Game #9-460: Portland Pilots at San Francisco DonsFebruary 14, 2013 10:00 pm
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men/ Gang aft a-gley, [often go awry] - To a Mouse, Robert Burns
Sometimes you have to change your needs and trust in someone else. Over the last few months, I've been in a transitional period during which I truly learned the personal impact of inaction and inertia. Through trust and teamwork I've come to a new personal understanding.
Life got in the way and I knew I had to touch base with my alma mater. My last chance came on Valentine's Day. Portland has struggled over the last few seasons as Coach Reveno's plans were altered by the departures of point guard Tim Douglas and forward Dorian Cason. Grumblings for a leadership change have developed and gotten louder as the team has underperformed to expectations.
Portland came into the game 2-9 in conference play, the only wins coming against LMU. Last time the Pilots played the Dons, USF defeated Portland on a buzzer beater
. This game was possibly the last win on the schedule for Portland.
When I left I the ETA on my GPS stated 1830. As the trip progressed I felt I would be settled before tipoff. Then came the Bay Bridge. As I waited to pay my toll, the ETA crept closer toward 1900. I'd never missed a tip off while writing for this site and I was determined to not let it happen again. However, traffic cares not about the matters of the heart. Once I finally got onto the bridge the ETA was 1905. City parking being scarce especially on a romantic night added to my tardiness.
I finally got settled with 7:25 remaining in the first half and Portland possessed a 28-24 lead. Unlike the game in Moraga, Portland had an energy in possessions and trust in their teammates. Shots were falling in due to lucky bounces, alley oops and cherry picks on open Don possessions.
Both teams are young so turnovers were a bumper crop through the second half. Cole Dickerson and Cody Doolin were left open on the perimeter enough for USF to hit superhoops and keep the deficit from exceeding six.
Over the last three minutes, freshman Bryce Pressley took control of the game. While helping the team with crisp passes and layups, he also hindered the attempts to bolster the lead. He fell for Avery Holmes' fake. After his free throws cut the lead to three, USF's De'End Parker knocked the ball free from Pressley. Ryan Nicholas was called for his third foul and Holmes had a chance to cut the lead to one. To the benefit of the visitors and frustration of the home faithful, Holmes missed the second free throw to keep the lead at two.
A missed Riley jumper meant USF could tie the game. Those hopes seemed dashed after Thomas Van der Mars blocked Parker's shot. Parker corralled the ball and tied the game with a layup. After Van de Mars put Portland up with a pair of free throws, they took their penultimate timeout, leaving each team with one for the remaining 1:42.
Another Pressley-Van de Mars alley-oop put Portland up four. A Doolin Layup cut the lead back to two. Another Pressley-Van de Mars connection put the lead back to four with 14 seconds left.
Cole Dickerson, the hero of the previous match-up lofted a three but the ball did not cooperate. Before De'End Parker could let Dickerson try again, Pressley fouled him with 6.3 remaining. Parker made his two free throws to move the deficit back to two. Portland kept the ball away from the Dons long enough to have Pressley walk to the line with 1.4 left. He missed the front end of a 1 and 1 but Derrick Rodgers snagged the rebound to secure the 78-76 victory.
As the home crowd quickly left to console themselves in the night, I sat near the post game show to figure out if I missed anything from the opening 12 minutes. During one of the breaks a 6'10" redhead wandered into the War Memorial Floor looking for someone. To my surprise, he ran toward me. Riley Barker a red-shirt sophomore had been my source for a ticket and wanted to thank me for coming.
Normally when you talk with players after a game you end up with generalities as they have to rush off for the bus. This time, maybe due to the balm of a win soothing the wounds of the last time
I saw them, people are willing to wait a little longer.. We caught up on his classes and his relationship given the date. After letting him depart for the bus, I headed for the lobby to touch base with an alumnus, Ethan Neidermayer who was attending USF's law school.
Portland went on to only win one game the rest of the season: at home vs. San Diego
. The Pilots' road ended in Vegas to LMU, providing another example of the struggle to beat a team three times in a season.
USF lost their next game to Gonzaga but won their last three conference games. Their season likely ended with an overtime loss to LMU. A ghost bracket committee might notice their fifth place performance and wins over Montana and BYU in Provo despite replacing seven players and give them a second chance to end their season with a win.
We know all too well how this game treats individuals. Not every night ends in a loss. Sometimes you have to work for victories and sometimes you have to toss aside your concerns and just trust someone else to make the right decisions.
"Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get, but if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen." -Conan O'Brien
PORTLAND 78, at SAN FRANCISCO 76
PORTLAND 10-17 (3-9) -- D. Rodgers 1-5 2-4 4; K. Bailey 6-13 4-4 18; B. Pressley 2-6 0-1 4; R. Nicholas 7-13 0-0 15; T. van der Mars 5-8 4-5 14; T. Riley 5-8 0-0 11; R. Barker 4-7 0-0 8; J. Ehlers 2-3 0-0 4; O. Reinfelds 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 32-64 10-14 78.
SAN FRANCISCO 11-14 (4-8) -- C. Dickerson 6-15 3-5 17; C. Adams 6-7 1-2 17; C. Doolin 5-12 0-0 11; D. Parker 5-13 4-4 14; A. Holmes 3-6 4-4 12; M. Christiansen 0-0 0-0 0; T. Derksen 0-3 1-2 1; F. Rogers 0-3 2-2 2; T. Xu 0-2 0-0 0; M. Tollefsen 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 26-63 15-19 76.
Three-point goals: PORT 4-14 (T. Riley 1-3; D. Rodgers 0-2; R. Nicholas 1-5; K. Bailey 2-2; T. van der Mars 0-1; O. Reinfelds 0-1), SF 9-22 (C. Dickerson 2-8; C. Doolin 1-3; C. Adams 4-5; D. Parker 0-1; T. Derksen 0-1; A. Holmes 2-4); Rebounds: PORT 36 (T. van der Mars 9), SF 28 (F. Rogers 7); Assists: PORT 15 (D. Rodgers 8), SF 9 (C. Doolin 6); Total Fouls -- PORT 15, SF 15; Fouled Out: PORT-None; SF-None.