HONOLULU — No wake-up call was necessary for Cole Dickerson on Tuesday.
The junior forward scored 13 of his game-high 19 points in the first half and San Francisco beat East Tennessee State 67-49 in the seventh-place game of the Diamond Head Classic.
The game tipped off at 9 a.m. Hawaii Standard Time — hardly the ideal Christmas morning — but it mattered little to Dickerson, who tied his career high in points. The win snapped a string of five straight losses for the Dons (6-6).
"It’s good to wrap up the trip with a win,” said Dickerson. "We’ve been on a five-game losing streak but all of our losses have been to really good teams. It’s a confidence booster and brought us together as a team.”
San Francisco had dropped three in a row after a five-game winning streak earlier this season, but suffered losses to No. 18 San Diego State and Mississippi in Honolulu.
"We matured and learned from those other games and we’re coming together as a team and that helped in closing the game,” Dickerson said.
The Dons also got 15 points from Cody Doolin — all in the second half — and 10 from Tim Derksen. Dickerson was 8 of 16 from the field and grabbed nine rebounds. He also registered two assists and two steals in 35 minutes.
"There’s not going to be a lot of teams where we go in and say, ‘Gosh we haven’t faced this before,”’ San Francisco coach Rex Walters said. "We faced unbelievable athleticism and shooting in Ole Miss and faced unbelievable athleticism, speed, shooting in San Diego State. Now our guys can draw back on that and say we faced this before and (we could’ve) actually beat those teams.”
Doolin, a junior guard, was 5 of 5 on free throws and had three steals and two assists and Derksen, a freshman guard, grabbed seven rebounds with two steals.
San Francisco shot 42.1 percent on 3-pointers and dominated ETSU inside, with a 38-21 rebounding advantage and a 24-16 edge in points in the paint. San Francisco had 13 offensive rebounds and had 13 second-chance points to ETSU’s seven. The Buccaneers committed eight of their 11 turnovers after halftime.
The Buccaneers, who made just 4 of 12 free throws, were led by Jarvis Jones’ 17 points. Hunter Harris pitched in 11 points and seven rebounds for ETSU, which dropped its seventh consecutive game.
"They move the ball offensively, they did some things against our zone that hurt us in terms of ball movement, making some shots, killed us on the glass, and obviously we don’t score easily,” Buccaneers coach Murry Bartow said.
ETSU (2-10), which used its 10th different starting lineup of the season, held its last lead at 15-14 just past the midway point of the first half, but the Dons outscored the Buccaneers 18-6 — including 11 points by Dickerson — to lead 32-21 at halftime.
San Francisco had its biggest lead with just under 3 minutes to play following Derksen’s 3-pointer that made the score 65-45.
It was the first meeting between the schools.