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Ollie Johnson holds up a frame with his jersey enclosed in it. Johnson played for USF from 1962-1965, and is now just the sixth Don to have his jersey retired. (Photo courtesy of Dons Athletics)

Men’s Basketball: Dons Edge Out Rival Broncos On Ollie Johnson Night

On Saturday, Jan. 25, the Dons held off a late charge from rival Santa Clara and took home the victory by a score of 75-66. The victory came in large part due to the Dons’ 41-24 rebounding advantage over the Broncos, a fitting performance on Ollie Johnson Night, which  celebrated the USF career of the second all-time rebounder and included the retirement of his jersey.

Senior forward Cole Dickerson led the team with 28 points, seven of which came in the last 6:31 of the game and were key to shutting down a spirited Broncos rally. A Dickerson three-pointer capped a 12-6 Dons run and gave them a 66-54 lead with 3:30 to go. After Santa Clara pushing the lead down to four with a little less a minute remaining, junior forward Kruize Pinkins sealed the game with a dunk off of a pass from sophomore guard Avry Holmes. Pinkins was also fouled on the play, and he hit the free throw to put an exclamation point on his 14-point night. For the Broncos, guard Jared Brownridge led the game in scoring with an efficient 30 points, making eight shots on 14 attempts as well as hitting nine of his 10 free throws.

One of the biggest plays of the night came in the first half as junior guard Matt Glover made an emphatic block that led to a Dickerson layup in transition, giving the Dons a 29-14 lead. The block was the highlight of a strong defensive effort in the first half by the Dons, who held the Broncos to 28.5% shooting and only 22 points in the first 20 minutes of play.

The effort shown in the first half by the Dons also carried over to the second, as Santa Clara ended the game shooting only 39% and scoring only four second-chance points. The final rebound tally told the story, with rebound totals of 13 from Glover and 8 from Dickerson adding fuel to the Dons’ fire.

Head coach Rex Walters was pleased with how the team performed in the game’s most critical moments.

“I loved how our guys stepped up at the end of the game and made plays,” Walters said. “I think of Avry [Holmes] getting double-teamed in the corner but still finding Kruize [Pinkins] for a dunk on the other end. Plays like that are special.”

The night also featured a ceremony for former USF player Ollie Johnson where his number 32 jersey was given its own place in the rafters of War Memorial Gym. The event included an appearance from USF President Fr. Stephen Privett, S.J., who read a letter from United States President Barack Obama that congratulated Johnson for his accomplishment.

“This special tribute is a testament to the lasting mark you have left on the University of San Francisco community,” the letter said. “I hope you take pride in your achievements on and off the court, and I wish you all the best.”

In his three seasons with the team Johnson scored 1,668 points, grabbed 1,323 rebounds, was named WCC Player of the Year twice, and led the team to the NCAA tournament every year. He was selected eighth overall in the 1965 NBA draft by the Boston Celtics but never played for them in a game, instead going on to play for the San Francisco Athletic Club and then overseas in Belgium.

With Ollie Johnson and his group of former teammates watching, the Dons improved to 13-8 with the win over the Broncos. San Francisco will resume play on Wednesday, Jan. 29 when they go up against the University of Portland at 7:00 p.m. at War Memorial Gym.

Men’s Soccer: Liam Kelly Scores on Senior Day in 2-1 Loss to Santa Clara

Seven Dons seniors played their final match at Negoesco Stadium on Sunday, a 2-1 loss to the Santa Clara Broncos. Senior forwards Liam Kelly, Tanner Smith, Michael Shaddock, Brady Jimison and midfielders Gerry Vera, Vegard Karlsen and Mauricio Diaz De Leon were honored before the game with flowers and an announcement of their accomplishments. Team captain Diaz De Leon, who was an All-West Coast Conference (WCC) First Team honoree in 2012, an All-WCC Honorable Mention in 2011 and a WCC All-Freshman Team honoree in 2010, was accompanied by USF president Fr. Stephen Privett, S.J. as he received his senior bouquet.

“I’m proud of our guys. The seniors played well,” Head Coach Erik Visser told USFDons.com.

Kelly scored his second goal of the season about 12 minutes into his final match, chipping the ball into the net from about five feet away off a pass from freshman defender Christian De Luna. The Dons would keep the 1-0 lead for just a few minutes — Santa Clara tied the game in the 16th minute when Michael Gates snuck the ball past USF goalkeeper redshirt freshman Connor Gaal immediately after entering the game from the bench.

In the 23rd minute Diaz de Leon nearly regained the lead for the Dons on a corner kick that rebounded into a shot opportunity, but his shot was saved by Bronco goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh.

The score was tied 1-1 at halftime, after which both teams ramped up the energy in their quest for the lead. A shot in the 63rd minute by sophomore defender Joshua Smith

looked like a goal for the Dons, but the ball was determined to have just missed crossing the line into the net. A couple minutes later Santa Clara scored a clear goal on a penalty kick into the top of the net by Mark Daus after a foul was called on the Dons’ redshirt sophomore defender Kevin Gould.

“It comes down to details and the second half we had one or two really good looks at the goal,” Visser said. “I thought maybe one was a goal, and really out of nowhere we gave them an opportunity on a penalty kick and they took advantage of it.”

One more shot on goal by Kelley in the 82nd minute turned out to be the Dons’ last attempt to tie it up before time ran out. McIntosh was able to get in front of the shot, securing the win for the Broncos.

“It was a game that we definitely deserved to win but in the big picture it comes down to a couple of mental mistakes here and there,” Visser said. “I give Santa Clara a lot of credit coming here. They did what they had to do to win.”The Dons will face Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash. on Nov. 15 at 2 p.m. They will finish out their season in Portland, Ore. against the University of Portland Pilots on Nov. 17 at 12 p.m. in the WCC Game of the Week.