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.