Dec. 28, 2012
GAME #15: The USD Toreros (6-8) will close out the 2012 year with their final nonconference contest this coming Saturday, Dec. 29th, against the Morgan State Bears (3-6). Game time is slated for 7:35 p.m. at the Jenny Craig Pavilion (5,100 capacity).
SERIES RECORD: This is the first meeting between USD and Morgan State.
RADIO: All USD home and away games will be broadcast live on the Mighty 1090 AM or ESPN 1700 AM with Andy Masur (6th season) bringing you all the action; his pre-game shows air 15 minutes prior to tip-off. Saturday's game will air on The Mighty 1090 AM with Jack Cronin filling in for Masur.
A LOOK AHEAD: The Toreros begin the New Year by hosting the University of Portland Pilots (7-7) on Thursday, January 3rd, in both teams' WCC opener. Game time is slated for 8:05 p.m. at the Jenny Craig Pavilion. The contest will be televised on Fox Sports San Diego.
WCC STANDINGS (thru Dec. 27th): Gonzaga (11-1), Santa Clara (11-2), Saint Mary's (9-3), BYU (9-4), Pepperdine (7-5), Portland (7-7), LMU (6-6), USF (6-6), San Diego (6-8).
COACH GRIER (6TH YEAR): Coach Bill Grier (Oregon, 1990) is in his sixth season at the helm of the USD program... He enters the Morgan State contest with a 6-8 mark... Last season's squad finished 13-18, but won 4 of its final 6 regular-season WCC games and then advanced to the quarterfinals of the WCC Championships before falling to BYU by just 5 points... The 2010-11 season was highlighted by a 74-66 home win over #23 Saint Mary's, along with a 67-64 win over Utah... The 2009-10 season was highlighted by wins over Stanford, #25 Oklahoma, Houston and Boise State... His 2008-09 campaign (16-16) 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 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... 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... Bill and his wife, Nicole, have two daughters, Giselle & Ashley.
TORERO TIDBITS: The Toreros return to the friendly confines of the Jenny Craig Pavilion where they sport a home record of 5-2 this season, including a streak of three straight wins... At the JCP the Toreros average 74.4 ppg while limiting opponents to 64.7ppg... Johnny Dee averages 16.6 ppg at the JCP while converting 51.5% of his threes (17x33)... Senior Ken Rancifer averages 10.7 ppg while making 50% of his threes (13x26) at the JCP... USD will be looking to snap a three-game losing skid that started back on Dec. 15th, a 72-56 loss to then #18/#15 SDSU... It was followed by close losses to Oregon State (86-79) and James Madison (62-59)... Over the last three games USD is being paced by Rancifer (13.7 ppg), Dee (13.0 ppg) and senior Chris Manresa (13.0 ppg, 9.3 rpg).... For the season Dee leads all Toreros in scoring with his 14.6 ppg average.
TOREROS DROP 62-59 DECISION TO JAMES MADISON: In their last outing the USD Toreros (6-8) battled hard, rallied with second half surges, but came up short in a hard-fought 62-59 loss to James Madison (6-6) in the final game of the Vegas Holiday Hoops event on Dec. 23rd. Johnny Dee scored a game-high 18 points, and senior center Chris Manresa posted his first double-double of the season with 10 points and a new career-high 13 rebounds, but it wasn't enough. The Toreros jumped out to a 9-0 lead against the JMU Dukes, only to see JMU get hot from the field and eventually take a 33-30 intermission lead. In the 2nd half the Toreros would tie up the score on three different occasions, the last being at 50-50 with 7:16 to go on a Mike Davis three-pointer. Dee followed with a jumper at the 6:34 mark for a 52-50 advantage, and a Ken Rancifer basket with 3:21 left would extend USD's lead to three at 58-55. From there JMU put together a 5-0 run for a 60-58 lead with 23 seconds left. During that JMU run, the Toreros turned the ball over four times. With 8 seconds left, USD's Rancifer drove hard to the basket, getting fouled and just missing out on the ball going thru the hoop. He missed the first of two free throws to make it 60-59, and the Dukes iced the game when A.J. Davis got free for a dunk with 4 ticks to go.
SCOUTING THE MORGAN STATE BEARS: Morgan State (3-6) comes to town looking to snap a three-game losing streak after Thursday night's 79-62 loss at Loyola Marymount... In that contest the Bears were paced by junior guard Justin Black off the bench with 15 points ... He was followed by junior guard Anthony Hubbard (14 points, 7 rebounds), senior forward DeWayne Jackson (10 points, 5 rebounds, 5 blocked shots) and 7-2 redshirt junior center Ian Chiles (10 points)... Saturday's game at the Jenny Craig Pavilion will be Morgan State's 7th straight road contest and 8th in 10 games... The Bears own victories over Texas-San Antonio (71-59), Liberty (67-62) and VMI (81-80, ot)... For the season the Bears have three players averaging in double-digit scoring - forward DeWayne Jackson (14.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg), guard Anthony Hubbard (13.9 ppg, 7.4 rpg) and guard Justin Black (12.4 ppg)... Sophomore guard Rasean Simpson (San Diego, CA; Lincoln HS) has appeared in 7 games... Morgan State is averaging 67.9 points per game and 36.2 rpg, while giving up 75.0 ppg and 37.2 rpg on average to its opponents... Morgan State (Baltimore, MD; 8,000 enrollment) is an NCAA Division I school and member of the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference... Head Coach Todd Bozeman is in his 7th season and owns a record of 114-91.