USF Dons Take 4-1 Record To Anchorage For Great Alaska Shootout

We break down the 2011-2012 college basketball season for the San Francisco Dons. USF looks to build on a solid 2010-11 season that saw them advanced to the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.

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2011 Great Alaska Shootout: USF Dons Defeat Dartmouth, Await Murray State Racers

The University of San Francisco Dons opened the 2011 Carrs Great Alaska Shootout Wednesday evening with a 71-69 victory over the Dartmouth Big Green. Although the Dons entered the game as nine-point favorites, they once again found themselves in a dogfight that came down to the wire. The Dons have won five straight and their last four have come by a combined eleven point margin of victory.

The Cardiac Kids from the Hilltop continue to do just enough to take care of business. The Dons cut down on their turnovers to some degree, but they struggled to put away a tough Dartmouth squad. USF actually trailed 8-0 and 15-6 as Dartmouth brought their A-game early on. However, the Dons finally managed to even things up in the final four minutes of the first half and went into the locker room up five at the half.

The Dons extended their lead to as much as ten in the second half, but as has been the case in recent games, the opposition fought back and made USF work to the wire. Dartmouth cut the lead to one on a David Rufful three pointer. USF shot 3-of-6 on free throws in the final 37 seconds and that allowed the Big Green to stay in the game. Dartmouth had the ball with seven seconds left down three, but USF made the smart play of falling Jabari Trotter before he could attempt a game-tying shot. Trotter split the free throws and USF held on for the win.

The Dons were led by junior guard Michael Williams who scored 23 points and grabbed five rebounds. San Francisco got 18 points from Rashad Green and 16 points from Angelo Caloiaro who each joined Williams with five rebounds apiece. It was a fairly even contest on the boards. Dartmouth outshot USF, but the Dons managed an additional eleven free throw attempts.

USF advances to the semifinal of the Shootout where they will face the Murray State Racers. Murray State held on to beat the host, Alaska-Anchorage. That game will take place at 5:30pm PT on Friday November 25.

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2011 Carrs Great Alaska Shootout: USF Dons Open Versus Dartmouth

The University of San Francisco Dons will continue their longest road trip of the season as they open the 2011 Carrs Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage. The Dons will face the Dartmouth Big Green in their opening game Wednesday night. The Dons currently are 11-1/2 point favorites against Dartmouth. Of course, given the recent run of tight ball games, the spread probably doesn't mean a whole lot.

The Big Green are 1-2 under second year ehad coach Paul Cormier and are coming off a 66-62 win over Bryant University. They are led by junior guard R.J. Griffin who leads the team with 15.3 points per game. Gabas Maldunas is their force inside, averaging 10.0 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Maldunas will likely find himself in some tough battles inside against Perris Blackwell and Angelo Caloiaro. The Dons are getting huge efforts from their two forwards who are averaging a combined 27.2 points and 14.2 rebounds per game.

The Dons have found themselves in some nail-biters early this season, winning their last three games by a combined nine points. USF's primary struggle has been turning the ball over, with sloppiness costing them their one loss against North Dakota State.

USF will face the winner or loser of Murray State vs. Alaska-Anchorage depending on the outcome of USF's game. That semifinal matchup will take place Friday at 5:30pm. All 16 games (four women, 12 men) of the 2011 Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout will be streamed live in video on GoSeawolves.com. Full-tournament subscription packages cost $19.95, while single-day passes can be purchased for $6.95. You can listen to audio of the games at USFDons.com.

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Great Alaska Shootout 2011: USF Dons Prepare For Eight-Team Tourney

The University of San Francisco Dons continue their holiday road trip on Wednesday as they open the 2011 Carrs Great Alaska Shootout, hosted by Alaska-Anchorage. The Dons sit at 4-1 and are one of the co-favorites in an intriguing field of teams. The Shootout includes USF, A-A, Central Michigan, Dartmouth, Murray State, New Mexico State, Southern Mississippi, and UC Irvine.

