PHILADELPHIA — There would be no Super Bowl miracle for the University of South Florida against Temple University this Sunday afternoon out on the floor of the coziest basketball venue in the American Athletic Conference-the Liacouras Center.
It was a game of two halves, the opening half belonged to the Owls, scoring 46 points and shooting a blistering 62.1 percent from the floor including making 50 percent from beyond the arc and withstood the Bulls charge in the second half.
Temple University finished the game shooting 53.8 percent from the floor and began their Super Bowl Sunday celebration with an 83-74, victory against the University of South Florida.
“We fought hard-the first half not so much,” University of South Florida interim basketball coach Murray Bartow said. “The second half was inspiring effort. We beat them by 14 in the second half on their home floor.”
USF and Bartow welcomed back out on the court their team leader, guard Geno Thorpe, who had been getting treatment and rehabbing an ankle injury. The junior guard from Pennsylvania had a nice homecoming by scoring a career-high 25 points.
Helping the Bulls offense cause against the Owls, freshman forward Tulio Da Silva went 9-of-12 from the floor and scored 18 points, he also hulled down three rebounds for the Bulls.
Giving up 46 points in the first half made digging out of the hole an extremely difficult task for the Bulls to overcome. In the first half the Owls went on a 13-0 run that only ended because the half came to an end.
Bartow said at that point of the game the Bulls just scrapped and fought hard, they even went on a 15-3 run of their own midway in the second half.
“This group doesn’t give in easily. The fire and resiliency is there,” Bartow said after the game. “We just need to put it together for 40 minutes. We just can’t spot a team big a lead and expect to win.”
Temple University offensive led by Daniel Dingle with 22 players, the Owls finished the game with five players in double figures.
“I really believe in this team,” Dingle said. “I am confident when it is all said and done, we will get an opportunity to be in the NCAA Tournament.”
Since the release of former coach Orlando Antigua, the Bulls have been struggling for some kind of character, a team personality but after the lost to the Owls the conference record continues to fall and if there was any doubt, the Bulls have a solid grip on last place in the conference.
The question for many USF basketball fans, would the record still be the same as it is now under Bartow?
The answer is-yes!
Antigua’s offense out on the floor and run by his players did not show much movement or did it create a chance for the Bulls offense there were just a lot of players standing and watching.
With Bartow’s offensive philosophy the Bulls do seem to understand the concept of moving without the ball and setting screens, players that actually moves without the ball.
Bartow and Antigua both have said that a good defense will create a good offense but against the Owls, the Bulls defense allowed Temple University to hit 53.8 percent from the floor including an incredible 52.2 percent from beyond the arc.
“We didn’t do a very good job on the defensive end in the second half,” Temple University basketball coach Fran Dunphy said about his team’s performance. “They did a good job.”
USF did hold on to the ball against the Owls by only making 13 turnovers that included 11 steals.
So with the sun setting, the sound of the cleaning crew working busily tidying up the Liacouras Center, the suffering of this year’s basketball season is winding down there was no Super Bowl magic for the Bulls this Sunday afternoon.
The road trip continues for the University of South Florida as the Bulls journey to the state of Connecticut to face the Huskies of the University of Connecticut.
The game will be played inside the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion and tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
USF will be trying to avenge a 21-point defeat at the Sun Dome back on Jan. 25, only time will tell if the Bulls have one magic moment left for this season.
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.