Bulls brace for UCF's Fall guy
If USF has brandished a solitary strength this season, it's a low-post assertiveness most nights.
But Wednesday in Orlando, the Bulls -- known to put two 6-foot-10 players on the floor simultaneously -- will find themselves at a size disadvantage.
USF gets its first up-close look at UCF 7-6 freshman Tacko Fall, who leads the American Athletic Conference with 2.42 blocks per game. While still an unpolished offensive presence -- he's only the Knights' fifth-leading scorer (8.5 ppg) -- Fall clearly can be a disruptive force in the paint by virtue of his mere stature.
"He's a difficult challenge because you obviously don't see that many kids that tall," said Bulls coach Orlando Antigua, whose club ranks third in the league in rebounding (41.5 rpg).
"So you're gonna have to move him, you're gonna have to see how you can challenge him on the court, not let him get comfortable. You've got to be physical with him early and not let him get posted up close to the basket because he's a big boy."
Fall will be one of three players 6-9 or taller projected to start for the Knights, who rallied from a nine-point deficit in the final six minutes of Saturday's 71-68 victory at East Carolina. With a likely onus on perimeter production, the Bulls can find optimism in freshman PG Jahmal McMurray, shooting 46 percent (17-for-37) from 3-point range in his last five games.
Once the worst 3-point-shooting team in Division I, USF has moved up four spots to 342nd (27.2 percent). In two AAC games, they're 10-for-29 (34.5 percent).
"You know what's gonna happen, if you're the other team, who's our best shooter? (McMurray) is," Bulls assistant Sergio Rouco said.
"So they're not gonna let him see easy looks. So we're gonna have to adjust to that and our guys are gonna have to kick the ball out, we're gonna have to be creative on his shots. But he's crafty."