March 20, 2011
HONOLULU - USF overcame a huge deficit and ice cold shooting to post one of the program's most thrilling and unlikely victories with a 77-74 triumph against Hawaii Saturday night at the Stan Sheriff Center in the second round of the 2011 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament. The Dons (19-14) advance to face ancient Bay Area rival Santa Clara Tuesday night in the quarterfinals at War Memorial Gym.
Freshman guard Cody Doolin was magical at the end for the Dons. With USF trailing by three, 74-69, the Texan made back-to-back slashing lay-ups to give the Green and Gold its first lead since a 2-0 advantage in the opening minute, 75-74 with seven seconds remaining. Junior guard Rashad Green iced the game with a pair of free throws after a Hawaii turnover.
UH held a seven point lead, 73-66 with 82 seconds remaining, but could not hold on. It is the second straight win for San Francisco against Hawaii (19-13) in the islands in the first ever postseasons contest between the two teams.
Junior guard Rashad Green powered the Dons with a monster night. The All-West Coast Conference selection posted his fourth double-double of the season with 22 points, on 7-of-10 from the field to go along with a career-high 15 rebounds.
Doolin finished with 13 points, five rebounds and three assists in 37 minutes. Sophomore guard Michael Williams chipped in 11 points, while junior forward Angelo Caloiaro pulled down 11 rebounds with six points. Freshman guard Marko Petrovic added nine points on three 3-pointers.
"I'm really proud of our guys," USF head coach Rex Walters said. "We fought though a lot of adversity tonight. At the end of the game we really defended and got stops. Even though our shots weren't dropping, we continued to battle and defend. Rashad Green and his will to win lifted us tonight. Cody Doolin made two big lay-ups there at the end."
USF shot at a .347 (25-72) clip, .207 (6-29) from deep. The Rainbow Warriors connected at a .483 (28-58) rate, but went just 2-of-12 from beyond the arc (.167). The Dons held a 43-38 rebound advantage, 16-8 on the offensive glass. The Dons took care of business at the free throw line, hitting .875 (21-24) from the foul line. Hawaii shot just .640 (16-25) at the stripe.
Now the Dons turn their attention towards Santa Clara, who dispatched Air Force 88-75 Friday night at the Leavey Center. USF swept the regular season series against the Broncos. It will be the first postseason contest between the two clubs.
"It's hard to beat a team three times, but that is exactly what our focus must be," Walters said. "Santa Clara is a very talented team and they will be ready for us."
San Francisco welcomes the Broncos to the Hilltop Tuesday, March 22. Tip-off is set for 7:00 PM at War Memorial Gym in a game carried live on the official radio home of Dons Basketball, Green 960.