TAMPA, Fla. —- Friday night inside the Sun Dome on the campus of the University of South Florida, Stetson University started the game in a 2-3 zone defense and at first glance it looked like the Bulls found the answer to getting the Hatters out of the zone by hitting the first two three point shots.
It appeared that the Bulls were going to run away with game and push the Hatters right out of the building but Stetson University had other ideas and suddenly they had pushed the Bulls into a corner fighting and hoping to survive.
Once again it is was not pretty as a picture but it still counts as a win for the Bulls, as they stumbled their way to a 72-63, victory against Stetson University and staying undefeated.
“We were very fortunate to win the game Stetson really played well and I think that they out played us in a lot of areas. We got to play a lot better,” University of South Florida basketball coach Stan Heath said. “We typically don’t give up 50 percent shooting, we haven’t done so all year, our mind is got to get back to our defense. They shot too good a percentage and part of that was, I thought that they had some unique match ups that created some problems for us.”
The longer that the game went in the first half, the more out of sync that the Bulls look on offense and defense and that did not sit well with Heath, he started early to go to the bench looking for a combination that would provide stability out on the floor.
Stetson University shot 53.6 percent in the first half which means that the Bulls defense left a lot of holes that the Hatters found, including the open cylinder of the basket. The Hatters shooting touch from the field improved in the second and Stetson University finished the game shooting 52.8 percent from the field.
Stetson University basketball coach Corey Williams said after the game that his team is finally getting comfortable with him and his style of teaching the game and that tonight’s performance so far this season, was the best effort from his team out on the floor.
Heath said that he believes that too many people looked past the Hatters and they did not take them seriously but he said, just give them some time because the Hatters are a well coached team.
“I thought that our guys competed, they did a lot of things well, unfortunately at the end of the game we made some crucial turnovers that gave them some momentum and they end up winning the basketball game,” Williams said. “I am awfully proud of my team, I thought that they fought, they competed, they gave everything they had, they did everything that I ask of them, we just got to keep getting better.”
Stetson’s forward Willie Green led all scores with 20 points, he shot 9-of 13 for the game.
“Willie is a senior and he stepped up big, we got the ball on the block to him and he was able to come through for us,” Williams said about Green’s performance. “He played a lot of minutes, he was tired and he wanted to come out but I had to play him.”
“Green had a phenomenal night,” Heath said. “We just didn’t have an answer for him in the post. Late in the game we were going to more of a double team against him we never got to it he was really a match up problem for us. I though that (Aaron)Graham is a terrific player he made some tough shots 3-of-4 from the three.”
Stetson’s leading scorer for the season Graham scored 15 points for his team.
After finding some early success from the perimeter, suddenly the baseline opened up because the Hatters defense expanded to the perimeter.
The Bulls’ offense got sloppy with the basketball in the first half, USF committed seven turnovers and that cause another look of concern from Heath, he needed the Bulls to calm down on the court and get back to the game plan.
The start of the second half the Bulls came out of the locker room still a little dazed from the first half but Heath’s speech simply said, that the Bulls can’t look past the Hatters and the Bulls need to refocus.
The Bulls scored 37 points in the second half and finished the game shooting 40.7 percent from the floor but the steal by Corey Allen Jr. and with a rim shaking dunk brought the 3,782 inside the Sun Dome to their feet and raised there voice to the rafters.
Allen finished the game with 19 points, four rebounds and shot 70 percent from the free throw line.
Williams said that he will be seeing Allen in his dreams for a long time.
“I’ll be seeing number four, I’ll be seeing quite a bit of him,” Williams said about Allen.
“They have some athletes that can run and jump, they know how to play the game. We expected that in the beginning. They got a good ball club and they are going to get better too as a team.”
“Corey really stepped up big and he made some great defensive plays to give us a lead,” Heath said. “He gave us a little bit of cushion and the same with (Anthony) Collins made some good plays as well too and I thought that maybe mentally focus wise we were quite were we need to be but I don’t want to take any thing away from Stetson they played a terrific game.”
The Bulls next game will be at home in the Sun Dome this Monday night, Nov 25, against the No.7 team in the nation, the Oklahoma State University Cowboys will be making a visit and the tip off will be a 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.