By Kellan King
USF came into tonight’s game not only expecting a win against Pepperdine, but badly needing one. The Dons got off to a fast start, getting out to a 9-2 lead punctuated by a Yauhen Massalski dunk before Pepperdine took a timeout. USF continued to stay hot, with Khalil Shabazz scoring 8 quick points, and USF extending their lead to 16.
After the Dons took a 20 point lead, Pepperdine got into the bonus with around 10 minutes left in half. It has been a common theme throughout the last couple games, and it allowed the Waves to stabilize and stop some of USF’s momentum.
The Dons would catch fire in last 10 minutes of the half, with Gabe Stefanini and Khalil Shabazz each hitting multiple threes to give USF a 60-27 lead going into the half. It was the Dons highest scoring half of the year, and they did while shooting below 50% from the floor.
The Dons stayed in control in the second half. Khalil Shabazz continued to fill it up, and Zane Meeks added 8 quick points off the bench. A Julian Rishwain offensive rebound leading to Stefanini 3 put the Dons up 40 with 9 minutes to play.
The Dons cruised the rest of the game, and won 105-61. They got big contributions from Gabe Stefanini and Khalil Shabazz, who combined for 45 points. The Dons will now turn their attention to a key road game against Santa Clara on Saturday.
After the game I spoke with Head Coach Todd Golden