TAMPA, Fla. —- Can they do it?
Can the University of South Florida recover from being beat by Oklahoma State University 93-67, Monday night Nov 25, 2013?
The road recovery started Saturday night, November 30, 2013 inside the home of the Bulls – the magical Sun Dome against the University of Detroit-Mercy.
There was no magic in the second half for the Bulls, cold shooting by USF and the scrappiness of the University of Detroit-Mercy proved to be just too much for USF overcome and the Bulls felt the sting of defeat for the second time this season falling to the Titans 65-60.
The Bulls shot just 29.6 percent in the second half from the floor and just 65.2 percent from the free throw line for the game.
Bulls’ senior forwards Victor Rudd and Martino Brock said after the game that this is a team that the Bulls should have beaten.
“Down the stretch, we made bad decisions, I put on me and I made terrible decisions down the stretch,” Brock said. “I shot two bad threes, I should have both drove, because my drive was working for me tonight.”
Brock led all scores with 16 points and Rudd helped the Bulls offense by scoring 11 points.
“That is my fault!” Rudd said. “I started out the second half terrible, I had two or three turnovers they came back and capitalized off that, I put the game on me. I’m supposed to come out stronger than that, they gave me the ball at the beginning of the half and I am supposed to deliver.”
Before the game, University of South Florida basketball coach Stan Heath paced back and forth in the hallway out side the Bulls’ locker room with a look of concern about tonight’s game against the Titans.
Heath worried that the Titans will be quick and have they have the ability to convert shots into points. So far this young season, the Titans have shot .406 percent in seven games and Juwan Howard Jr. is scoring 18.7 points per game.
“It’s very disappointing loss for us, I defiantly it was a game that we should have won,” Heath said. “The first four minutes of the second half our energy was not right. We we’re flat. They got momentum going, it never seemed to let up and we never seemed to recover.”
The Bulls forced, the Titans to run and play physical, in fact Howard Jr. had to come out early in the first half with a cut over his right eye.
He recovered and gave the Titans some stability on the floor. The Titans finished the game shooting 32.8 percent from the floor but shooting 89 percent from the foul line was a recipe for a win against the Bulls.
The Titans, dynamic duo of Howard Jr and Jarod Williams led the UDM with 12 points and Even Bruinsma chipped in with 11 points.
“For us it was a big win for us,” University of Detroit-Mercy basketball coach Ray McCullum said after the game. “We lost on the last second shot two games ago and then we lost the last game in triple overtime. We thought that we’re in position to win those games. We really challenged our guys to get focused, eliminate mistakes and I thought coming into tonight we had good energy and good focus.”
The Bulls’ played with a physical presence down under the basket and in the middle of the lane out scoring the Titans 34-30, in the paint but the Titans out rebounded the Bulls 44-35.
“The numbers speak for themselves poor rebounding, poor shooting and a lot of fouls,” Heath said about his team. “That is a bad recipe. I got to give Detroit credit, they had a couple of losses and it looked like a team that could go either way. They came in here and pulled together and they changed their strategy quite a bit. They went from a team that was shooting a lot of shots, shoot a lot of threes and getting up and down to a team that looked like a five man stall.”
Heath said this is a lost that could haunt his team later in the season, but like the lost to Oklahoma State University, the Bulls and Heath just need to forget about it, remember that the season is long and just get ready for the next game.
The next game on the schedule for the Bulls will be on the road, the University of South Florida will visit Fairfax, Virginia to face George Mason University, Wednesday night Dec 4 starting at 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.