While USF opens against Dartmouth, Murray State will open against the host team, Alaska Anchorage. The Murray State Racers are coming off a 23-9 season and the team is off to a quick 4-0 start. The Racers are led by Isaiah Canaan, Ivan Aska and Donte Poole, who are averaging a combined 45 points a game.

The Dons are off to a 4-1 start and are looking to surpass the 5-1 start they had in Rex Walters first season. After that 5-1 start the Dons dropped back-to-back games to USC and Cal Poly. The Dons are favored by 10 1/2 points over Dartmouth and if they can get past the Big Green, USF will face off with Murray State, in what could be the best game of the tournament. The full Great Alaska Shootout schedule is below.

TV Coverage
The Shootout will air live on Fox College Sports, YES Network, NESN, DIRECTV Sports Pak, and Dish Network Multi-Sports Pak. Comcast SportsNet California will air the entire tournament on tape-delay. Additionally, games can be viewed via subscription at GoSeawolves.com and USFDons.com.

Nov. 23 - Alaska Anchorage vs Murray State
Nov. 23 - Dartmouth vs San Francisco
Nov. 24 - Central Michigan vs New Mexico State
Nov. 24 - UC Irvine vs Southern Mississippi
Nov. 25 - Men's Semifinal #1
Nov. 25 - Men's Semifinal #2
Nov. 26 - Men's Third-Place Game
Nov. 26 - Men's Championship

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USF Basketball Vs. Seattle University: Michael Williams Leads Dons To Victory

The San Francisco Dons improved to 4-1 on the season Saturday evening as they held off the Seattle University Redhawks 69-63 at Key Arena in Seattle. The Dons are on their way to Alaska for next week's Great Alaska Shootout, but made a pit stop in Seattle for their first road contest of the season. Michael Williams led the Dons with 18 points and Angelo Caloiaro and Perris Blackwell contributed twelve apiece.

USF once again had to deal with numerous turnover issues as they gave up the ball 18 times. Turnovers cost them their opener against North Dakota State and will be an even bigger issue if they don't clean up their play when West Coast Conference play begins in late December. For now though, the Dons have bought some time to figure out what they need to do to improve in taking care of the ball.

Seattle hung close late in the first half, cutting a nine point Dons lead to a single point at half time. USF came out of the locker room up 28-27 and exchanged leads with the Redhawks through the first eight minutes. Third-year sophomore Dominique O'Connor provided a jolt off the bench to give the Dons a lead with 12:08 that they would not surrender. O'Connor scored ten points in the first eight minutes of the half to give the Dons their eventual winning lead. Seattle cut the lead to one in the closing seconds, but the Dons made key free throws throughout the closing minutes of the game and held on for victory.

USF will now head off to Alaska for the Carr's Great Alaska Shootout. USF opens the tournament on Wednesday November 23 against Dartmouth. They will then advance to face the winner/loser of Murray State/Alaska-Anchorage on Friday pending their own result.

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USF Vs. San Jose State Recap: Angelo Caloiaro Leads Dons To Wild 83-81 OT Victory

Rivalry games often bring out intense atmospheres and Wednesday's matchup between the University of San Francisco Dons and the San Jose State Spartans was no different. While their geographic rivalry does not have quite the intensity of St. Mary's or Santa Clara, it still creates for some entertaining basketball. We got such a game Wednesday night as the USF Dons escaped with an 83-81 overtime victory over their Bay Area rivals.

The game was a see-saw affair all evening long. USF grabbed an early lead out of the gates, going up 22-8 at the 10:42 mark in the first half. However, SJSU cused a 31-13 run the rest of the half to take a 39-35 at the buzzer. The Dons have struggled at times this season to establish their dominance against supposedly inferior opponents. The Spartans are not a bad basketball team, but this was a game that should not have gone to overtime.

SJSU was unable to build on their lead in the second half and the Dons finally evened things up just before the under-16 timeout. Much like the first half, the two sides traded the lead back and forth. The Spartans had opportunities to put the game away late, but simply could not get timely baskets in the closing minutes.

