The University of San Diego men’s basketball team made history Tuesday night when it defeated Colorado, 69-59. It was the first time the Toreros had started the season at 8-2 since making the jump to Division I in 1979.
“It feels really good,” USD coach Lamont Smith, who is in his third year, said. “I’m proud of these guys who have been in our program, who believed in us, our system and each other. And looking in their eyes and knowing they’re not satisfied is really refreshing.”
The Toreros defense was the key to the team’s success Tuesday night at the Coors Events Center in Boulder, Colorado. San Diego held Colorado (7-3) to 1-of-11 in the first 4:20 minutes of the game. The Toreros also held the Buffaloes scoreless for four minutes midway through the half for a 17-13 lead.
San Diego then hit its own dry spell for six minutes but bounced back with a 7-0 run to take a 29-21 lead into the half. USD then picked off where it left off in the second half, going for a 13-5 run to extend its lead to 42-26.
“We knew Colorado was going to come out punching in the second half and the question was could we withstand that and punch back?” Smith said. “It’s a testament of our growth of a team to continue to punch back and remain poised and make plays down the stretch.”
The Toreros came through in the final two minutes of play, hitting 11-of-12 free throws, halting the Buffaloes’ rally. Colorado had cut the lead to with five after going 15-7 with 7:10 left in the game.
Most everyone on the bench contributed to the win with Isaiah Wright leading the team with 20 points. Four Toreros scored in the double digits, including Tyler Williams, who tied his season-high 13 points. Both Isaiah Pineiro and Olin Carter III added 10 points each.
Sophomore forward Juwan Gray also contributed with a season-high eight points.
“I thought Juwan Gray was outstanding,” Smith said. “He played his best collegiate game tonight and was active all over the floor.”
The USD next faces North Texas at home at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.