Despite giving up a career-high 41 points to Roberto Gallinat of the Pacific Tigers on Thursday, the San Francisco Dons left Stockton with an 84-74 road win behind five double-digit scorers and 13 assists from Frankie Ferrari.
Ferrari scored a team-high 15, but what put San Francisco (17-13, 9-8 WCC) over the edge was the scoring of two huge contributors from the bench. The USF reserves outscored Pacific’s 28-0, with 12 coming from seven-footer Jimbo Lull and 11 by Finnish sophomore Remu Raitanen.
“I thought different people made key plays in different moments,” said Ferrari. “I think our passing got us some open shots and we were able to knock them down late in the game.”
Raitanen was huge in the 17-5 run that gave the Dons a 68-59 advantage, hitting a go-ahead 3-pointer with 10:18 left and then converting three free throws after being fouled behind the arc. Lull, who scored 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting, finished the run with a layup off a Ferrari assist.
“Huge,” Ferrari said of his center. “He’s gotten so much better this year. And lately his confidence is sky high.”
As tremendous as Gallinat was, the balanced San Francisco attack limited the effects of his huge night. Three starters were among the Dons in double-figures, and the two that weren’t still made their presence felt. Nate Renfro had nine points and Matt McCarthy had eight, along with a team-high seven rebounds as USF held a 39-28 advantage on the boards, including 11-5 on the offensive glass.
Gallinat kept Pacific in the game early, scoring 15 in the first half to keep his team within striking distance after facing an early 13-4 deficit. The junior from Atlanta absolutely exploded in the second half to put the Tigers in front. His 4-point play with 14:18 remaining gave the Tigers their first lead at 43-42, and he hit back-to-back threes to give Pacific a 54-51 lead with 11:21 remaining.
It turned out that the second time the Tigers led on the night would be the last, with Raitanen and Lull hitting huge baskets to give the Dons separation. Ferrari hit a three in the middle of that run to put USF up by seven and made another from downtown with 3:43 left to give the visitors a 76-68 lead.
Jahlil Tripp was the only other player to make a major impact for Pacific. The sophomore had 16 points and 10 rebounds and finished two assists shy of a triple-double.
The teams are now tied for fourth place in the WCC, with USF holding the tiebreaker by sweeping the season series. The fourth- through seventh-place teams are separated by just one game, with sixth-place San Diego traveling to San Francisco Saturday night. It’ll be Senior Night at USF, where the Dons will celebrate Chase Foster, who scored 11 of his 13 in the first half on Thursday.
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