Though the San Diego Toreros showed glimmers of hope, it was not enough on Wednesday in Eugene as Oregon ultimately wore them down and avoided the upset.
The early West Coast showdown between a perennial Pac-12 favorite and a rising West Coast Conference sensation didn’t disappoint. San Diego came into the game with an 8-2 record and used stingy defense to stay within striking distance until the game’s final minutes. The Toreros ultimately came up short, losing 65-55, largely because of Oregon’s touted newcomer Bol Bol and established veteran Payton Pritchard.
Regardless, here’s what we learned from San Diego’s near-upset:
San Diego can still build a resume
The Toreros came into the matchup with wins over San Diego State and Colorado (another Pac-12 front runner), as well as a close loss to Washington. So we already knew that San Diego is clearly more than capable of hanging with the big dogs. The Toreros even led at halftime against a talented Ducks team. With a rebound win against Washington State and a few tough-earned victories against Loyola Marymount, San Francisco or, ideally, Gonzaga, they could put themselves in position to hear their name called on Selection Sunday.
Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers
San Diego battled defensively, but when playing against versatile big men like Bol Bol and Ehab Amin, the Toreros really showed sloppiness on the offensive end. With a three-headed machine of guards, San Diego should look to figure out who it wants leading the offense. Isaiah Wright ended the game with eight turnovers (as a team, Oregon committed nine), and Olin Carter III went 2-12 from behind the arc. These performances won’t work in further non-conference games or against the best of the WCC.
Interior game has potential
Two bright lights for San Diego came via forwards Alex Floresca and Isaiah Pineiro. Though they only combined for 18 points, the two forwards were the most efficient players on the court for the Toreros and hung with Bol Bol about as well as you can ask of them. With Pineiro going 5-9 from the field and Floresca finishing with eight rebounds and 50 percent shooting, it might be worth using these bigs more if they can stay out of foul trouble.