TAMPA, Fla. — The University of South Florida opened up the 2013-14, basketball season at home inside the Sun Dome, Monday night with an exhibition game against Barry University.
The Bulls scored 53 points in the second half an easily defeated the Buccaneers, 88-53 but be careful friends and neighbors and do not read too much in this win.
This game serves as a dress-rehearsal and it just gives University of South Florida basketball coach Stan Heath an idea of what is going to work and what needs to be addressed before the season officially begins this Saturday night at the Sun Dome against Tennessee Tech.
It also allows Heath a chance to play with different looks and combine players on the floor, to see the team’s chemistry.
“I think the strength of our team is we do have the numbers,” Heath said. “I think the numbers allow us to play fairly aggressive, defensively with pressure and offensively by pushing the ball, running the floor and getting more transition baskets.”
The Bulls scored 22 points off of transition and the players that came off of the bench scored 40 points.
Leading the offense for the Bulls against Barry University, forward Victor Rudd and Martino Brock both players score 15 points, while Musa Abdul-Akeem and Javontae Hawkins contributed 11 points.
Heath liked what he saw when the Bulls were playing defense, Barry University finished the game shooting 27 percent from the floor and the Bulls pulled down 34 defensive rebounds, finishing the game out rebounding the Buccaneers 50-39, the defense forced 13 turnovers and blocked nine shots.
“I think it will happen periodically in games,” Heath said. “The other teams will get tired and their shots will be short, there passes will be off and we can make plays.”
The Bulls got plenty of chances to get to the free throw line against Barry University making 58 trips to the line and making 39 free throws, a record for the Bulls for free throws attempts.
“I love it. My goal is to get to the line more this year,” Rudd said going 7-of-10 from the free throw line. “That’s going to make it easier for me.”
The two big freshman in the Bulls’ lineup, 6-10 center John Egbunu and 6-8 forward Chris Perry made solid contributions for their team.
Egbunu first college start and he scored 10 points, shooting 3-of-4 from the floor but he led both teams by swatting down three shots.
“I think John is going to be a consistent shot-blocker this year,” Rudd said about his team mates’ability to block shots.
Perry played strong under the basket and in the wing area, he grabbed eight rebounds and scored 10 points.
“We only got a glimpse what Chris can do tonight. He can do a lot more, he is going to be one of our best low post guys.” Heath said about his freshman players. “John started to eating up shots, then just throw the ball up in the air and he gets way above everybody. He got some big rebounds, as we get farther into the season and these guys get better and we get (Anthony) Collins back, our team will continue to get better.”
Collins did not play in the game he sat out with a knee problem but Heath is being optimistic about him to be in the line up and play Saturday night against Tennessee Tech.
“I hope he can play. I pray he can play but we will have a better idea tomorrow,” Heath said about Collins. “We are waiting on some test results to come back tomorrow from some doctors. He has some swelling in his knee that won’t go away.”
The game against Barry University is a nice jester and it is also a chance for some players to see game action but the results for the Bulls and for the players is what Heath was expecting to see, a good dress rehearsal before the curtain goes up and the 2013-14 show really begins inside the Sun Dome Saturday night against Tennessee Tech, the tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
About the Author
Written by Mel Suiter
Graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2002 and have been working as a beat writer for The Ypsilanti Courier covering Eastern Michigan University football and men's basketball during my school career and after graduation. I like the Mid-American Conference and the rest of the mid-major conferences.