USD men’s basketball falls to No. 7 Gonzaga The Toreros fail to take down the West Coast Conference leaders as the Bulldogs win 65-63

By Edwin Blebu

Hurricane Sandy derailed the ToThe men’s basketball team lost a hard fought battle against the No. 7 ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs, falling 65-63 Saturday evening at the Jenny Craig Pavilion. Sophomore guard and leading scorer Johnny Dee scored a game-high 21 points for USD, while senior forward Elias Harris tallied 18 points and eight rebounds for the Bulldogs. Sophomore guard Chris Anderson scored nine points and dished out 11 assists for the Toreros as he maintained control of the offense throughout the entire game.

The Toreros got off to a quick start in the opening minutes of the first half, going on an 8-0 run that gave them a 19-17 lead. The Toreros received valuable production from the bench as freshman forward Jito Kok and junior forward Dennis Kramer provided support for the starters over the course of the game. The Toreros looked like they were on pace to protect their 26-24 lead in the final three minutes of the first half, but the Bulldogs went on a 12-1 run led by sophomore guard Kevin Pangos who scored eight straight points including two three-pointers. By the end of the first half, the Toreros trailed 36-27.

The second half proved to be an uphill battle for USD, but they continued to play hard and managed to cut into Gonzaga’s halftime lead. The turning point in the game occurred when with thirteen minutes left when Dee found his scoring rhythm, scoring seven consecutive points and cutting Gonzaga’s lead to one. Bulldogs coach Mark Few was whistled for a technical foul for arguing for a foul call on a basket by sophomore guard Gary Bell, Jr. After hitting both foul shots, Dee scored five straight points to put USD ahead 57-53 with seven minutes left.

The Bulldogs would respond, however, going on a 12-6 run to end the game. Their final points came from junior guard David Stockton with 55 seconds left in the game. Kramer scored off of an offensive rebound with nine seconds left to make the score 65-63. The Toreros fouled junior forward Kelly Olynyk, who missed the first free throw of a one-and-one opportunity, giving USD a final possession to tie or win the game. Unfortunately, senior forward Ken Rancifer’s jump shot was blocked by Harris to end the game.

The Toreros have a lot to be proud of after nearly defeating a top ten team on their home court. Student and faculty attendance was undoubtedly at a season high as fellow Toreros came out to provide support for the basketball team for what is always one of the biggest games of the season.