Pure determination led the San Francisco Dons to a huge win tonight against a tough Cleveland State Vikings team. Even though the Dons were down 10 and had every bad call thrown their way, the Dons persevered to get a much needed win.
The game started out slow as the cross country foes were testing each other out but in typical Splash City fashion, the Dons first made basket was a three pointer by Cole Dickerson. The Dons got off to an 8-0 start after a Mark Tollefson trey. Soon after Cody Doolin got his first bucket of the season off of a beautiful reverse layup early in the first half.
Corey Hilliard had a rough beginning to the game by committing three turnovers and looking lost offensively in his first four minutes of action. Penn State transfer Matt Glover carried the team in the first half by making some key defensive plays and facilitating the ball offensively. Glover’s first half was highlighted by a huge steal that went for a breakaway dunk.
In the second half, Tim Derksen was taking the ball to the rack which set him up for a wide open trey that put the Dons on top 49-47. JUCO transfer Kruize Pinkins started to dominate in the paint in the second half as he was getting to the rack with ease. The Dons looked like they had some momentum in the second half but some questionable officiating took it away immediately.
When all looked lost, Mark Tollefson got up extra high to slam home an alley-oop dunk that put the game within reach. Soon after Tim Derksen hit an open trey followed up by a layup to put the Dons up two. The Dons had a 17-1 run in the 4th quarter to put the game away.
“This was a quality win for us, especially this early in the season. We have really handled our business in scrimmages and in the first game but tonight we were really tested. Tonight was a great test for us because we were down by 10 early in the game but we came together to get the win, so it was a great learning experience for this team,” said head coach Rex Walters after the game.
The Dons once again showed that they have great depth as they had six players score nine or more points. Floor general Cody Doolin finished the game with 11 assists and star forward Cole Dickerson pulled in 12 rebounds. What tonight’s game showed was that the 2013-2014 Dons wont have to rely on Doolin and Dickerson to score the majority of their points as pretty much every player on the team is capable of lighting up the scoreboard.
Stars of the Night
Early in the first half it seemed like Glover was the only Dons player who was on his game. Not only was Glover playing stout defense but he was finding open shooters for assists. In his two games with the Dons, Glover has shown that he his a high energy player with a killer instinct. Even though Glover got into foul trouble he was able to help put away the game late in the second half with some key layups. Glover finished the game with 12 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals.
“You know on different nights different players step up. Tonight it fell on me but when I got in foul trouble my team picked me up and I felt like I couldn’t let them down,” explained Glover after the game.
When Matt Glover was forced out of the game with foul trouble in the second half, Tim Derksen stepped up and filled his shoes. Derksen looked like a Pit bull out on the floor as he drove the ball to the basket with ferocity. When defenders started to give Derksen room to shoot he answered with two trey’s, one of which helped put the Dons in the lead. In 24 minutes, Derksen had 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists.
“Youre talking about two Pit Bulls. Both Tim (Derksen) and Matt (Glover) go after each other at practice every single day. Tim really stepped up for us tonight. It was great to see him answer the bell when jumbo (Glover) went down with foul trouble,” exclaimed Rex Walters.
The game completely changed after Tollefsen nearly jumped out of his shoes to slam down an alley-oop dunk in the second half. Not only did the dunk wake up the Dons faithful but Tollefsen’s teammates seemed to play at a higher level. The Vikings had no answer for Tollefsen’s inside prowess as he finished the game with 18 points.
“We feed off of those things (Alley-oop) no question. Mark is a guy who can make exciting plays and he gets everyone involved. He can do many different things with the ball and credit to Cody Doolin for finding these guys throughout the game,” replied Rex Walters about the game changing dunk by Tollefson.