The NCAA's rule changes this past offseason were meant to help boost offensive performance. Out west, the changes have proven to be effective. Especially so in the offensively minded West Coast Conference. By the end of regulation of tonight's game between San Francisco and Portland, both teams were scoring 1.302 points per possession. Louisville, the national leader in points per possession, is scoring 1.21/possession.
For a game that featured 21 ties and 21 lead changes, overtime is the only proper conclusion. So, of course, that's what happened tonight in Portland.
It was a game of runs and responses.
Neither team managed to pull out to a two possession lead for nearly ten minutes. San Francisco was the first to do so, with 10:20 to play, when it held a 17-12 advantage. The Dons kept the lead for the next six minutes before the Pilots mounted a late half run.
Portland closed out the half with an eight point lead, the largest of the game for either team. Then, San Francisco went on a 9-0 run to start the second period and took a one point lead. From that point, three minutes into the second, it was a one possession game for the remainder of regulation.
A flurry of threes capped of the second half.
Kevin Bailey drained a three to give Portland a 69-66 lead with nine seconds remaining. The Dons dribbled the clock down to 3.3 seconds before calling timeout. After the inbounds Chris Adams hit SportsCenter Top Ten worthy shot. An off-balance runner with his defender draped over him tied the game up at 69 with 0.2 seconds remaining.
Free basketball was not kind to the Portland fans.
The Pilots held the lead only once in overtime, and it was just two points.
The Pilots called timeout with 26 seconds remaining after a Bobby Sharp three pointer made it a one possession game. On the ensuing inbounds play, Gavin Hoffmann pretended to be a quarterback. Mark Tollefsen was streaking into the frontcourt, caught Hoffmann's pass and slammed it home.
And one, dagger. Dons win in Portland for the second straight year. They've now won five straight WCC road games, dating back to last season. Next up, a trip to #24 Gonzaga.
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