The game went into overtime tied at 71 but the Dons did all they could to put the game away early in the extra frame. They scored seven quick points to take a 78-71 lead and seemed set to coast. However, the Spartans would not go away and hung around, cutting the lead to two in the closing seconds. Sophomore Cody Doolin went to the line for a pair of free throws with under four seconds left. He missed both free throws, but SJSU was unable to hit a half court shot for the win and the Dons escaped.

USF was led by Angelo Caloiaro who scored 19 points and pulled down 13 rebounds. Perris Blackwell added in 18 points as he is looking more and more like a force down low. Rashad Green added 11 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and two steals.

The Dons will now head on the road for an extended trip through Thanksgiving. Saturday they will face Seattle University. They then follow that with a trip to Anchorage, Alaska for the Great Alaska Shootout, where they open against Dartmouth next Wednesday.

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USF Dons Vs. Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns: San Francisco Survives Last Second Field Goal Attempt

The San Francisco Dons improved to 2-1 on the season Sunday as they just barely escaped War Memorial Gymnasium with a 71-70 victory over the Ragin Cajuns of Louisiana-Lafayette. San Francisco took the lead with 26 seconds left on a layup by Cody Doolin and then had to withstand a pair of frenetic last second field goal attempts to leave victorious. The Dons defeated ULL and Northern Arizona in their second annual Hilltop Challenge.

For the third consecutive day, the Dons had a different leading scorer as Angelo Caloiaro ld the team with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Cody Doolin added 15 points, including the game-winning shot, and Michael Williams added 11. The team improved their turnover total after a pair of tough performances. Turnovers killed them in their opener against North Dakota State, but they overcame double-digit turnovers the last two days to get a pair of wins.

After three games in three days, the Dons will take a few days off before welcoming San Jose State on Wednesday. The Spartans are off to an 0-1 start after a loss to Cal Poly out of the Big West. The Dons face the Spartans followed by a trip to Seattle University before opening up the Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage.

Here is some video from USF's victory over Louisiana-Lafayette, interspersed with comments from Coach Rex Walters:

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USF Dons Vs. Northern Arizona Lumberjacks: Michael Williams Leads Dons To Bounceback Victory

The University of San Francisco Dons bounced back from a stunning season opening upset with a Saturday victory over the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks. The Dons were shocked by the North Dakota State Bison in their Friday opener, but had little time to dwell on the loss. Their second annual Hilltop Challenge provides them with three games in three days and USF was ready on day two as they defeated the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks 69-50.

The Dons once again found themselves struggling early on as NAU took a lead in the first half for ten minutes. USF never fell too far behind, but the struggles had to be frustrating. Dons closed out the first half with five points to take a 28-26 lead into the locker room. The 11.5 point favorites were a bit slow out of the gates in the second half, but a basket and foul at the first TV timeout got them rolling. The Dons took a four point lead at that point and never looked back, winning by 19.

Michael Williams led the team in scoring with 16 points. The team got 11 points from Rashad Green and 12 from Cole Dickerson off the bench. Angelo Caloiaro keyed the defense with 11 rebounds and six steals. The Dons struggled again with 18 turnovers, but they were able to get past them on this night.

The Dons wrap up the Hilltop Challenge with a 3:30pm PT matchup against the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns. ULL is 1-1 after winning their opener over Northern Arizona and losing by 20 on Saturday to North Dakota State. The NDSU Bison look to make a clean sweep of the Challenge as they meet Northern Arizona.

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USF Dons Vs. North Dakota State Bison: Taylor Braun, Lawrence Alexander Lead Bison Upset In Hilltop Challenge

The San Francisco Dons entered the 2011-12 season looking to build on a strong finish to the 2010-11 season. The Dons finished last year 19-15 and apparently they were reading a few too many of their own press clippings. USF was upset in its regular season opener by the North Dakota State Bison 73-65 as Taylor Braun and freshman Lawrence Alexander combined on 39 points in the victory.

