USF pulls away late in Malibu

Malibu continued to be paradise for the San Francisco Dons, who used a 9-2 run in the second half to take a lead they would never relinquish and later use a 14-2 run pull away for an 80-67 victory over the homestanding Pepperdine Waves to improve to 2-2 in West Coast Conference play, the sixth straight year the Dons have won at Pepperdine.

Jordan Ratinho led USF with 20 points to match his career-high as the San Francisco bench outscored Pepperdine’s 42-4 on the day.

Ratinho’s short jumper to put the visiting Dons up 42-41 gave his team the lead for good, as his 3-pointer on the next possession stretched the advantage to four. Matt McCarthy found Ratinho underneath after a Pepperdine basket on the following possession, and a steal shortly thereafter led to a Nate Renfro dunk to make it 49-43.

Renfro scored 16 off the bench on 6-of-9 shooting. While the junior co-captain wasn’t in the starting lineup on Saturday afternoon, he still played 32 minutes and excelled in all facets of the game, including a 3-for-5 performance on 3-pointers.

San Francisco (10-7, 2-2) committed just seven turnovers while forcing 14, with Ratinho finishing the day with four steals.

As for the USF starters, Matt McCarthy led the way with 16, including four during the game-sealing 14-2 run. He also tied Frankie Ferrari for the team lead with five assists.

With a 61-56 lead, Ferrari found McCarthy inside and found an open Renfro on the next possession to put the Dons up by nine. After a Pepperdine offensive foul, McCarthy gave the Dons what was then their largest lead of the day at 67-56, a lead that was compounded on Renfro’s 3-pointer on the following possession, which came off yet another Ferrari assist. Ferrari finished the day with eight points.

Pepperdine (3-13, 0-4) was led by freshman Colbey Ross’ 23 points. Eric Cooper Jr. scored 16 and Darnell Dunn added 12 for the injury-riddled Waves.

San Francisco will return to Southern California on Thursday for a trip to Loyola Marymount before hosting Gonzaga next Saturday.

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