Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Sports

Basketball: USF Bulls rout Bethune-Cookman

TAMPA — Few of Stan Heath's 199 career victories — or few of the recent ones, anyway — have featured the pace, point total or paint dominance of Tuesday night's triumph.

Then again, few of his teams have possessed the personnel of this USF club (2-0), which overcame a sluggish start for a 91-65 rout of Bethune-Cookman (1-1) before a Sun Dome crowd of 3,549.

It was the Bulls' highest offensive output since a 99-93 win against Providence on Feb. 27, 2010.

"I've always wanted to play this way, but you've got to have depth, and to run you've got to have some size to rebound," Heath said. "And last year we were probably one of the smallest teams in the country, so it was just hard to do that. … I think every team has its own identity, its own personality, and this (style) fits this team."

With veteran point guard Anthony Collins (knee) still sidelined, the Bulls asserted themselves down low against a woefully outsized team and watched Collins backup Corey Allen flirt with a triple double (21 points, seven rebounds, nine assists, three steals).

Recruited primarily as a two-guard who could fill in at the point, Allen had three of the Bulls' four 3-pointers and scored 13 during a 22-6 run late in the first half.

"I couldn't ask for better," Heath said. "And I just think in the long run it's unfortunate that (Collins) is not playing, but in some ways I think it's allowed Corey to speed up his growth."

Impatient offensively at the outset, the Bulls let the Wildcats hang around most of the first half. Their 22-6 spurt gave them a 38-20 lead before B-CU sank three consecutive 3-pointers to end the half.

For the game, the 'Cats sank 10 from long range, most of them well contested.

"I counted just off the top of my head five or six 3s that went in that you'd say, 'There's no way,' " said Heath, who can earn win No. 200 Friday night at Bowling Green. "One went off the glass, and I know he didn't call it."

But USF's depth — nine Bulls played at least 10 minutes — and low-post size eventually wore down a foe that started four guards.

Though outrebounded 43-42, the Bulls finished with a 46-20 scoring advantage inside and a 20-0 advantage in fastbreak points. Six-foot-10 freshman John Egbunu and 6-8 classmate Chris Perry, saddled by second-half foul trouble, still totaled 18 points and 14 rebounds.

"We were running up and down, we had a fast pace, everybody was making shots," Allen said. "You can't ask more than that."

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