SAN DIEGO — Coach Hank Egan really couldn't care less about individual performances when it comes to his University of San Diego men's basketball team.
"Whatever it takes to win," he said.
So Egan was beaming throughout Friday night's 85-58 victory over Columbia in front of 849 at the USD Sports Center.
Egan's team played like one, perhaps moreso than in any game this season.
Five Toreros scored in double figures. Gylan Dottin led with 13 points. Pat Holbert added 12 on four three-pointers, including a 25-footer at the first-half buzzer that gave USD a 44-29 advantage.
Craig Cottrell, Anthony Thomas and Wayman Strickland all had 10 points.
Kelvin Woods scored nine points and John Jerome had eight. Jerome had been USD's leading scorer in nine of 11 games and led the Toreros with a 19.8 average entering Saturday night.
USD's Dondi Bell, had what Egan called a personal season-best game. In 17 minutes, Bell had six points (including two dunks) and three blocked shots.
Randy Thompson tied Dottin for honors in rebounding (four) and Strickland in assists (seven).
The rebound numbers were low--USD led, 33-25--because the Toreros shot a season-high 62.5% (30 for 48) from the field. It was their second season-best shooting performance of the week. USD made 55% (22 for 40) in a 72-66 victory over Western Kentucky Thursday.
"That's the way you win games--team basketball," Dottin said.
With its second victory in a row, the Toreros improved to 5-7 to end the 1989 and pre-conference portion of their schedule. For the second year in a row, USD will take a 5-7 record into West Coast Conference play. USD plays three consecutive WCC home games beginning Saturday against Santa Clara.
The Toreros also finished 137-140 in the 1980s, a decade in which they won two conference titles, advancing to the NCAA Tournament in 1983-84 and 1986-87.
Columbia, which started three sophomores and two freshmen, fell to 2-7 in the first meeting of the schools. The Lions were led by Russell Stewart (21 points) and Dane Holmes (16).
USD took a 15-point halftime lead (44-29) and increased that to 17 three times early in the second half. A Cotrell layup and a Bell dunk gave the Toreros a 21-point lead (58-37) with 13:10 left.
That was increased to 31 (85-54) with 1:43 left, and Egan inserted the last of his 15 players.
"If you have an enthusiastic and aggressive attitude, a lot of good things will happen," Egan said.
Holbert had another way of putting it: "We were just too hot tonight."