Dec. 21, 2013
(San Diego, Calif.) - The USD Toreros closed out their nonconference slate with a 9-4 record after today's 67-52 home win over the Southern Utah Thunderbirds. Johnny Dee scored a game-high 16 points along with a season-best 7 rebounds, and Christopher Anderson did a little bit of everything with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals. Dennis Kramer rounded out the double-digit scoring with 15 points and 8 rebounds.
"I thought it was a good win for us coming out of finals," said head coach Bill Grier. "Finals at this university are very demanding. I know they are at all institutions, but this one is more difficult than most, and mentally it takes a lot out of our guys. You always worry about playing that game after finals, because of that. Early on we didn't get into a good flow at either end, but finally we got going because we got our defense going, and were able to create a gap between us and them."
Both teams came out of the gates slowly with the first basket coming at the 17:24 mark by Jayson Cheesman of SUU. After a Simi Fajemisin free throw knotted the score at 12-all with 10:13 left, the Toreros used a 12-0 run over the next six minutes to take control of the game. Chris Sarbaugh and Anderson each chipped in 4 points during the run and the Toreros never looked back. USD would hold a 33-22 intermission lead as they converted 12-of-23 shots over the first 20 minutes.
In the second half the USD would extend their lead to as many as 27 points three times, the last coming at the 10:05 mark on two Brett Bailey free throws for a 57-30 advantage. Give credit to the Thunderbirds (1-8) as they kept fighting and would use three three-pointers over the final two minutes of action to get within the final score of 67-52. SUU received a team-high 14 points from Eric Rippetoe off the bench, along with 13 points from A.J. Hess.
For the game USD shot 51.2% from the field (21-41), and 22-of-30 free throws (73.3%). The Toreros also held the edge in rebounding, 33-24. Following Christmas break the Toreros will open up West Coast Conference play with road games at Pepperdine (Dec. 28th, 5pm) and Loyola Marymount (Dec. 30th, 7pm).