March 5, 2011
LAS VEGAS - USF put together one of its best complete efforts of the season and rolled past Pepperdine 76-59 Saturday night in the quarterfinals of the 2011 Zappos.com West Coast Conference Tournament at the Orleans Arena. The Dons (17-13) advance to their first semifinals since 2003 and defeat the Waves (12-21) for the first time in seven attempts in the postseason tournament.
With the win, USF advances to the second semifinal on Saturday of the 2011 Zappos.com WCC Tournament where it will square off against regular season co-champion Gonzaga in a game televised nationally on ESPN2. Game time against the Zags is set for approximately 7:30 PM in a contest carried on the flagship station of Dons Basketball, Green 960. The pregame show starts at 7:00 PM.
Junior guard Rashad Green enjoyed a big night to lead San Francisco, scoring a career-high 23 points to go along with 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double. Green went 8-for-13 from the field and dished out four assists with no turnovers in 31 minutes. Sophomore guard Michael Williams added 14 points with five rebounds and four assists, while freshman guard Marko Petrovic chipped in 11 points.
Senior center Moustapha Diarra scored 10 points with five boards for the Dons. Junior forward Angelo Caloiaro turned in eight points and nine rebounds.
Both teams were sluggish to start the second half. USF was the first to snap out of it and slowly built a double-digit lead. San Francisco opened a 14-point lead with 8:17 remaining in regulation on a Petrovic 3-pointer.
San Francisco really upped the defensive pressure in the second half and limited the Waves to .267 (8-30) shooting after the intermission and just .182 (2-11) from deep. The Dons led by as many as 19 in the closing minutes.
USF appeared to be taking control midway through the opening period. Trailing 11-10 with 15:27 to go, the Dons went on a 12-0 run and looked to be a quality possession away from breaking the game open. It didn't happen. The Waves promptly responded with a 9-0 run to close to within two at 22-20.
San Francisco answered with back-to-back- 3-pointers from Petrovic and Green to go up 28-22 with 7:03 on the clock. The Dons built a seven point, 42-35 lead at the half. The Green and Gold shot at a sizzling .640 (16-25) clip, including a .583 (7-12) rate from 3-point range. Pepperdine shot at a .391 (9-23) rate, but went .545 (6-11) from deep. The Waves were also aided greatly at the charity stripe, attempting 15 free throws, compared to just six for the Dons.
Green led all scorers with 16 points in the first half with three rebounds and three assists. Williams added 10 and Petrovic chipped in eight. The Dons dominated in the paint, out-scoring Pepperdine18-4 in the first half.
USF shot .556 (30-54) from the field, .429 (9-21) from 3-point distance. The Dons held a commanding 43-32 rebound lead and out-scored the Waves 42-12 in the paint.