USF basketball set for test in finale with St. Mary's 

click to enlarge USF will have to face St. Mary’s, first place in the West Coast Conference, in its last regular-season game before the WCC tournament. - JASON O. WATSON/US PRESSWIRE
  • Jason O. Watson/US PRESSWIRE
  • USF will have to face St. Mary’s, first place in the West Coast Conference, in its last regular-season game before the WCC tournament.

It’s been an up-and-down season for the USF men’s basketball team, and Saturday offers one last regular-season test at home against first-place St. Mary’s.

After starting the season with a 9-4 preseason record, the West Coast Conference schedule was tougher, as the Dons are 8-7 in the conference, and hope to keep their record above .500 with a win this weekend at War Memorial Gymnasium.

Last Saturday’s win over Gonzaga, which knocked the Bulldogs out of the Top 25, has provided a boost to their confidence headed in to the regular season’s final game, however.

“[St. Mary’s is] on top of our conference right now, and they’re a really good team,” said sophomore guard Cody Doolin, who had six assists and five steals to go with his eight points against Gonzaga.

“If we can go out there and beat them, that would be a great gauge on where we are right now. We’re playing our best basketball of the season right now, which is really important.”

One could argue the Dons have been playing well all year, with several of their conference losses coming down to the final possession. They lost two games to Loyola Marymount by a total of three points, and lost to BYU at home by one point.

Coach Rex Walters said the game will carry extra significance for his three seniors, Rashad Green, Jay Wey and Angelo Caloiaro.

“What they’ve accomplished and shown in four years has been really good,” he said. “They’ve taken our program to a higher level from when they first got here. They’ve definitely made this place a better place, a better program in their time here.”

Following the game Saturday, the Dons will travel to Las Vegas for the WCC tournament, where a run to the conference title would guarantee them a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

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