The Dons (15-14, 8-10 WCC) took the court for their final regular season game this past Saturday. San Francisco squared off against WCC rival and leader St. Mary’s (24-4, 15-3 WCC) at War Memorial. It was a special night for three individuals as they were celebrating their senior nights. Forward Montray Clemons, guard Tim Derksen and guard Sean Grennan were honored before the game. By the end of the game the three seniors unfortunately weren’t able to get the send-off to the WCC tournament they would have wanted as they fell to the Gaels 72-84.
Grennan opened up the scoring just three seconds in with a layup. Both teams shot 3-for-3 to start the game but St. Mary’s was up one point, 8-7, after making their second three-pointer. With 15:06 remaining in the first half Derksen pulled down an offensive board from a missed three, put up and missed a second effort layup, inhaled another offensive rebound and missed the third-effort rebound as well. The effort didn’t go unnoticed though as the crowd roared in appreciation. It was that kind of night for USF, shots just weren’t finding the bottom of the net. With 12:23 remaining in the first half San Francisco found themselves down five, 15-20, but a three-pointer from sophomore forward Chase Foster and a fastbreak layup from Derksen tied the score back up at 20 with 11:23 remaining. Unfortunately that was the last time the Dons would be able to tie the score as St. Mary’s broke out on an 18-6 run to earn a 12-point lead with 1:57 remaining. By half San Francisco battled back three points to take a 31-40 deficit going into the break. Derksen had a hard-earned 9-point, 7-rebound half and sophomore guard Devin Watson sprinkled in nine points of his own.
The Gaels pushed their lead to 17 to open up the second half and the Dons couldn’t find their first basket until after three minutes and eleven seconds had elapsed. USF was able to get the gap down to single-digits after a Derksen 3-pointer brought the scoreline to 42-51. That was the last time San Francisco would be within single digits of the Gaels. At one point the deficit ballooned to 19 points, 50-69, with 7:21 remaining. When the final buzzer sounded USF looked up to see themselves on the wrong side of the scoreline 72-84.
Derksen finished his final game with game-high points and rebound, 24 and 11. Watson finished the night with 16 points, four rebounds and three assists. Junior guard Uche Ofoegbu added 14 points of his own.
San Francisco will hold the fifth seed going into WCC tournament play and will play No.4 Pepperdine at 3:00pm this Saturday, March 5 in Las Vegas. Wish the team well as they play for a NCAA tournament bid.
Photo courtesy of Dons Atheltics