Dons Go 3-0 in conference3 min read

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Ernie Chang

Sophomore post Jack Pasquini (34) goes for a two-handed layup while avoiding the block attempt from Hartnell defender Darius Wright (1).

Rajvir Kaur

The De Anza College men’s basketball team improved to 3-0 in the NorCal conference after beating the Hartnell College Panthers 89-82 on Friday Jan. 17.

The Dons got the first possession of the game, with freshman guard Dj Rodriguez scoring the first two points for the home team.

The Dons pulled to an early lead, but the Panthers stayed close behind. Panthers’ guard Kenan Masic hit a 3-pointer and narrowed the Dons’ lead 11-10.

With a lack of rebounding by the Dons and another bucket by Hartnell’s Kyle Vasher, Hartnell took the lead 12-11 with 12:24 remaining in the first half.

The Dons shot back. Rodriguez and freshman wingKenny Robinson made a bucket each and marked the score 15-12.

Vasher made a 3-pointer and tied the score. And the lead continued to go back and forth between the two teams.

After Vasher tied the score 24-24, the Panthers scored seven straight points until Dons’ freshman guard Kyle Conner made a bucket. The Dons trailed the Panthers 31-26.

Going into the last minute of the first half, the Panthers had a 10-point lead, 38-28.

The Dons were the last to score after Vasher was called for a foul for attempting to trip Conner and a double foul was called on sophomore post Alex Bull.

Going into halftime, the Panthers led 41-32.

Coming back in the second half, Dons’ post Jack Pasquini shot the first bucket.

Gaining back momentum, the Dons stepped up their game. Conner got an assist from Viera to put up two points and Rodriguez followed with a 3-pointer.

After a bucket from Hartnell, Rodriguez shot another 3-pointer, hitting nothing but net and tying the score 47-47, with 13:57 left in the half.

The Panthers stayed ahead, with the Dons always close on their heels. With 4:40 left in the game, the Dons were behind 72-71 and had possession of the ball.

Rodriquez shot and missed, but Dons’ sophomore wing Shaquille Gilbert rebounded the ball and drew a foul after a shot attempt.

Gilbert made both free throws and gave the Dons their first lead in the second half. With 4:30 left on the clock, the Dons were up 73-72.

The Panthers made a basket, but Gilbert scored two points and Pasquini scored six, pulling the Dons ahead 81-74.

At the two-minute mark, the scoreboard read 83-76. Vasher hit a 3-pointer, but his teammate, forward Jacob Juras, fouled Gilbert, who made two free throws.

Counting down the last minute, Pasquini made a lay-up after a pass from Viera. With 33 seconds left on the clock, the Dons led 87-79.

Panthers’ forward Khylund Butler made a 3-pointer, but Vasher fouled Rodriguez, who made both free throws with 13.3 left in the game.

The Panthers were the last to have their hands on the ball, but it wasn’t enough. The Dons won the game 89-82, giving them a record of 3-0 in conference play.

“We showed maturity tonight,” said Jason Damjanovic, head coach of men’s basketball.

Damjanovic said he was proud of his players tonight and the bench did a good job of stepping up.

After losing three players to injury in the last few weeks, he said the starting players played well.

Pasquini ended the night leading with 25 points and 11 rebounds. Conner scored a total of 17 points, Rodriguez added 15, Viera ended with 13, and Gilbert had 10 points. Tallying up the score, Bull and freshman guard Devon Ware scored the remaining points.

The Dons’ next home game is Wednesday, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. against San Jose City College.

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