solid performances. Senior guard Rashad Green made an impact in a variety of ways, notching seven rebounds, four assists, three steals, and a blocked shot. Sophomore guard Cody Doolin scored eight points before fouling out late, while Dominique O’Connor contributed seven points off the bench.
Overall, the Dons shot a very impressive 51.8% from the floor on 29 of 56 shooting. Even more remarkable, the team nailed nine of their seventeen attempts from beyond the arc. After a 7 of 14 start, the Dons also made their last 10 free throws.
With the win, the Dons moved to 15-9 overall, including a 5-5 record in the West Coast Conference. The loss dropped San Diego to 8-13 overall, with a 3-6 record in WCC play. San Francisco has bounced back extraordinarily well since dropping its first four conference games. The Dons’ next game is an extremely important road match against the Loyola Marymount University Lions on Saturday, February 4th. The Lions currently sit a game and a half ahead of the Dons for the all-important fourth spot in the WCC standings. Teams in the third and fourth positions in the WCC gain automatic entry into the WCC tournament quarterfinals.
After facing LMU, the Dons wrap up the regular season with four of their final games at War Memorial Gym, including the final three games against WCC behemoths BYU, Gonzaga, and St. Mary’s.

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