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Souley Boum steps up as USF wins CBI opener

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Souley Boum scored a game-high 26 points off the bench for USF on Wednesday in the first round of the CBI. (Courtesy Christina Leung/USF Athletics)

WAR MEMORIAL GYM — Postseason college basketball is typically dominated by seniors fighting to keep their careers alive, but on Wednesday night, it was a freshman who stole the show.

Souley Boum matched his career high with 26 points as the University of San Francisco overcame a slow start and held on despite a shaky finish for a 72-68 win over Colgate in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational. It was the Dons’ first win in a postseason tournament since 2011.

The freshman from Oakland scored 14 of his team’s 24 points in the first half and had five huge points in the second half after Colgate (19-14) trimmed the lead to one. He also hit two free throws in the final minute, which proved to be crucial as the Raiders cut a 10-point lead down to one in a 56-second span.

“I just try to play my game whenever I’m out there,” said Boum. “Just be aggressive, score and get stops.”

San Francisco (19-15) enjoyed a rare size advantage and made the most of it, outrebounding the visitors 49-34. Matt McCarthy had 16 points and 14 rebounds for a double-double.

“Matt really delivered for us,” said head coach Kyle Smith.

The Dons needed every one of those rebounds and their 36 points in the paint to offset a cold shooting performance. They went just 5-of-23 from 3-point range and were held scoreless for the first 6:14 of the game.

Colgate got 20 points from Jordan Burns, 12 from Will Rayman and 16 from Jordan Swopshire, who scored exclusively in the second half. USF led 65-55 with 1:23 left, but a banked-in three by Rayman, a three by Swopshire and two free throws by Burns cut it to 69-68 before Jordan Ratinho closed out the game for the Dons at the line.

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