The University of San Diego overcame a four-point halftime deficit Thursday by shooting 63.6% in the second half and defeated Southern Utah State, 102-91, in front of 3,017 at The Centrum.
Senior forward Anthony Thomas scored a career-high 23 points as the Toreros (2-0) rallied back by making 21 of 33 shots, including seven of eight three-point attempts, in the final 20 minutes. The victory marks the sixth time in six meetings that USD has defeated the Thunderbirds (1-2), including a 100-91 comeback victory a year ago.
“We got down early and the kids kept battling,” Torero Coach Hank Egan said. “I really liked their tenacity. They got after it.”
USD trailed 16-2 early in the first half after taking a 2-0 lead, but came back to tie the game, 39-39, shortly before halftime. But Toreros opened the second half with a 17-5 run and took a 56-52 lead at the 14:58 mark. Kelvin Woods, who finished with 16 points, had five in the run.
But the game went back and forth until 6:34 left when Woods hit another basket inside and Michael Brown hit a three-pointer for his only points of the game. The Toreros led, 78-77, and never trailed after that.
“It was another heck of a ballgame just like the other night,” Egan said, referring to USD’s 75-74 victory Tuesday over San Diego State. “We knew we were in a battle up here and our kids just didn’t give up. Geoff Probst gave us a big boost off the bench tonight, and our three-pointers in the second half opened things up a bit for us.”
Probst finished with nine points, all from three-point range. Pat Holbert finished with 21, and Dondi Bell added 13. Southern Utah center Richard Barton scored 30.