TAMPA, Fla. — Talent baby!
The University of Houston showed they are a team with talent and in the American Athletic Conference, the Cougars might be considered as a team that is a surprise.
The University of South Florida did not apprecate the way that the Cougars treated them Saturday afternoon at home in front of 3,921 inside the Sun Dome, the Bulls were defeated 67-58, by the University of Houston and the loss keeps the Bulls winless in the league.
University of South Florida basketball coach Stan Heath watched his team struggle when they had the ball and once again he watched his team struggled at the free throw line.
The Bulls went to the line 25 times against the Cougars but only made 13 that is an average of 52 percent and Heath said that is not acceptable.
“There are areas we just have to improve simply that!” Heath said about his team’s performance against the Cougars. “In this game, the inefficiency of our offense hurt us. You look at free throw shooting and it is 52 percent, you can’t do that at this level. We are coming up empty at the line, we have been so inconsistence in that area it is really haunting us.”
Heath also said, that shooting 0-for-10 behind the three-point arch in the first half did not help his team’s offense.
“The three point shooting 0-of-10 in the first half, simply if you go 3-of-10 which is not a great shooting percentage but all of a sudden, you get nine points out of those threes” Heath said about his team‘s poor shooting from the perimeter. “We would have a one point lead at halftime, so its hard when not getting any outside shots to fall, its hard when you are not making your free throws.”
The Bulls finished the game shooting 23.8 percent from behind the arch and 37 percent from the field.
“We just need three point shooters,” University of South Florida freshman forward Chris Perry said. “People won’t zone us that opens up the post and it keeps people honest. We will get into the gym and work on shooting.”
University of Houston basketball coach James Dickey’s game plan against the Bulls was simply deploy a 2-3 zone defense and collapse the zone in the middle and surround Perry and freshman center John Egbunu.
“They have a lot size on the front line,” Dickey said. “Our defense was pretty good, we fouled too much and put them into the bonus way too early. Perry is such a load down low but that was a big key for us to keep the ball out of the paint and try to keep it away from the big guys. They hurt us on the boards a lot more in the first half but that was a scary part because they are so big in there but our guys at the eight minute mark was out rebounding but they really hurt us in the last eight minutes.”
Cougars forward, TaShawn Thomas led the University of Houston offense with 13 points shooting 60 percent from the floor but Dickey said if there is one thing to complain about, is that Thomas needed to work harder to get his hands on some more rebounds.
“TaShawn had a really good stat line probably need to rebound the ball better,” Dickey said about Thomas. “he is a good player any thing that hr receives he deserves not only is he a terrific player he is a wonderful young man. Outstanding student and we are pleased to have him.”
Perry scored 10 points, six rebounds and coming off the bench for the Bulls Martino Brock led USF with 11 points, he also hulled in four rebounds three of his boards came under the Bulls’ basket.
Sloppy ball handling by the Bulls is an area that Heath says there needs to be more improvement, 16 turnovers made by the Bulls is unacceptable.
There are two things that just really annoy me and really bother me,” Heath said. “I want our team to hang their hat on our defense. I want us, our team to be stingy with the basketball and not give teams those extra possession and sometime those become 2-on-1 or 3-on-2 fast breaks alone its tough.”
Heath said that Corey Allen Jr. is doing a good job at the point but he is learning on the job.
“We’re asking Corey to do a lot and I much rather have him play a little bit more off the ball,” Heath said. “So it’s putting pressure on him to be the decision maker and play maker out there on the court and it is not an easy task.”
Allen Jr. shot a dismal 1-for-9 from the floor and finished the game with just three points but he did have six assist.
Heath said his team needs a win badly and that starting the conference at home with two losses is not the start that he or that his team wanted.
The Bulls’ next game will be Thursday night, January 9 at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
“This isn’t the position we wanted our basketball team to be in, play two home games and came up empty,” Heath said. “There are a lot of things we got to fix, things we’ve got to improve on but there is still a lot of basketball in front of us. We have to go on the road and find away to win we have some success and I think this team can get a win it would do a lot for our psychic, it would do a lot by giving us momentum. It’s a big, big game in front of us but we have to go on the road and we got to find away to do it.”
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.