War Memorial Gymnasium is an unforgiving venue for the University of the Pacific Men’s Basketball Team. The last time the Tigers won there was Dec. 5, 2007, when the Tigers beat the Dons 84-57. With the Tigers only dressing eight players last Thursday night, this losing streak continued as the Dons held on to win 69-67 at the Hilltop.
The Dons struck first on a three-pointer by junior guard Frankie Ferrari. He would score five more points on a layup and another triple before the Tigers got on the board. With Dons leading 12-2 early, it looked as though the Tigers had a long night ahead of them. This game easily could’ve gotten out of hand, with the Dons leading by as much as 16 points in the first half. But, the Tigers would manage to claw themselves back into the game.
Foul trouble contributed to USF struggling to open the game up in the first half, as the Dons put the Tigers in the bonus in the first nine minutes of the game, meaning every foul by the Dons would send the Tigers to the free throw line for the rest of the half. Two fouls in the first seven minutes by Ferrari forced him out of the game early. He would not come back in until the five minute mark of the first half.
During Ferrari’s absence, the Don’s dominance stalled. The game became a back-and-forth affair. The Tigers pulled within five, then the Dons scored eight unanswered to temporarily push the lead to thirteen. From there, both offenses stalled. No points were scored for nearly two minutes as the Tigers failed to convert on attempted alley oops on consecutive possessions and as the Dons responded with an errant pass turned over and a shot-clock violation, respectively.
The Dons were leading by twelve at the half. After the break, things got strange. More than half of the Dons’ student section left after the university gave away a year of free on-campus housing at halftime (see “Junior Wins Free Year of Housing” on the front page).
At one point, the Tigers’ Miles Reynolds lost his shoe on defense. As play went on, USF’s Jordan Ratinho picked up Reynold’s shoe and tossed it into the crowd. The act of shoe throwing is always an interesting event for attentive fans, as the manner in which the shoe is thrown can be cause for a technical foul. While no foul was called on Ratinho, there were shouts of appeal from the visiting bench.
The Dons continued to let the Tigers back into the game. Ratinho’s three pointer pushed the San Francisco lead to eight with three minutes left in regulation, but the Tigers pulled within two points with less than a minute left on Lafayette Dorsey’s three.
With 12 seconds left, Ferrari seemed to put the game away, scoring his seventeenth and eighteenth points at the free throw line to push the lead to four. But with one second left, freshman guard Jamaree Bouyea fouled Pacific’s Miles Reynolds on what would have otherwise been an inconsequential three point attempt. This gave the Tigers a chance, however unlikely, to tie the game. Reynolds made his first two shots. To tie the game, Reynolds would have to miss his third shot on purpose and the Tigers would have to rebound the ball and score a basket before time ran out.
The Tigers did not have a chance to attempt this would-be miracle, as they were called for a lane violation, resulting in a turnover of possession to the Dons, who ran the clock out.
Reynolds lead all scorers with nineteen points as the Tigers dropped to 10-12 overall, and 5-4 in the West Coast Conference. Ferrari’s eighteen lead the Dons, who improved to 12-10 overall and 4-5 in conference play.
Featured Photo: Sophomore guard Jordan Ratinho makes a shot attempt in win over Pacific University on January 27. CHRIS M. LEUNG/USF DONS ATHLETICS