Cody Doolin scored a career-high 33 points for the USF Dons at War Memorial Gymnasium Friday night, but also had the ball stolen from him before he could get off a shot in the closing seconds of a 92-90 loss to Nevada.
The Dons (2-1) led by as many as 11 points early in the second half of a high-tempo matchup, but the Wolf Pack (2-1) scratched back into the game, eventually leading by as many as seven points with 3:16 remaining.
Then it was USF’s turn to claw back into it. A layup by Doolin with 57 seconds left got the Dons back to within one possession at 90-87 and after a Nevada turnover, Doolin was fouled and converted a pair of free throws with 42 ticks remaining to cut the Wolf Pack lead to 90-89.
Michael Perez made a pair of free throws for Nevada with 29 seconds left. Then things got wild down the stretch.
D.J. Fenner blocked a jumper by Doolin, but USF recovered the loose ball, then Fenner fouled Avry Holmes after a timeout. Holmes hit one of two with 14 seconds left and after a Nevada timeout, Kruize Pinkins fouled Fenner with nine ticks remaining.
Fenner missed both free throws, giving the Dons a chance. But Jerry Evans Jr. stripped the ball away from Doolin in the lane with four seconds to go to end it.
It was the epitome of a back-and-forth game—the lead changed hands seven times and was tied on 11 occasions.
Doolin’s 33 points exceeded his previous career-best of 28 points, set in a loss to Saint Mary’s in the 2012 West Coast Conference tournament final. Matt Glover had 10 points in just 19 minutes, limited by foul trouble, and Mark Tollefson also scored 10. Cole Dickerson led the Dons with eight rebounds.
Deonte Burton scored 31 points for Nevada, while Cole Huff and Perez each scored 15. Evans finished with 11 points in 22 minutes off the bench.
The Dons return to action Monday night at War Memorial Gym when they host Idaho State (1-1) for a 7 p.m. tipoff.