Dons Endure Rough Patch, New Coaching Might Help

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John Askins

Staff Writer

 

It was a week filled with missed three-pointers, and not much else for the USF Dons men’s basketball team. USF suffered two tough losses this week at home to UC Santa Barbara (6-2, 0-0) and at Arizona State University (7-0, 0-0).

 

The matchup with UC Santa Barbara came last Tuesday night, Nov. 28, at War Memorial Gym. The Dons went a rough 6-of-33 (18.2 percent) from three-point range en route to a 79-72 loss to the Gauchos. The matchup was the closest the Dons have fought in all season, a game that saw 13 lead changes and 6 ties. The two teams entered halftime locked at 41, and it was not truly decided until the final minutes, where Santa Barbara ripped a 15-3 run to seal the deal.

 

USF enjoyed great performances from senior Chase Foster and freshman Souley Boum, who scored 17 points apiece, each in very different ways. Foster shot 6-of-13 (46 percent) from the field and accounted for half of the Dons’ six three-pointers; Boum got to the line and shot 14 free throws, and converted 12 (86 percent), while needing just two field goals to collect his 17. Boum is currently the WCC leader in free throw percentage, making 33-of-37 free throws (89.1 percent) to begin his career at USF.

 

While the Dons struggled mightily from outside the arc, they proved to be successful inside. They shot an efficient 18-of-29 (55 percent) from inside the arc, while putting up 26 points in the paint. Junior forward Matt McCarthy tied his season-high with 8 points and grabbed 6 rebounds as the Dons fought to control the paint. Foster also contributed in the rebounding battle, grabbing a team-high 7. The Dons were able to out-rebound the Gauchos 39-35.

 

UCSB had five players score in double figures, highlighted by Leland King II, who scored a game-high 21 points.

 

USF’s second matchup of the week came on Saturday Dec. 2 in Tempe, Ariz. against a red hot Arizona State squad. The Dons fought resiliently throughout, but fell 75-57. The Sun Devils have started their season 7-0 for the first time since 1980, and are currently ranked #20 in the nation on the latest AP Poll.

 

The Dons attempted over 33 three-pointers for a second consecutive game, enduring another rough shooting night going 11-of-40 (28 percent) from downtown. They have now collectively shot just 33-of-131 (25 percent) from three-point range in their past four games. The Sun Devils opened the game on a 23-5 run, leaving the Dons to fight their way off the ropes for the remainder of the game. They were able to narrow the lead to 12 during the second half, but were never able to get closer as ASU coasted to the win. The Dons shot just 18-of-63 from the field, setting a season low in field goal percentage with 29 percent.

 

One of the bright spots for the Dons was the performance of sophomore guard Jordan Ratinho, who tied his career-high with 20 points. Junior guard Frankie Ferrari tied a season-high with 11 points off the bench, and sophomore forward Remu Raitanen put in 10.

 

USF announced some great news regarding coaching personnel, as Bill Cartwright and Mike Legarza were named to coaching positions. Cartwright is a member of the USF Hall of Fame and 3-time NBA Champion, and holds numerous USF basketball records, including most career field goals made. He and was named a special assistant to head coach Kyle Smith, where Cartwright will help and advise him, while also taking part in player development and serve as a mentor to the men’s basketball team. Legarza is also no stranger to basketball, as he is the director of Legarza Basketball Camps. The program is one of the largest basketball camps in the country, having over 100,000 athletes attend in its tenure. He has previously coached college basketball, and is in the California Community College Coaches Hall of Fame. Legarza will fulfill the role of human development coach for the men’s basketball program, meeting monthly with the team and staff to ensure there is sound leadership from both the coaching staff and players. He is one of the most respected people in development and leadership studies, and should provide the Dons invaluable help in that arena.

 

The Dons will return home to play Eastern Washington University on Thursday, Dec. 7 at 7:00 p.m. at War Memorial at the Sobrato Center. Before students leave for winter break.

 

The Dons will host UC Davis on Dec. 15 and then travel to Stanford on Dec.17.

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