Passing it around
Reggie Kohn and Will McDonald finished their careers at USF the same way they’ve spent the last four years — being quality teammates.
“Two seniors went out the way they so richly deserved to go out,” USF coach Seth Greenberg said. “They’re what’s good about college basketball.”
Two passes leading to easy points for the Bulls capped off the two seniors’ highlight reels during USF’s 72-60 victory against Tulane.
As the clock ticked down to four minutes, eight seconds left in the game, McDonald tossed a pass over his right shoulder to a cutting Yusuf Baker, who finished by throwing the ball through the hoop for a two-handed slam dunk.
The assist to put the Bulls ahead 64-49 was one of several passes to Baker that resulted in easy buckets, most of which were the dunk variety.
“He was the beneficiary of Jimmy Baxter and Will McDonald,” Greenberg said. “He scored 16 points, but he was without a doubt the beneficiary of two guys that gave him the ball two feet from the basket. Those guys were dropping the ball in his hands, and all he had to do was wind it up and drop it down.”
Baker finished with 16 points to share game-high honors with the departing McDonald.
“The points are not the thing,” McDonald said. “The way (Baker) catches the ball is like he has mittens.
“When he grabs the ball, everyone knows he is just going to dunk it.”
McDonald also contributed a game-high 12 rebounds.
Baker’s easy buckets helped lead USF to a 55.4 shooting percentage.
The Bulls were able to find easy baskets by getting good ball movement, leading the Green Wave 24-13 in assists.
Baxter dished out nine assists to go with his 12 points.
“I thought Jimmy Baxter was so unselfish, and we got him going,” Greenberg said. “We isolated him, brought him off of screens (and) just grinded out his game. He was really good.”
Even as Baxter led the passing attack for USF, the biggest pass of the night came from USF’s all-time assist leader, Kohn.
The 6-foot-1 guard known for his passing ability delivered a 30-foot behind-the-back bounce pass to Baxter in the left corner of the court as the clock ran down to 1:15.
“He figured I can’t take him out,” Greenberg said.
Baxter sent the ball to McDonald, who threw it home to lift the Bulls to a 68-56 advantage.
“I’m glad they finished it off, because if I would have done that, and then they would have messed it up I would have got screamed at,” Kohn said. “I’m glad they finished it off the right way. I was just having fun out there my last time.”
Bryan Fazio covers USF men’s basketball and can be reached at email@example.com