TAMPA, Fla. — Now that finals are over and a distant memory for the student-athlete. University of South Florida basketball coach Orlando Antigua and his team can get back to business and continue the 2016 men’s basketball season.
USF will get back to work at home inside the coziness of the Sun Dome, Monday Dec. 12 against Bethune-Cookman University starting at 7 p.m.
Coming back to the floor and making his home debut for Antigua is last year’s leading scorer, USF sophomore guard Jahmal McMurray. He made his 2016 debut Dec.3 in Washington D.C. against George Washington University at the Charles E Smith Center after serving his six game suspension.
USF pushed last year’s National Invitation Tournament winner but in the end, Colonials’ Colin Smith put up a three-point shot that found the bottom of the basket and George Washington University left the court with a 68-67, win over the Bulls.
Antigua said after the game that he thought that his team played well and made strides toward improving as a team.
McMurray played 33 minutes for the Bulls and led them with 16 points but Antigua said that there were plenty of contribution from other players and he was pleased with every bodies effort.
USF junior center Ruben Guerrero scored 10 points and he hulled in 11 rebounds, his second double-double of the season. Troy Holston scored 14 points and that brought a smile to Antigua’s face talking about Holston after the game.
“I can’t say enough about Troy Holston play early on in the first half with shots he was making,” Antigua said. “I thought Geno (Thorpe) had an incredible floor game. besides getting in foul trouble, finding Troy and finding Jahmal. Ruben was really big in this game.”
Antigua is hoping that the nine days off from the schedule does not interrupt any momentum that the Bulls were building.
Bethune-Cookman University will step on the court inside the Sun Dome with an overall record of 3-7, winning their last game against Florida College.
The Wildcat can score points, they are averaging 71.7 points in 10 games but for Bethune-Cookman University basketball coach Gravelle Craig, the fact that his team is giving up 80.6 points and shooting just 60 percent from the free throw line, is a growing concern.
Monday night, when Antigua and his squad walk out onto the magical wooden floor inside the Sun Dome, the Bulls will need a few minutes to shake off the rust, get acquainted with surroundings and remember how important it is to hold onto the ball.
USF just needs to relax and play their game, which is, take what the defense gives you, take care of the basketball and get under the basket.
It is not pretty but it is effective for the Bulls.
USF’s offense is shooting a respectable 48 percent from the floor, averaging 70.1 points per game and averaging 34.4 rebounds.
Antigua will be able to use a full complement of players and that is something that he could not do last season.
With McMurray coming off of the bench and back out on the floor, it gives USF another option on offense.
If the combination of Thorpe, McMurray and Holston can mesh together and then mix in some Bo Ziegler and Guerrero then maybe Antigua and his team might be working a little overtime magic when the month March roll around but there is still a lot of basketball remaining to be played.
There is nothing wrong in taking a timeout and do some serious day dreaming is there?
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.