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What you need to know from USF’s lackluster conference opener

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Jordan Ratinho struggled on Thursday, when the University of San Francisco lost its first game of conference play in San Diego. (Courtesy David Cohen/USF Athletics)
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Souley Boum dropped 21 points but the University of San Francisco began WCC play on a losing note, falling 73-63 to the University of San Diego at Jenny Craig Pavilion on Thursday night.

The loss leaves the Dons — 0-3 away from War Memorial Gym — searching for their first road win and sitting at 8-5 overall. On a night when the Dons were stagnant on offense and ice-cold from beyond the arc, here’s what we learned …

Souley Boum is already the Dons best player. Getting just his second collegiate start, Boum was by far the most dynamic Don. Facing a Torero’s defense that had allowed the fewest points per game among all WCC teams entering the night, the ex-Oakland Tech star went for a game-high 21. That marked the third time Boum has cleared the 20-point plateau in 11 games.

Boum glides confidently around the court, has the team’s best handles and nearly never misses a free throw, knocking down all eight of his attempts. On the season, the freshman is shooting 91 percent (69-for-76) from the line.

With preseason all-conference guard Charles Minlend shelved for the year with a labrum injury, Boum has fast emerged as the Dons’ go-to guy.

Chase Foster finds a way. If Boum is the fastest Don, Foster, the sixth-man extraordinaire, is at the opposite end of the spectrum. What he lacks in athleticism, Foster makes up for in on-court savvy and basketball
IQ.

Second only to Boum in points per game, Foster scored 14 points (5-for-11 from the field) while leading the team in rebounds (7) and assists (2). The latter is mostly an indictment of the USF offense. Overall, the team handed out just seven dimes.

Without Foster’s 14 and 7, the night would have turned ugly quick — especially with Jordan Ratinho struggling. The former De La Salle guard scored a lone bucket in 25 minutes and didn’t attempt a field goal in the second half.

The 3-point line told the tale. As the 145-pound Boum is leading the charge into the WCC schedule, the margin for error is going to remain thin for the young Dons.

That margin was far too large at the 3-point line.

In the first half, USD connected on five of their first nine shots from distance, propelling the hosts to a 37-26 lead at the break. Juxtapose that against the 3-point shooting of the Dons who didn’t hit a triple until the 9:14 mark in the second half.

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