Nov. 27, 2013
(Estero, Florida) - The USD Toreros scraped out a 59-56 win over Southern Illinois in the Gulf Coast Showcase to win their final two games in the three-day tournament to improve their season record to 7-1. Junior guard Johnny Dee finished with a team-high 17 points, including a key three-pointer in the second half, and Anderson matched his career-high of 16 points with all of them coming in the final 20 minutes. USD shot a season-low 29.3 percent from the field, but made up for it with solid rebounding (40-29 edge) and clutch free throw shooting (26-32).
"I'm proud of the way we fought through that game," said head coach Bill Grier. "We told the guys it was going to wear on them mentally because of the way SIU plays defense. Free throws and rebounding were keys tonight. We hung with it as a team, and I told them I would rather win ugly than lose pretty. And that was ugly today. To shoot 29 percent and still win... but we got to the free throw line and made our free throws. We just never could get into a good rhythm offensively, and that is credit to Barry and the way his program guards. They just made it very tough on us all night. I'm really proud of the way we responded and dug out two wins here."
Unlike their great start against UNCG the previous day, the Toreros opened the game with a Dennis Kramer bucket, then immediately gave up 8 straight points to the Salukis. The Toreros would trail until the 5:48 mark when freshman Brett Bailey buried his first collegiate three-pointer from the right wing to give the Toreros a 17-15 edge. SIU scored the final four points of the half to take a 23-20 lead into the locker room. USD's Anderson played just 10 minutes in the first half with two personal fouls and was held scoreless, while backcourt mate Johnny Dee had just 3 points.
The second half was a different story as the junior tandem of Anderson and Dee combined to score 30 of the team's 39 points. Nine of Anderson's 16 points came on the free throw line where he only missed one opportunity. Dee cashed in on 8-of-8 free throw shooting over the final 20 minutes, and his second made trey with 2:58 to go broke a 50-all tie. From there USD would not surrender the lead as the team made their final six free throws to hold off the Salukis. SIU closed to within one point three times in the closing moments, but Anderson, Kramer and Dee were all perfect on their two free throw attempts.
For the game Duda Sanadze chipped in with 7 points and 6 rebounds, and Brett Bailey added 5 points and 3 boards. The Toreros head to Albuquerque, New Mexico where they will take on the #19/20 Lobos (4-1) on Saturday in a 12:05 p.m. (PST) contest at The Pit.