Dec. 9, 2010
GAME #9: The USD Toreros (1-7) take on the 14th-ranked San Diego State Aztecs (9-0) this Saturday, December 11th. Game time is 7:05 p.m. at Viejas Arena (12,414 capacity).
SERIES RECORD: This is the 42nd meeting between USD and SDSU with the Aztecs owning a 24-17 advantage... San Diego State has won the last four meetings, including last year's 69-62 overtime win at the JCP on December 2nd... Brandon Johnson led USD with 21 points, while SDSU was paced by D.J. Gay (22 points)... SDSU outscored USD 17-10 in the overtime period... Two seasons ago at Viejas Arena, the Aztecs won 57-46.
TV/RADIO/INTERNET: Saturday's game will be telecast locally on Channel 4 San Diego (Mark Neely & Jim Brogan). The game will also be broadcast on XTRA Sports 1360 AM with Steve Quis filling in for Andy Masur; the pre-game show airs 15 minutes prior to tip-off. In addition to the live broadcasts airing on XTRA's terrestrial signal, fans will also be able to hear the broadcast on their computers via live stream at XTRASports1360.com and on their smart phones via the free iheartradio application. A audio broadcast is also available free of charge at www.usdtoreros.com.
A LOOK AHEAD: Following Saturday's game with San Diego State, the Toreros return home for a Monday night contest, Dec. 13th, with the University of La Verne Leopards. The Toreros then break for finals before heading to the 2010 Diamond Head Classic, set for Dec. 22, 23 and 25, 2010, at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. USD opens up against Baylor, and will play either Washington State or Mississippi State in game two.
COACH GRIER (4TH YEAR): Coach Bill Grier (Oregon, 1990), 47, is in his fourth season at the helm of the USD program... He enters the San Diego State game with a four-year mark of 50-58... Last season (team record of 11-21) was highlighted by wins over Stanford, #25 Oklahoma, Houston and Boise State... His second campaign (16-16 mark in 2008-09) was highlighted by road wins over Oregon and Mississippi State... In his rookie year (2007-08) he guided the Toreros to an overall mark of 22-14 and 3rd place finish in the WCC race at 11-3... He guided the Toreros to three wins and the championship title at the WCC Tournament (hosted by USD) with wins over Pepperdine, Saint Mary's and No. 20 Gonzaga... The Toreros then upset No. 15 UCONN in the NCAA Tournament opener with a 70-69 overtime victory, before falling to Western Kentucky in the second round... His 11 WCC wins were the second most for league wins in a single season in program history... Hired on March 26, 2007, Grier is USD's 11th head coach overall and just the 4th head coach since the Torero program moved to the NCAA Division I ranks in 1979-80... His 22 wins in 2007-08 were also the most by a Torero coach in his first season at USD. In addition to knocking off Kentucky on the road, 81-72, the Toreros earned three wins over Top-25 teams: #21 Saint Mary's, #20 Gonzaga and #15 Connecticut... Prior to USD Grier spent 16 years at Gonzaga, including the last 8 seasons as Mark Few's top assistant. Bill and his wife, Nicole, have two daughters, Giselle & Ashley.
WEST COAST CONFERENCE STANDINGS (thru Dec. 8th): Saint Mary's College Gaels (7-2), University of Portland Pilots (7-3), Loyola Marymount Unviersity Lions (5-5), Gonzaga University Bulldogs (4-4), Santa Clara Broncos (4-4), University of San Francisco Dons (3-5), Pepperdine University Waves (3-7), and the San Diego Toreros (1-7).
TORERO TIDBITS: Saturday's game against 14th-ranked SDSU is USD's first contest this season against a ranked opponent... Fourth-year coach Bill Grier owns four wins against top-25 programs (#15 Connecticut; 70-69 ot win in 2008 NCAA 1st round; #20 Saint Mary's, 63-55 on Jan. 28, 2008; #20 Gonzaga, 69-62 on March 10, 2008; and #25 Oklahoma, 76-64 on Nov. 25th, 2009)... Prior to Grier's arrival, USD owned two wins against top-25 teams (@ #14 UCLA, 86-81 ot on Nov. 26, 2002; and vs. #25 Gonzaga, 75-59 on Feb. 4, 1999)... USD individuals listed among the WCC's top-10 include Chris Manresa (t-2nd in blocked shots, 1.8 bpg; 4th in field goal percentage, .615), Matt Dorr (4th in free throw percent, .864), and Darian Norris (t-4th in steals, 1.6; 9th in assists, 2.9).
