By Kellan King
All I can say about today’s game is that it was not dull. In the first few minutes, it looked like a familiar story for USF. The Dons were 0-8 from 3, and BYU jumped out to an early 8 point lead behind Alex Barcello. The rest of the half would be domination from USF. They got hot from 3, Khalil Shabazz had a quick 8 points, and USF went on a 36-14 lead, and Jamaree Bouyea hit yet another deep 3 to end the half, putting USF up 15.
The Dons came out of the half determined to not repeat the Saint Mary’s game of a week ago. They went on a quick 6-0 run, extending their lead to 21, and forcing Mark Pope to call a timeout. Then BYU started to chip away. Behind strong performances from Barcello and Freshman big Atiki Ally Atiki, BYU was able to cut the lead all the way down 8. With BYU surging and Bouyea hobbled with a rolled ankle, things looked grim for the Dons.
The last 5 minutes may have been the 5 minutes that get USF into the tournament. Gabe Stefani made some clutch shots, and the Dons got stops and made free throws. Near the end of the game, things got very chippy, with 5 total techs called with the game well in hand. In the end, USF won 73-59. This game was crucial for USF to get a win to keep themselves in the running for March, and they got it done. They will now head to Portland to take on the 11-11 Pilots on Saturday.