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Toreros hold off Pilots in overtime 81-74
Jan. 4, 2018

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PORTLAND, OR – The USD Toreros survived an 81-74 overtime victory at Portland to improve their season record to 12-3 overall and a perfect 3-0 in the West Coast Conference. Junior guard Isaiah Wright scored a career-high 30 points to lead the winning effort.

“We are learning a lot about our basketball team,” said head coach Lamont Smith. “The thing I’m most proud of is in the past we would have folded. Both the coaching staff and the players huddled up knowing we were going into overtime without both Isaiah’s and we took care of business with a 9-2 run. Olin Carter hit a big three and I thought Juwan Gray was just outstanding down the stretch for us. I was really excited about a bunch of guys contributing and gutting that win out.”

In the first half the Toreros jumped out to an 8-4 lead following a three-pointer from Olin Carter III in the right corner. Tahirou Diabate’s third bucket pulled the Pilots to within 8-6. An alley-oop reverse slam by Juwan Gray followed by an Isaiah Wright three-pointer pushed USD’s lead to 16-11 with 12:07 to go. Wright’s second three with just over 10 minutes to go made it 21-13. A Tyler Williams three from the left corner off a nice dish from Gray made it 24-14. Portland used a 6-0 run to get within three at 27-24 before Tyler Williams converted two free throws for the Toreros. Two made charities from Wright made it 35-30 but the Pilots made it 35-34 off of four points from JoJo Walker. Behind 14 points from Wright the Toreros would head into the break with a 37-34 advantage.

After the break Carter buried a three-ball to extend USD’s lead to 42-38. Josh McSwiggan answered with a jumper and his three-point play gave the Pilots a 44-42 advantage with 14:32 to go. The Pilots extended to 46-42 but Wright answered with back-to-back threes to go back up 48-46. The game was tied at 48-all at the under-12 media timeout. A Cameron Neubauer three from the left corner made it 53-48 but UP quickly answered with a bucket from Joseph Smoyer.

Fouled on a three-point attempt, Wright made three consecutive free throws to make it 56-50. The trifecta gave Wright 25 points with 9:05 to go and improved his free throw line to a perfect 9-for-9. Carter connected on a three from the right wing with 6:23 to go and Pineiro answered with a strong driving bucket to get into a double-digit lead at 63-52. USD’s tenth trey, this time from Williams, made it 66-58 with 3:58 to go. USD led 72-69 with 22 seconds left but Portland’s Josh McSwiggan hit the Pilot’s first three-pointer of the game with 13 seconds left to send it to overtime.

USD entered the overtime period without the game’s leading scorer in Isaiah Wright, as well as without Isaiah Pineiro, the team’s leading scorer on the season. The Pilots scored first on a JoJo Walker layup, but Carter hit a big three to put the Toreros ahead for good at 75-74. From there the Toreros clamped down defensively and closed out on a 9-0 run.

For the game Wright connected on 7-of-12 shots overall, 4-of-6 threes and was 12-of-15 from the free throw line. He was joined in double-digit scoring by Carter (16 points) and Tyler Williams (10 points). USD finished 11-27 from beyond the arc marking their sixth game this season where they have made 10 or more three-pointers. Portland (6-10, 0-3 WCC) was paced by Tahirou Diabate (13 points) and Philipp Hartwich (15 rebounds).

The Toreros (12-3, 3-0 WCC) continue this road trip with a game at Saint Mary’s College on Saturday, January 6th, with an 8:00 p.m. game at McKeon Pavilion.

 

 

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