The Dons took an early lead, up 20-16 at one point and looked like they had the inside game to put this one away. However, turnovers killed them throughout the first half and USF entered halftime trailing the Bison 35-24. The Dons got on the comeback trail early in the second half and at one point took a one point lead. However, an 11-point Bison run put the game away in the final minutes.

Sophomore Taylor Braun led North Dakota State with 26 points and 10 rebounds. However, true freshman Lawrence Alexander put on quite a show in his first college game. Alexander scored 13 points, dished out eight assists and grabbed nine rebounds in a team-high 37 minutes. He fell just short of a triple double in his first career start, which is mighty impressive.

The Dons were led by the inside presence of Perris Blackwell, who scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Blackwell dominated the Bison inside but the Dons did not seem to go in to him nearly enough. Early on he was having little trouble getting around his man to the basket and it would have made sense to just keep on feeding him. Instead, USF struggled with offensive fouls and a host of other turnovers, giving away the ball 21 times on the evening.

USF has little time to reflect on the loss as they turn around to face the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks Saturday evening. The Dons are 1-2 all-time against the Lumberjacks and will look to right the ship on Saturday. Northern Arizona dropped their season opener in the Hilltop Challenge, losing to Louisiana-Lafayette 83-66.

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2011-12 USF Dons Basketball: Projected Starters

The San Francisco Dons open their 2011-2012 regular season Friday evening against the North Dakota State Bison. The Dons are coming off a 19-15 season that featured an appearance in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament. The Dons enter this new season hoping to break into the upper echelon of the West Coast Conference. Gonzaga, Saint Mary's and newcomer BYU are projected to claim the top three spots, but USF is a strong dark horse to consider.

The Dons could make some noise this season thanks to the return of much of their roster, including all five starters from last season. The Dons lose Moustapha Diarra off the bench, but return a growing veteran class of players. Their starting lineup will feature two seniors, two juniors and a sophomore. The Dons starting lineup projects as follows:

G - Michael Williams, Jr
G - Rashad Green, Sr
G - Cody Doolin, So
F - Perris Blackwell, Jr
F - Angelo Caloiaro, Sr

Williams finished 2010-11 as the fourth leading scorer in the WCC and seventh in field goal percentage. Green and Doolin look to be the primary table-setters for the Dons as they combined for 6.5 assists per game, with Doolin finishing seventh in the conference in assists. Perris Blackwell finished fourth in the conference in rebounds and second in field goal percentage.

The Dons lose some bench depth with Diarra and Marko Petrovic departing. However, they add a solid freshman in guard Chris Adams. The big guard averaged 18.7 points and 3.9 rebounds as a senior at Damien High School in Covina, CA.

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San Francisco Dons 2011-12 Basketball Schedule: Hilltop Challenge Opens Season

The University of San Francisco Dons kick off their 2011-12 schedule Friday night as they face the North Dakota State Bison in the second annual Hilltop Challenge. The Dons host the round-robin event that features North Dakota State, the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks and the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns. After Friday's contest, USF will face Northern Arizona on Saturday and Louisiana-Lafayette on Sunday.

The Dons were 2-1 in last year's first annual Hilltop Challenge, losing their opener to Colorado State before bouncing back to defeat Hampton and Dominican. This season they will face North Dakota State and ULL for the first time, while facing Northern Arizona for the fourth time. USF is 1-2 all time against NAU.

After the Hilltop Challenge, the Dons head off to Alaska for the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout. The 36th Annual Shootout takes place November 23 through 26. USF opens against Dartmouth and then pending that result faces the winner or loser of Murray State and host Alaska-Anchorage. The other participants include Central Michigan, New Mexico State, UC-Irvine and Southern Mississippi. The Dons will face one of those remaining four teams in the final game.

The Dons then have a fairly low key December before opening West Coast Conference play on Thursday, December 26 against Pepperdine. At that point, it is indeed Game On in what will be one of the strongest seasons in recent memory for the WCC.

