Toreros hold on to defeat Portland 61-59


Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

San Diego, CA- The University of San Diego Toreros held on to defeat the Portland Pilots at home 61-59. The Toreros improve to (15-14) on the season and (6-10) in West Coast Conference play. While the Portland Pilots fell to (15-12) on the season and
(7-8) in West Coast Conference play.

The Toreros started the game slow on offense, as they trailed the Pilots 20-10 mid-way through the first half. The Toreros would catch fire on offense, going on a 14-3 run to take their first lead of the game at 24-23 with 5:57 left to go in the half. The Toreros would hold on to their lead and lead the Pilots at the half 35-31.

Johnny Dee and Christopher Anderson lead the Toreros on offense in the first half with 8 points apiece

In the second half, the Toreros would maintain their lead through the first 15 minutes of the half. Until Portland would regain the lead 52-51 with 5 minutes left in the half and extended it to 56-52 with 2:33 left in the game.

Then Sanadze and Dee would lead the Toreros on a 8-0 run in the games final minutes to retake the lead 60-56, as the Toreros would hold on to defeat Portland 61-59.

Johnny Dee and Duda Sanadze led the Toreros on offense with 15 points each. The Toreros bench played a huge role in the game as they outscored Portland’s bench 26-2.

As Coach Grier told, he was proud of how his players hung in there throughout the game and the plays they made down the stretch.

"“It was a hard-fought win,” said head coach Bill Grier. “It definitely wasn’t a thing of beauty in terms of its aesthetic value, but it’s February and there are a lot of games in a lot of leagues just exactly like this. Grinder type of games. Fortunately we made some plays down the stretch. That’s something we haven’t done. We were down four with about two and a half minutes to go and executed back-to-back possessions and got stops down the stretch when we needed them. I’m proud of our guys with sticking with it, especially after the start we got off to defensively. “"

With two games left in the season, before the West Coast Conference tournament, the Toreros remain in 7th place in the conference and trial 6th place Portland and 5th place Pepperdine by two games.

The Toreros return to the court on Sunday to take on first place Gonzaga at home. The game time is set for 9pm on ESPNU.