Dons Bring Balance

With finals week behind them, the Golden Eagles will host the University of San Francisco Dons at the Bradley Center on Saturday at noon. The game will begin a stretch of six straight at home for Marquette, culminating with dates against Connecticut and Cincinnati in early January.

With finals week behind them, the Golden Eagles will host the University of San Francisco Dons at the Bradley Center on Saturday at noon. The game will begin a stretch of six straight at home for Marquette, culminating with dates against Connecticut and Cincinnati in early January. San Francisco begins a six game road trip.

For the Dons, it's all about strength in the starting lineup. They feature a backcourt in Armondo Surratt and Domannic Ingerson that averages 16 and 13 points respectively. The Dons come in averaging 73 points a game, with 65 of those points coming from the starting lineup. Experience is also an asset for San Francisco, who finished 17-14 last season with an NIT win, as they start four seniors and a junior. Even though the Dons are 4-5, they have played an impressive schedule with losses to Stanford, Wichita State and Pacific, and a win against Texas Tech.

"They beat Texas Tech by 18," an impressed Coach Tom Crean said. "Everything we tell our team begins with that. That right there should get their attention in a hurry; it is really to beat a Bobby Knight team by numbers like that."

Crean also noted that the Dons biggest strength could be their versatility. He said that San Francisco's best passer could be their 6-9 senior center Jason Wallace-Carter, who is second on the team with 23 assists.

"It will be a really tough test for us because so many guys can score points," added Crean. "They are coming off a tournament win and I think they will play with a lot of confidence."

"Obviously we are a little disappointed with the won-loss record, but we can definitely see improvement in this team," said Dons Head Coach Jessie Evans. "The players are settling into their roles. I like the balance that we have in scoring with all five starters scoring over nine points per game.

This road trip should be a very tough challenge for San Francisco. After Marquette, they travel to Arizona State(tournament), Fresno State, Pepperdine, and Loyola Marymount. In their last game, the Dons stunned Cal State Fullerton in the USF Invitational. San Francisco rallied from 19 points down with seven minutes to go to defeat CSF in overtime, 93-91. Tournament MVP Dominnic Ingerson was six of seven from beyond the arc during the second half comeback.

"The team is definitely making progress," remarked USF coach Jessie Evans. "We don't have any problem playing on the road; I just wish it wasn't for six straight games. But that's the schedule and we are ready to play it."

Marquette leads the all-time series with San Francisco, 2-1. The last game was a 79-72 road victory for Mike Deane's 1994 Marquette squad that finished as NIT Runners-Up. San Francisco boasts a very proud and storied program. Besides being the Alma Matter of former NBA great Bill Russel, they also hold the second longest NCAA winning steak of all time at 60 games. This is the 50th anniversary of USF's storied winning streak.

Saturday's bout with Frisco will be the first of three games in six days for Marquette. The Golden Eagles square off against a scrappy Oakland team on Monday followed by Delaware State on December 22.

Eric Titze of Marquettehoops.com contributed to this report.


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