USF hanging tough

SAN FRANCISCO -- In renovated War Memorial Gym, San Francisco is continuing to rebuild under second-year coach Rex Walters. Leading scorer Dior Lowhorn declared for the NBA draft and withdrew his name so he could play his senior season.

But the process continues for a team that's 7-13 and trailing Portland 35-30 at halftime as the Dons try to get back to .500 in West Coast Conference play.

For every step forward (a three-point road win at pesky Loyola Marymount), there is a setback (a one-point home loss to struggling Santa Clara, which is leading Gonzaga at the half).

Tonight, Lowhorn spent the first few minutes of the game on the bench after missing some practice time due to classes, according to a team spokesman.

Freshman Perris Blackwell made all four of his field goals and leads the team with eight points. The Dons also have a sophomore guard with upside in Kwame Vaughn.

USF is hanging around, but for a program that boasts three national championships going back to 1949 yet hasn't made the NCAA tournament since 1998, it still needs something to get it over the top.