Here is a rundown of the San Francisco Dons 2011-2012 college basketball schedule:

November

11  FRI. NORTH DAKOTA STATE 6:00 PM (Hilltop Challenge)
12  SAT. NORTHERN ARIZONA 6:00 PM (Hilltop Challenge)
13  SUN. LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE 3:30 PM (Hilltop Challenge)
16  WED. SAN JOSE STATE 8:00 PM 
19  Sat. Seattle U. (FSN) 3:00 PM 
23  Wed. Dartmouth 7:30 PM (Great Alaska Shootout)
25  Fri. Semis/Conolation Semis TBA (Great Alaska Shootout)
26  Sat. Championship/Consolation TBA (Great Alaska Shootout)

December

1  Thurs. Montana 6:00 PM 
4  SUN. PACIFIC UNION 2:00 PM 
10  SAT. PACIFIC 7:00 PM 
17  SAT. MENLO COLLEGE 7:00 PM 
22  Thurs. Holy Cross TBA 
29  Thurs. Pepperdine* TBA 
31  SAT. LOYOLA MARYMOUNT* TBA 

January

7  Sat. Brigham Young* (BYUtv) TBA 
9  Mon. Saint Mary's* TBA 
12  THURS. PORTLAND*  TBA 
14  SAT. PEPPERDINE* TBA 
19  Thurs. Gonzaga* (ESPNU) TBA 
21  Sat. Portland* TBA 
26  Thurs. Santa Clara* TBA 
28  SAT. SAN DIEGO* TBA 

February

4  Sat. Loyola Marymount* TBA 
9  THURS. SANTA CLARA* (ESPNU) TBA 
11  Sat. San Diego* TBA 
16  THURS. BYU* (ESPNU) TBA 
18  SAT. GONZAGA* TBA 
25  SAT. SAINT MARY'S* TBA 
29  Wed. WCC Play-In Game TBA 

March

1  Thurs. WCC First Round TBA 
2  Fri. WCC Quarters  TBA 
3  Sat. WCC Semifinals TBA 
5  Mon. WCC Finals TBA 

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2011-12 San Francisco Dons TV Schedule: BYU, Great Alaska Shootout Highlight Schedule

The San Francisco Dons head into the 2011-2012 college basketball season as a dark horse in the West Coast Conference behind the monster favorites in Gonzaga, BYU and Saint Mary's. Those three are getting all the publicity, but an overlooked USF squad could be incredibly dangerous by the time the WCC tournament rolls around. The Dons return their entire starting lineup from a squad that went 19-15 last season and pulled off an overtime upset of Gonzaga.

The West Coast Conference has a solid television deal in place with ESPN that gets the likes of Saint Mary's, Gonzaga, San Francisco and other folks on national television a decent amount. The addition of BYU could mean even more national exposure for the conference, particularly with the chance for three teams to get NCAA tournament berths.

The conference will have 21 games showcased on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU, including the quarterfinals, semifinals and championship game of the WCC conference tournament. San Francisco will make three WCC appearances on ESPNU in 2011-12, and will also add three games on Fox College Sports Pacific and one on BYUtv. San Francisco's inclusion in the Great Alaska Shootout at the end of Alaska has brought them some of that additional television coverage.

San Francisco's national television schedule includes (all times pacific and subject to change):

Saturday, November 19

San Francisco at Seattle, 3:00 p.m. (FCS Pacific)

Saturday, November 23

Dartmouth vs. San Francisco, 7:30 p.m. (FCS Pacific - Great Alaska Shootout)

Saturday, November 26

TBD vs. San Francisco, TBD (FCS Pacific - Great Alaska Shootout)

Saturday, January 7
San Francisco at BYU, 3:00 p.m. (BYUtv)

Saturday, January 19
San Francisco at Gonzaga, 7:00 p.m. (ESPNU)

Thursday, February 9
Santa Clara at San Francisco, 8:00 p.m. (ESPNU)

Thursday, February 16
BYU at San Francisco, 7:00 p.m. (ESPNU)

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