Busting Brackets

San Francisco Dons basketball has so-so week at Round Ball Showcase


The San Francisco Dons men’s basketball team continued their early season winning momentum with two wins and two losses during the Round Ball Showcase games.

The Dons beat Rice handily 80-54 on November 16, 2015, lost to Fresno State 71-78 on November 19, 2015 then tallied a win against UC Riverside 58-57 in an exciting finish on November 21, 2015.

Their game against UC Santa Barbara on November 25, 2015 delivered a second loss 68-61. Delaware State University will be the final game of the Showcase for the Dons on November 29, 2015.

USF is hosting four of the five Round Ball Showcase games at War Memorial Gymnasium at The Sobrato Center, the newly renamed sports complex honoring the $15 million gift to the university from John and Susan Sobrato.

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Their gift is intended to renovate the 60 year-old War Memorial Gymnasium which will include new club level seating in the gymnasium and will make the building more flexible for multiple uses.

The Sobrato gift will also improve the athletic facilities on the USF campus, including the construction of a new practice gym.

Conference USA (Rice), Mountain West (Fresno State) and the Big West Conference (UC Riverside and UC Santa Barbara) have been represented during the Round Ball Showcase tournament.

The newest Dons are jelling well with veterans Tim Derksen and point guard Devin Watson after the graduation of several productive members of the USF front court during the 2014-15 season.

Former Don and USF graduate Mark Tollefsen is using his last year of college eligibility to play at Arizona as a graduate transfer. Kruize Pinkins graduated and Matt Christianson retired from college basketball to return to his native Oklahoma. Very large shoes to fill for newbies Dont’e Reynolds, Nate Renfro and Mladen Djordjevic.

The input of the newest members of the coaching staff, Sundance Wicks and Frank Allocco was also evident. Though San Francisco only shot 32 percent from the floor against UC Riverside and struggled to find an offensive rhythm, they were able to seal the win in the final seconds of the game with a play that started when newcomer Nate Renfro took a charge, drawing an offensive foul by UC Riverside.

Renfro then inbounded the ball to Devin Watson who connected with Tim Derksen allowing Derksen to make the game winning layup allowing USF to win by one point at the end of the contest. Head Coach Rex Walters conceded that the Dons “won the game on a night we didn’t play our best” definitely a handy skill to have in the tool set as the season continues.

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Three Dons finished in double figures in the UC Riverside game: Devin Watson with 27 points, Tim Derksen with 11 and Chase Foster with 13 points. Malik Thames led UC Riverside in scoring with 15 points.

Big West conference member UC Riverside is the first of three Big West teams that will be playing the Dons in the coming weeks. San Francisco will played UC Santa Barbara on November 25th and will play Cal State Northridge on December 7th.

San Francisco had a slow start against UC Santa Barbara and never recovered losing the contest to the Gauchos 68-61. Tim Derksen was the top scorers for USF with 21 points. He also led the team in rebounds with 8. Devin Watson finished the game with 17 points. Freshman Mladen Djordjevic came off the bench and scored eight points, his best game to date. UC Santa Barbara had three plyers with double figures in the game, Gabe Vincent with18 points, Michael Bryson tallied 15 points and Mitch Brewe had 12 points.

The Round Ball Showcase will conclude for San Francisco with a game against Delaware State University on Sunday, November 29, 2015 at 3 pm.

San Francisco will open West Coast Conference play against Saint Mary’s College on December 21, 2015. The remaining games in their preseason schedule looks to continue to challenge the team as they ready themselves for WCC play. The Dons will meet 2015 NCAA second round team Eastern Washington University on Monday, December 1st, the Griz from the University of Montana on December 4th then Coppin State University on December 18th, 2015.