Latest Team Rankings
Free Text Alerts
|ShopMobileRadio RSSRivals.com Yahoo! Sports|
|College Teams||High Schools|
December 2, 2008Dwight Lewis carried the bulk of the offensive load, finishing with a game-high 26 points to lead the Trojans past the Dons.
Daniel Hackett also chipped in with 18 points and Demar Derozan added 10 points as the guards were forced to step up. The Dons focused on crowding the inside and shutting down the Trojans lead scorer, Taj Gibson.
Trojans began the game shaky with 3 straight turnovers right off the bat. But the game was sloppy overall with San Francisco committing two turnovers of their own.
The inside play for the Trojans was a key to the matchup and all of their early point production came within the key as DeRozan and Gibson cleaned the offensive glass early. But that inside presence would fade later.
Dior Lowhorn for San Francisco was a thorn in the Trojans side early as he hit 4 contested jumpshots.
The Trojans did not look comfortable on either end of the floor early. This was the first time the combination of four guards and one big man was used all season and this led to confusion.
San Francisco also came out in a zone which the Trojans had not seen a lot of this season.
San Francisco opened the game with a 12-3 run in the first six minutes with hot shooting going into the first media timeout.
The Trojans began to cut into the early lead as they began to penetrate the Dons' matchup zone with the dribble and get out in the open floor off of a couple forced turnovers from Dwight Lewis.
Coach Tim Floyd was whistled for a technical foul, seemingly trying to ignite a fire in his team that they did not open with on their own.
"I am glad we got out of it with a win," said Floyd. "We played a team that was very poised, and we did not come out with the same energy consistently like they did. We have to continue to work on being more efficient to start halves."
The hot shooting for the Dons continued as they found good open looks and knocked them down. This allowed them to push the lead to 11 midway through the first half.
Lewis was a steady presence on the offensive end. He continued to stay aggressive even if the effort did not result in a bucket he was constantly in the paint or taking the pull up mid range jumper. He led the Trojans in scoring for the entire game.
"I felt good tonight," said Lewis. "I think being in tough games like this over the last couple of years have done me some good."
"Dwight did a terrific job offensively tonight," said Floyd. "I was glad he was able to step up for us and make big shots when we needed them.
Toward the end of the half, the Trojans began to fall in love with the three-pointer but it did not love them back, they only connected on one out of nine shots from beyond the arc in the first half. The Don's zone did its job in limiting penetration and forcing three-point shots.
The Dons also continued to shoot well, and received inspiring play from Lowhorn. However, the Trojans continued to grind away at the lead cutting it to one after two tough drives to the basket from DeRozan and Lewis both resulted in old-fashioned 3 point plays.
Two free throws from Taj Gibson sent the Trojans to the locker with the momentum and the slim lead at 28-27.
The Trojans kept the momentum with which they ended the first half. They came out with much more energy defensively which in turn got them going offensively.
The Trojans matched the Dons basket for basket toward the middle of the half, neither team was able to pull away or establish any kind of rhythm offensively.
The Trojans began to get production from the inside play of Leonard Washington and Taj Gibson, while the Dons' baskets came from their upperclassmen leaders Lowhorn, Blake Wallace, and Manny Quezada.
Despite spurts of good play inside, the Trojans never established a true presence on the inside offensively.
"I had guys surrounding me all night," said Gibson. They really crowded the key and made it difficult to space out the key."
The fastbreak options were not there for either team, both teams were forced to grind out points from their half court offenses.
Lewis still remained a steady presence for the Trojans on the offensive end with a dunk at the 8:23 mark energized the rest of the team.
Another quick turnover by the Don's led to a layup from Washington on a nice feed from Hackett in transition.
Lewis proved to be the go-to guy this game, converting on all types of shots including mid and long range jumpers and tough baskets in traffic. A jumper from Lewis off of a curl gave the Trojans their largest lead of the game at 61-56 with 4:50 left to play.
The referees also called a lot of fouls which slowed down the game as it came to a close. This meant free throw shooting and hard penetration to the basket would be keys late in the game.
The hot shooting that gave the Dons the lead and kept them close in the second half began to cool off and the Trojans pushed the lead to seven after Gibson made one of two free throws.
The Dons continued to push the Trojans, refusing to go down without a fight. The lead was only three with 50 seconds left in the game.
After Daniel Hackett sunk two free throws off a foul from the Don's full court pressure, Lowhorn again made his presence felt with a three-ball from the deep corner.
Lowhorn's three cut the lead to only 2 with 33.4 seconds left in the game.
The Dons fouled Demar DeRozan who then hit one of two from the free throw line and put the lead back at three. A three from Kwame Vaughn went in and out, drawing a collective gasp from the crowd.
But the ever-steady Lewis calmly sank two free throws to ice the game for good. The Trojans went on to win 74-69.
Notre Dame NEWS