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USF doesn’t skip beat without guard Williams

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Back to work: USF’s Michael Williams, averaging - 12 points per game this season, will return to the court this week after being out of action due to academic priorities. - GETTY IMAGES FILE PHOTO
  • Getty Images file photo
  • Back to work: USF’s Michael Williams, averaging 12 points per game this season, will return to the court this week after being out of action due to academic priorities.

All-West Coast Conference and University of San Francisco junior guard Michael Williams has missed the past three games, but the Dons have not missed a beat, winning three in a row including a 79-69 win over Pacific on Saturday night.

Williams has been out of action due to academic priorities, but is expected to return to play sometime this week.

“He’s been working really hard for the last week and a half, but he put himself in the situation where he had to work hard for a week and a half,” USF coach Rex Walters said. “I don’t like that.”

Williams is averaging 12 points per game this season after leading the Dons (8-3) with more than 14 per game last season.

USF has rolled along nicely, and a big part of that success has been the performance of Angelo Caloiaro.

The senior forward was named the WCC Player of the Week after he scored a career-high 29 points and grabbed 11 rebounds against the Tigers.

“As a basketball player, I know where his heart is,” Walters said. “His heart is all about the team and figuring out ways he can impact the game.”

Caloiaro’s previous career-high was set on Nov. 20, 2010, when he scored 26 against Colorado.

Dominique O’Connor has started in Williams’ place the past three games and has made an immediate impact.

The redshirt sophomore has scored 10 points in each of the past two games, changing the game with his speed and quickness.

“Our team had to adjust to him. He’s much more dynamic,” Walters said. “He’s getting more comfortable with his body and with each game he is still learning.”

The Dons are tied with Brigham Young (8-2) for the most wins in the WCC with eight. They return to action Saturday to take on Menlo College.

Cal on the rise: Cal (8-2) has continued to rack up the wins with victories over San Jose State and Jackson State last week. Richard Solomon, who was suspended indefinitely by coach Mike Montgomery on Dec. 3, was back in action Sunday against Jackson State. The Bears have three tough tests left before Pac-12 Conference play with Weber State, UC Santa Barbara and UNLV.

Bright spot: Sophomore Aaron Bright has been a big part of Stanford’s 8-1 start to the season. The 5-foot-11 guard leads the team in scoring and assists and has been deadly from 3-point range, shooting 53 percent from distance.

Up next: The Cal women’s basketball team (8-2) faces its third nonconference ranked opponent on Saturday when it takes on No. 15 Ohio State. The Bears have lost their previous two against ranked teams by a combined four points. Meanwhile on the Farm, the No. 4 Stanford (6-1) women will play their first game in nearly two weeks when they hosts Princeton on Saturday.