Bulls near basement in 3-point shooting
Skeptics are certain to look at USF's latest eyesore of a defeat -- a 67-58 loss Thursday at Delaware -- and insist the season is headed for the abyss.
The really skeptical will say no way, it missed the abyss and clanged off the rim.
While the Bulls' 2-6 start has a collection of culprits (inconsistent rebounding, shoddy perimeter defense, a banged-up rotation), the most prominent remains the glaring absence of an outside scoring threat.
Following another woeful effort from 3-point range (5-for-23) against the Blue Hens, USF enters Saturday afternoon's game at undefeated South Carolina ranked 343rd of 346 Division I teams in 3-point percentage (33-for-136, 24.3 percent).
Only once in the seven games in which they've attempted at least 10 treys have the Bulls shot better than 30 percent from long range (10-for-31 vs. Troy). Twice, they've shot less than 10 percent, including an 0-for-10 effort in a 12-point loss to Boston University.
"I think it'll come around," senior Angel Nunez, the team's top 3-point shooter (10-for-35, 28.6 percent) said last week.
Question is, will it arrive before Christmas?
Three of the Bulls' next five games are against the Gamecocks, N.C. State and Seton Hall -- a stretch not exactly conducive to a hot streak. Not helping matters is the fact sophomore Troy Holston, one of the team's best shooters down the stretch last season, is nursing an ACL tear.
Still, a glimmer of hope arrived Thursday, when senior Nehemias Morillo -- second on the team in 3-point efficiency last season -- snapped out of a 5-for-25 funk with consecutive second-half treys.
“They got those shots off ball movement and he was wide open," Coach Orlando Antigua said. "Those are the shots that he’s got to take,” Antigua said.
And make, at least some of the time. Otherwise, any postseason aspirations will rim out before the new year.
"Those guys are putting up tons of shots daily," Antigua said last week. "They're coming in and getting extra shots, both Neh (Morillo) and Jahmal (McMurray) and Angel and Roddy (Peters). They're putting in the time, it's just a matter of them things falling for us."