After stunner, is a streak next for Bulls?
Shortly after his team's ninth consecutive loss Wednesday night against rival UCF, Bulls second-year coach Orlando Antigua suggested one victory could spark a mini-surge.
"If we can get one -- we can get one -- I think we can run off two or three or four or whatever that is finishing up," Antigua said. "We've just got to get the first one and feel good about it, and that's what's driving me."
Initially, Antigua's comments drew scoffs. Now, in the wake of Saturday's 71-62 road upset of Houston, it might draw further contemplation.
Down to six scholarship players with the absences of power forwards Chris Perry (suspension) and Luis Santos (sickness), the Bulls (4-17, 1-7 American Athletic Conference) got 30 points -- and 40 minutes -- from freshman PG Jahmal McMurray on Saturday. Employing essentially a one-guard lineup, USF outrebounded the Cougars 43-27 and watched Houston go 4-for-23 from long range.
“I’m so happy for these kids, for the resilience that they continue to show,” Antigua said after Saturday's triumph.
“Our jobs as coaches are to keep working. The results will happen if we compete for 40 minutes. I thought we grew a lot today as a team. We made a bunch of mistakes, but we didn’t let one mistake lead to another. The guys were encouraging one another. They were pushing each other.”
Next up for the Bulls: Tulane (8-12, 1-6) on Wednesday in New Orleans. Tulane topped the Bulls, 81-70 in Tampa on Jan. 12, but USF led at halftime.
Now that they've preserved a lead after halftime, his post-UCF words bear re-hashing.
"We're gonna get one (win)," Antigua said Wednesday night, "and see if that snowball can keep rolling."