Feb. 2, 2013
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - The University of San Diego men's basketball team (11-12, 4-4) lost a hard fought battle 65-63 to the No. 7 Gonzaga Bulldogs (21-2, 8-0) in front of a near sellout crowd at the Jenny Craig Pavilion Saturday evening. The Toreros had one of their best games of the season and had a shot to win it at the buzzer but Ken Rancifer's long three was deflected by Elias Harris and fell short.
"It's disappointing, but I'm really proud of our team," said head coach Bill Grier. "When we give that type of effort and compete that hard, no matter what happens, you are going to be happy with the fact that we battled. To compete that hard, with that much enthusiasm and fire, against a team like this, we need to capture this and take it with us the rest of the year."
The Toreros, playing in front of a loud and raucous crowd, fed off the crowd's energy in the first half and held a 26-24 lead with 3:18 remaining in the half. However, the Bulldogs were able to put together a 12-1 run to close the first half to put the Toreros down 36-27 at halftime.
The Toreros answered back to start the second half with a 10-4 run to bring the score to 40-37 Gonzaga with 16:41 remaining. The Toreros continued to stay within striking distance before taking a 55-53 lead on a Johnny Dee three-pointer with 9:26 remaining.
In a game that featured eight ties, the score was knotted at 59 with 4:54 left. The Bulldogs extended the lead to four with 55 seconds remaining, but the Toreros closed the deficit to two with nine seconds remaining on a Dennis Kramer put back. After Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk missed the front end of a one-and-one, the Toreros had a chance to tie it or take the lead, but Rancifer's three at the buzzer fell short.
Sophomore point guard Christopher Anderson
set up his teammates all night long, dishing out a season-high 11 assists to go along with his nine points. Anderson's backcourt mate Johnny Dee
led the Toreros with 21 points. 16 of Dee's points came in the second half and at one point he scored 12 straight points for the Toreros. Freshman Jito Kok
made his presence felt on the defensive end, blocking four shots and altering many other Bulldog attempts. Kok entered the game with 38 blocks, tied for the USD frosh record wih 38. Now with 42, he has passed by Scott Thompson's mark set back in 1983-84. With 42 blocks, and a minimum of 9 more games, he will definitely hit a new mark that should stand for some time.
Gonzaga was led by senior Elias Harris's 18 points. Kelly Olynyk (15) and Gary Bell Jr. (13) also scored in double-digits for the Bulldogs, who became the nation's first team with 21 wins.
With the loss, the Toreros are in 5th place in the WCC and trail Santa Clara (17-7, 5-4), who lost at BYU 96-79.
The Toreros will look to snap their four-game losing streak Monday evening at Loyola Marymount (8-13, 1-7). The game tips off at 7:02 p.m. and will be televised on Time Warner Cable SportsNet.