The Dons kept the South Carolina State Bulldogs on a short leash last Sunday, beating them by a score of 91-52. This game marked the start of the 2014-15 season for the Dons, and they sprang out of the gates.
Senior forward Kruize Pinkins started off the season’s scoring with a midrange jump shot to put the Dons up 2-0. From that point on, USF had complete control of the game, and midway through the first half the Dons were already leading by 14. With a little over eight minutes left in the first half junior center Derrell Robertson put his first points of his USF career on the board with a massive breakaway dunk off of a steal by freshman guard Devin Watson.
Down by almost 20 points with less than four minutes left in the first half the Bulldogs were getting frustrated. During a media timeout, South Carolina State head coach Murray Garvin could be heard screaming at his players to “play like you got some heart.” The Dons kept their foot on the gas pedal, though, and only kept expanding their lead. Pinkins, apparently also wanting in on the dunk contest, threw down his own rim shaker that helped put the Dons up 45-18 going into halftime.
The Dons maintained their explosive energy coming out of halftime and continued to dominate South Carolina State on both ends of the court. USF outscored the Bulldogs 46-34 in a second half that featured eight Dons three pointers and yet another dunk, this one slammed home by junior forward Mark Tollefsen in alley-oop fashion off of a pass from freshman guard Frankie Ferrari. At the end of the night, USF walked away with a 39-point win and a 1-0 record on the season.
Pinkins led both teams in scoring with 16 points in addition to six rebounds and two steals. The Dons had three other players in double digits as well; Tollefsen and junior guard Tim Derksen each had 14, and senior guard Chris Adams tacked on 11. Derksen also had an impressive seven rebounds, four assists, and three steals in the game.
The Dons shot 58.1 percent from the field on the night, and held the Bulldogs to just 29 percent.
“We’re trying to lock down defensively and not just make it a scoring match, because when you do that you might not have your best shooting night,” senior guard Matt Glover said.
The score of Wednesday night’s game against Notre Dame de Namur was not available at the time of printing. The Dons’ next appearance will be at the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Fla. from Nov. 24 to Nov. 26.
Nick Schebetta contributed to the reporting.