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University of San Francisco Dons take on Nationally Ranked Gonzaga

Written by on January 12, 2019

Tonight, 1/12, the University of San Francisco’s Men’s basketball team is taking on one of the best teams in the country, the Gonzaga Bulldogs, at War Memorial Gym on Golden Gate Avenue. Before the game is broadcast live on ESPN 2, check out a brief preview of the game below. Want to root for the USF Dons, but don’t know what a “Don” is? Scroll to the bottom of this article to learn what a Don is!


Mid-Major Matchup of the Night: Gonzaga @ USF

This Saturday night the University of San Francisco Dons (14-2) are taking on the nationally ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs (15-2) in an instant classic at War Memorial Gym in San Francisco. Both teams are the only two undefeated teams in the conference, so it’s a battle for first place in the WCC, which will be broadcast on ESPN 2.


Gonzaga Notes:

Gonzaga’s last game was a win at the University of the Pacific (UOP), where Guard Josh Perkins had 14 points and six assists. The win marked the 6th straight win for the Bulldogs but also marked their fewest points scored in a game this year (67). To the Bulldogs credit, it was a fairly low scoring game all around, as Pacific’s 36 points were also a season-low and included a large number of turnovers (22), to go along with their abysmal 26.7 percent shooting from the field. Besides Perkins, other notable Gonzaga players included Zach Norvell Jr., who scored 11 points in the Pacific game. Rui Hachimura and Brandon Clarke each added 10 points, and Clarke had five blocks.


Quick Notes:

  • Gonzaga has beaten the Pacific Tigers 13 consecutive times.
  • Gonzaga held Pacific under 20 points at halftime and below 40 for the game.  (This was the third time in the past five games that the Zags have held their opponent below 20 points in the first half.)
  • Killian Tillie and Rui Hachimura, both strong NBA prospects, are the teams best players.Both players are international (Tillie – France, Hachimura – Japan)
  • The Bulldogs went 32-5 in 2018, 17-1 in the WCC – but their season ended with a Sweet 16 loss to Florida
  • The Head coach is Mark Few
  • Gonzaga is coming off its 6th consecutive WCC win.


USF Notes:

The Dons last game was at Pepperdine in Malibu, last Saturday. The Dons were favored by 6, but it was a nailbiter to the very end. In a game that featured a ton of lead changes and amazing plays, it took a Frankie Ferrari’s three-point attempt with 15 seconds left to give the Dons the lead for good, ultimately pulling away with a 72-69 win. The Waves, entering last Saturday, were 8-2 at home this season. The key factor that shifted the tide in favor of the Dons was the second half scoring. The Dons caught the Waves off guard with an 11-2 run to open to the second half. Notable performers from the Dons side included Jimbo Lull, who tied his career high with 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting.


Quick Notes

  • The Dons were 6-1 in their last seven games, falling to UCSB while otherwise taking out Cal, Eastern Washington, Northern Arizona, Stanford and Saint Mary’s.
  • Pepperdine was sitting at 8-7 on the year. After a three-game losing streak to Southern Utah, Oregon State, and Long Beach State, the Waves had taken out Alabama A&M and LMU in their last pair.
  • Ferrari was just 2-for-11 from the field before nailing the pull-up, contested three-pointer with 14.2 seconds left.
  • With the win, USF (14-2, 2-0 WCC) improves to 2-0 in the West Coast Conference for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
  • After being out-rebounded 41-32, the Dons improve to 3-1 this season when being out-rebounded by their opponent.



  • Betting:O/U: 150
    • USF +8.5
  • The Dons, being well rested and coming off a well-fought win, have everything in line for the upset. USF’s senior leadership (Guard Frankie Ferrari, Forward Nate Renfro) will be key, as a game this important hasn’t been played in War Memorial Gym for a long time. If Center Jimbo Lull of the Don’s can recreate the performances he had against Saint Mary’s and Pepperdine, the Dons have a legitimate chance to knock off #5 Gonzaga. The Bulldogs are coming off a low scoring victory at Pacific, but they’ll be facing an uphill battle in front of a sold-out crowd. The Bulldogs defense has been much improved since giving up 1.23 points per possession to North Carolina on December 15 and look for them to potentially lock down 3 point shooter Jordan Ratino and limit his ability to create open shots.
  • Matchup to watch: Charles Minlend vs Rui Hachimura
  • Quick Hits:Gonzaga is 8-9 (47.1%) when O/U Line is >145
    • The Dons are 4-0 (100%) vs Teams Allowing 67 to 72 PPG
    • USF is 4-3 (57.1%) After 4+ Days Off


What is a “Don” anyway?

  • Once used as a fancy way to address Spanish nobles, the usage of the Don title evolved to mean a distinguished gentleman.
  • Until November 1931, the athletic programs at USF were referred to as the “Grey Fog,” a logical tribute to the cool blanket that swaddles our city. The San Francisco Junior Chamber of Commerce, however, felt that the name encouraged a chilly reputation and could hurt the city’s advertising. So the student newspaper, The San Francisco Foghorn, held a contest, challenging students and alumni to propose a new name. Thus, Don Francisco was born.
  • In his signature mask and cape, Don Francisco – whose name is a subtle nod to Don Francisco de Haro, the city’s first mayor – represents a highly stylized version of the old-school Spanish look.