Eddie Sutton earns 799th career win as San Francisco beats Portland 60-59

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP)—Eddie Sutton is looking forward to his 800th win mostly because his sons are.

“Where it hit home for me is my three sons,” the interim San Francisco coach said after the Dons defeated Portland 60-59 Saturday night for Sutton’s 799th career win. “They encouraged me to come here. They said, ‘800 may not mean much to you, but it will to us and our children 20 years from now.”’

Dior Lowhorn had 19 points and seven rebounds for the Dons’ first win since Dec. 7. Manny Quezada added 17 points and Myron Strong had 13 for San Francisco (5-12, 1-1 West Coast Conference).

The Dons lost their first four games under Sutton, who took over as interim coach in late December.

The Pilots (6-12, 2-1) were led by Sherrard Watson with 15 points and Luke Sikma with 10.

Sutton, whose 37-year career has included stints at Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma State, joined the Dons after coach Jessie Evans took what the school has termed a leave of absence.

The 71-year-old Sutton has been to 26 NCAA tournaments as a coach. He led Arkansas to the Final Four in 1978 and Oklahoma State in 1995 and 2004. Sutton retired as coach at Oklahoma State in 2006 following a drunken driving accident.

The Dons ended a seven-game losing skid. They led for much of the game, but Portland had a chance to pull it out at the end.

Robin Smeulders put the Pilots up 55-54 with a three-point play at 1:41. Quezada hit four free throws and a lean-in 10-footer to keep San Francisco on top, and Lowhorn swatted Sikma with five seconds left.

Quezada was fouled but missed the front end of a 1-and-1, and Ito’s heave at the buzzer missed.

The Pilots led 13-11 early in the game but San Francisco went on a 15-2 run to grab a double-digit lead.

“It was a defensive disaster,” Portland coach Eric Reveno said. “We just couldn’t get a stop.”

Sikma’s rebound and putback started a 9-2 run for Portland, but the Dons led 39-29 at halftime.

“I thought the first half we played as well as we could ever expect to play ever since I have been coaching this team,” Sutton said.

Sutton said he plans to coach only through the rest of the season. His 800th win could come as soon as Monday, when the Dons travel to Gonzaga in a game that will be televised on ESPN.

Portland began the second half with a 8-0 run as the Dons scored just four points in the first 13 minutes of the half. Ito hit a 20-footer to get the Pilots within 43-42 and then fed Sikma at 8:03 for a basket that put Portland back on top.

Quezada hit a 3 on the other end for the Dons and then set up Lowhorn, the West Coast Conference’s leading scorer, on an alley-oop to make it 50-46.

The Pilots were 4-of-21 on 3-pointers.

With one more win, Sutton will become one of five coaches in Division I history with 800 wins. Texas Tech coach Bob Knight became the first coach to 900 on Wednesday.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 San Francisco
D. Lowhorn D. Lowhorn
9-17,  19 Pts
7 Rebs, 0 Assists
 Portland
L. Sikma L. Sikma
5-8,  10 Pts
6 Rebs, 3 Assists

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Saturday, Jan 19