Heath seeks more after 75-58 exhibition win
TAMPA -- As exhibitions go, Monday night wasn't what Stan Heath wanted, with his Bulls committing 23 turnovers and unable to extend an early lead in a lackluster 75-58 win over Division II Eckerd College in the Sun Dome.
"I've been harping on turnovers for a long time, and it's not very good right now," said Heath, who lost his top two ballhandlers from last season in guards Chris Howard and Dominique Jones. "We've got to really be tougher with the ball, really, really have to hone in on that area. We just gave away too many possessions."
Heath took the unusual step of sitting two projected starters, point guard Anthony Crater and small forward Hugh Robertson, until three minutes into the second half; another top contributor, point guard Shedrick Haynes, never made it on the court. Heath said his decision wasn't from any one incident, but rather the three players' overall attitudes in practice.
"It's not like they did a whole lot out there," Heath said. "I think that they have to make a better commitment to the team. I just haven't been happy with what they've been doing out there on the court. ... There's really nothing to say except those guys have to step it up. Just in general, I don't think they're taking care of business."
With shooting guard Mike Burwell at the point and sophomores Shaun Noriega and Jawanza Poland starting on the wing, USF jumped out to a 43-23 lead late in the first half, but was never able to extend it beyond that. Eckerd hovered within 15-20 points the entire half, and the entrance of Crater and Robertson did little to spark the Bulls on either end of the court. Forward Gus Gilchrist led the Bulls with 14 points, eight rebounds and four blocks, and Burwell added 12 as the only other player in double digits. Of the newcomers, Poland led the way with eight points.
Just last week, Heath had said three starting jobs were up for grabs, and when asked if he saw the intensity he was looking for, Heath said "a little bit ... not much."
"I thought we got into a cruise mode, a relax mode in the second half, just kind of thought the game was semi-over," Heath said. "The thing that bothered me more than anything was just when they came after us, I don't think we handled that very well. As a coach, that's a hard thing to swallow. I pride myself on us having a tough team. We have to step it up in that area."
Forward Lance Kearse, a transfer from Virginia Commonwealth, led Eckerd with nine points.