Toreros Pick Up Crucial Home Wins
When it comes to raucous college basketball atmospheres, the Jenny Craig Pavilion does not come to mind. Despite that, the USD Men’s Basketball team is 11-1 at home this year following a 71-58 win over the LMU Lions on Thursday and a 67-63 win over the San Fransisco Dons on Saturday. Both wins came without second leading scorer Olin Carter III who remains day to day with an adnominal strain.
On Thursday the Toreros used a balanced scoring effort to wear down LMU. Tyler Williams led the team with 14, followed by Isaiah Pineiro with 13, and Joey Calcaterra and Yauhen Massalski each with 12. USD also had 17 assists on 23 made field goals. Isaiah Wright led the team with seven.
Leading by one at halftime 31-30, the Toreros outscored the Lions 40-28 in the second half, aided by a stellar effort on the offensive end. After shooting 37% from the field in the first half, the team shot 52% in the second.
On Saturday, USD fell behind by 14 in the first half and trailed by 11 at halftime before coming back and picking up their most impressive win of the season.
Down 32-21, the Toreros shot 62% in the second half and out-rebounded the Dons 22-12. Pineiro led the team with 13 rebounds to go with 22 points and picked up his 17 double-double of the season.
USD chipped away at the deficit early in the second half, going on a 21-6 run over the first 9:37 to give themselves their first lead of the game 42-40.
Isaiah Wright played all 40 minutes scoring 17 points and providing lock down defense. Freshman Finn Sullivan also provided a spark defensively. After switching to a 1-3-1 zone press, Sullivan harassed the San Fransisco guards, forcing turnovers and knocked down a huge three to put USD up 54-47 with 5:20 left.
Finn Sullivan was the difference— Nate Wiggins (@nwiggins11) January 27, 2019
A three point play by Pineiro put USD up 10 with 4:41 left before the Dons cut the lead to four with 1:24 left and to three twice in the final 11 seconds but free throws from Pineiro and Calcaterra sealed the win for the Toreros.
The team has a week off before traveling to Spokane for a showdown vs #4 Gonzaga. Head coach Sam Scholl said on the postgame show that he expects Olin Carter to make his return then.