Vandy hands Bulls fourth straight loss
Vanderbilt handed USF its fourth loss in a row Tuesday night, a 71-52 setback that puts the Bulls at 3-5 for the first time since the 1992-93 season. The Bulls opened 3-10 that year, finishing 8-19 under coach Bobby Paschal. Here's our game story, from writer David Fox ...
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Not even a late push by hobbled guard Dominique Jones could help USF end its losing streak.
After starting the game on the bench because of an ankle injury, Jones didn’t get into the flow of the game until the second half. By then, it was too late. USF lost its fourth consecutive game with a 71-52 defeat to Vanderbilt in the SEC/Big East Invitational.
“Playing for 40 minutes is becoming a problem for our team,” USF coach Stan Heath said. “We haven’t been great lately. We’re still trying to find our way.”
The Bulls (3-5) trailed 28-22 at the end of the first half even with Jones playing on the bad ankle. By the time Jones shook off the injury, Vanderbilt (7-3) was on its way to building a 20-point lead in the second half.
Jones missed the walk-through a day earlier and was a game-time decision to start. He scored only four points in 14 minutes in the first half, but he returned after the break to score 15.
“He was a lot more effective than I thought,” Heath said. “Once he got loose and started moving around, he was fine.”
The rest of the team struggled, however. The Bulls were 18 of 53 from the field and 12 of 21 from the free-throw line. Mike Mercer and Augustus Gilchrist, both playing in their second games since becoming eligible last week, combined for 22 points.
Defensively, USF had few answers for Vanderbilt center A.J. Ogilvy. Heath considered 6-foot-9 forward Mobolaji Ajayi his best chance at stopping the 6-11 Ogilvy. Once Ajayi fouled out with 14:12 remaining, Ogilvy had a clear path to a 20-point, 13-rebound day. Commodores guard Jermaine Beal added 20 points.
“A.J. Ogilvy became a much more difficult player to defend,” Heath said. “Once that presence (Ajayi) left us, I thought they took advantage of that. When we collapsed, Jermaine Beal had a tremendous game, handling pressure and making shots.”