Late run dooms ‘Jacks men's basketball on west coast

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Antonio Bostic had 22 points and Darius Gardner added 16 points and six assists, but the Lumberjacks could not withstand a late run from the University of San Diego and dropped a 66-61 decision on Monday night at Jenny Craig Pavilion.

SFA (1-1) led by seven points after erasing a 38-29 halftime deficit with a quick 11-2 run to open the second half and a 10-2 run midway through the half to take the lead, but the Toreros (1-0) outscored SFA 11-0 in less than a three-minute span to take the lead and pick up the win in their season opener.

San Diego made the most of its reserves, outscoring SFA's bench 32-7 on the night and held preseason all-Southland center Jereal Scott to just five points on 2-of-7 shooting. Still, the SFA backcourt kept the 'Jacks in the game all night as Bostic and Gardner combined for 18 points in each half. Desmond Haymon added nine points, but no 'Jack other than Scott was able to manage more than five points for the evening.

SFA hit 48.9 percent of its shots from the floor, but was just 11-for-21 at the foul line, while USD hit 14 of 20 from the charity stripe, including 5 of 7 in the final five minutes of the game. The Toreros were led by true freshman guard Johnny Dee, who had 22 points in his collegiate debut that included hitting 3 of 7 from behind the 3-point arc.

The 'Jacks started off well, leading by as much as six points midway through the first half behind a pair of 3-point buckets from Gardner and six early points from Desmond Haymon, but went more than 10 minutes without a made field goal from the 11:37 mark of the half until a triple from Bostic in the right corner at the 1:08 point of the half.

In the meantime, the Toreros outscored the 'Jacks 23-6 to turn the six-point deficit into as much as an 11-point lead when freshman guard Chris Anderson found big man Chris Manresa all alone for a two-handed dunk that gave USD a 22-21 lead with 8:34 left in the half.

San Diego's bench outscored SFA's extras 22-2 in the half and kept SFA from getting a point in the paint. Still, SFA got six free throws and three three-point buckets in the opening 20 minutes, and used a late 5-0 spurt to get back to within single digits at the break.

Bostic then got the 'Jacks going in the second half, scoring six of SFA's first eight points of the period as SFA needed just 5:02 of game time to erase the deficit and knot the game at 40-40. But it took nearly another six minutes for SFA to finally retake the lead when Bostic nailed a jumper with 9:36 remaining in the game in the midst of a 10-2 Lumberjack run. Unfortunately, the Toreros had plenty of gas left in the tank and got points from three different players in their 11-0 run, retaking the lead on a pair of free throws from Dee .

The 'Jacks will stay on the road this weekend when they travel to Lubbock to take on Texas Tech on Sunday at 2:00 p.m.


Ben Rikard