All season long San Francisco has had the productive offense, San Diego the strong defense. That was clear from the beginning of this game.
The two teams traded early buckets before San Francisco managed to take a two possession lead. Mark Tollefsen, Avry Holmes, Cole Dickerson and Chris Adams each hit a three in the first eight minutes. Those four threes were five of the Dons' first buckets.
It was a slow start overall, but the Dons held the lead by being decent on offense while the Toreros were awful.
San Diego just couldn't hold onto the ball. Between fouls, travels and bad passes, the Toreros racked up eight first half turnovers.
When it came to shooting the ball, San Diego was actually doing pretty well. By the under-four media timeout, on possessions that didn't end in a turnover, the Toreros were scoring at a not awful rate of 0.938 points per possession. However, a solid third of their possessions to that point ended in a turnover.
San Diego's defense opened the second half with a plan, stop the three. They did. It took until 4:59 remaining for the Dons to hit a three in the second half. In addition, the Dons' bigs got into some foul trouble. Cole Dickerson, Mark Tollefsen and Kruize Pinkins had three fouls each by the ten minute mark.
Defensive energy carried over onto the offensive end. An extended run from 15:16 to 8:36 saw the Toreros outscore the Dons 21-8. While the Dons were unable to get a shot from deep, the Toreros were red hot. Johnny Dee hit three threes during the run. Christopher Anderson and Duda Sanadze each chipped in one as well.
Tim Derksen did not enjoy this, so he took over.
The Dons weren't able to get much done from the field, but they were able to deliver a series of blows to the Toreros. Derksen began driving to the hoop at every possible chance. He didn't get any easy buckets, but he got a couple of lay-ups and drew some fouls.
"That's kinda what I do best, just bring a lot of energy to the floor," Derksen said after the game.
His energy rubbed off on the rest of his team. A 7-0 run became a 10-1 run that saw the Dons stretch the lead from one to eleven points.
With his teammates scoring, Derksen started focusing on defense. With 3:54 remaining and a nine point lead, Derksen blocked a Johnny Dee three and took the ball all the way to the rack in a play that was the cherry atop an impressive, game long battle between the two players.
The final minutes saw the two teams trade baskets. With a multi-possession deficit, trading baskets wouldn't get it done for the Toreros.
Avry Holmes led the game with 19 points and Tim Derksen chipped in 15. With the win, San Francisco advances to play in the semifinals on Monday against the winner of No. 10 LMU vs. No. 2 BYU.