FRESNO STATE DEALS TOREROS 74-70 LOSS: The USD men's basketball team was unable to snap their six-game losing streak, falling 74-70 to the visiting Fresno State Bulldogs on Tuesday night in Jenny Craig Pavilion. Despite battling back from a 12-point deficit in the second half, the Toreros (1-7) were unable to earn the victory over the Bulldogs (2-5). USD was led offensively by Darian Norris's 14 points, six rebounds, and five assists, while Fresno State got 20 points from Greg Smith and had three other players with double-digit scoring totals. Both offenses started slow out of the gate, with both teams combining for just 12 points in the first five minutes of action. Guard Matt Dorr jumpstarted the USD offense by scoring five points in a row around the 15:00 mark. The Toreros then put together a 7-0 run that put the score at 17-8 at 12:14, their biggest lead of the half. Each team traded baskets before a three-pointer from Nedeljiko Golubovic at 7:27 pulled Fresno State within two and swung the momentum in the Bulldogs' favor. A Bracken Funk three with 2:37 left in the half gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the game and Fresno State closed out the half with three consecutive baskets to hold a 30-28 lead going into halftime. Coming out in the second half, Fresno State was able to stretch their lead to 12 with 10:30 left in the game before a technical foul called on Funk resulted in a pair of made free throws by USD's Devin Ginty. The Toreros battled back by going on a 9-0 run and eventually tying it at 54-54 with just over seven minutes remaining. After Fresno State's Tim Steed missed back-to-back free throws coming out of a timeout, the Toreros got two points on a pair of free throws from Norris. Steed came back to sink two free throws with a minute left to put the Bulldogs up three and then followed that up with a layup in transition off a Torero turnover that put the score at 70-65 with 47 seconds remaining. Ginty kept the Toreros in it by connecting from beyond the arc with 28 seconds on the clock, trimming the Fresno State lead to 71-68. However, Garrett Johnson's streaking layup on a throw in with 23 seconds left proved to be the Toreros' momentum killer, putting the Bulldogs up by six. Despite a dunk by Jordan Mackie in the waning seconds, USD was unable to mount the comeback.
SCOUTING THE SAN DIEGO AZTECS: The No. 14 SanDiego State Aztecs improved to 9-0 with Wednesday night's convincing 77-57 win at Cal... The 9-0 start is a program-best for the Aztecs... Forward Kawhi Leonard led the Aztecs over the Cal Bears with 20 points (8-for-14 shooting)... Guard James Rahon came off the bench to spark the team with 15 points (3-for-4 beyond the arc)... The Aztecs already own wins over two of the WCC's perennial powers - at Gonzaga (79-76) and vs. Saint Mary's (69-55)... Through 9 games the Aztecs are being paced by Leonard (16.7 ppg, 9.6 rpg), forward Billy White (12.3 ppg), guard D.J. Gay (11.3 ppg) and forward Malcolm Thomas (9.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 17 blocks)... Head Coach Steve Fisher (207-149, 12th season) returns all 5 starters and 9 letterwinners from last year's squad that went 25-9, won the Mountain West Conference Tournament and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
2010 HAWAIIAN AIRLINES DIAMOND HEAD CLASSIC BRACKET ANNOUNCED: ESPN Regional Television, Inc., (ERT) a subsidiary of ESPN, announced the eight teams in the field for the 2010 Diamond Head Classic, set for Dec. 22, 23 and 25, 2010, at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu. Tournament host Hawaii and San Diego will be joined by Baylor, Butler, Florida State, Mississippi State, Utah and Washington State. Each team will compete in 1 game per day, advancing through a bracket-tournament format. The two teams that remain undefeated throughout will face off in a championship match on Christmas day. The Toreros will open against Baylor (2010 Elite Eight participant), followed by either Mississippi State or Washington State.
USD AND XTRA SPORTS 1360AM TEAM UP: USD and Clear Channel Radio have finalized an agreement that grants broadcast rights to radio station XTRA Sports 1360 AM for USD men's basketball games during the upcoming 2010-11 season. In addition to the live broadcasts airing on XTRA's terrestrial signal, fans will also be able to hear the broadcast on their computers via live stream at XTRASports1360.com and on their smart phones via the free iheartradio application. "We are excited to join the Clear Channel Radio team and XTRA Sports 1360 AM," said Ky Snyder, USD Executive Director of Athletics. "Debbie Wagner (Clear Channel Radio San Diego President and Market Manager) and Brian Wilson (XTRA Program Director) were great in creating this partnership that works for both of our programs. The Clear Channel team also recognized the importance of having Andy Masur return as the "voice of USD basketball" for his fourth straight season."
QUARTET OF SENIORS MOVE ON: USD's four leading scorers from a year ago have moved on due to graduation - guard Brandon Johnson (14.0 ppg), guard De'Jon Jackson (12.0 ppg), center Roberto Mafra (8.5 ppg) and forward Chris Lewis (7.6 ppg)... They accounted for 67% of USD's team scoring... Johnson left USD as the program's all-time leader in points (1,790) and assists (525)... Jackson made the biggest shot in program history with his step-back 18 footer with 1.2 seconds left in overtime that shocked the UCONN Huskies in the first round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament in Tampa, Florida.