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.