Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

USF falls to Villanova

VILLANOVA, Pa. — Last year must seem like light years ago to USF. So many things went right for it in a 22-14 campaign that got the Bulls to the third round of the NCAA Tournament.

But that was then, and this is now. The Bulls plummeted to 10-13 — just one fewer loss than they had all last season — and 1-10 in the Big East after digging a 23-point first-half hole in Saturday's dreary 68-40 loss at Villanova.

Coach Stan Heath didn't blame the loss of leading scorer Victor Rudd, who strained his groin last week in practice and was held out, for USF's sixth straight loss. Rudd's absence didn't justify a woeful performance in which USF made its first shot, then only 4-of-21 for the remainder of the first half while letting the Wildcats have their way in the paint and in rebounding.

By the end, after USF needed a late flurry against walk-ons to avoid being doubled up, Heath could only hope it was just one of those days.

"We're struggling right now, and the basket seems really small," Heath said of USF, which shot 11-for-47 (23.4 percent) and was outrebounded 39-28 total, 21-8 in the first half. "That affects everything we do and affects our defense. It's confidence. We're not executing great, and teams are disrupting us."

Coach Jay Wright's Wildcats (15-9, 6-5) did whatever they wanted at both ends. Villanova turned a 16-11 lead with 9:11 left in the first half into a 39-16 blowout by intermission.

The second half wasn't any better for the Bulls, who didn't reach 30 points until 5:44 was left, though they never stopped hustling after loose balls and trying to defend.

"We're a little frustrated as a team," said freshman JaVontae Hawkins, who came off the bench to score 13, USF's only player in double figures. "We've been losing games, so we've been showing our frustration.

"Not having Victor affected us a lot. He's our leader out there. He's a scorer and a key on defense. But credit Villanova. They played well.

"It was just one of those days where we couldn't make a shot."

Heath hopes that will change for Wednesday's home game against Providence. Plus, he said he thought Rudd could be back by then.

"I don't know how much difference he could've made," Heath said. "Victor's one of those guys who, when he gets on a streak, opens things up for everybody.

"But no one's going to feel sorry for you. You just have to make the most with what you have."

Villanova got 17 points from guard Darrun Hilliard and shot 22-for-42, 52.4 percent.

USF falls to Villanova 02/09/13 [Last modified: Saturday, February 9, 2013 8:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Arm problems in the past, USF rides pitching into AAC baseball tournament

    College

    TAMPA — By his second relief inning in last year's season opener, USF right-hander Ryan Valdes had lost the fizz on his fastball.

    USF senior right-hander Ryan Valdes, an Alonso High alumnus, is one of three prominent Bulls pitchers flourishing after undergoing Tommy John surgery last year. [USF Athletics]
  2. Ryan Fitzpatrick likes Bucs weapons, believes he's a good fit

    Blogs

    Ryan Fitzpatrick’s experience playing for six other NFL teams is what made him attractive to the Bucs as a backup to starter Jameis Winston. But if he has to play, the former Jets quarterback is happy about all the weapons on Tampa Bay’s offense.

    Ryan Fitzpatrick is happy about all the weapons on Tampa Bay’s offense.
  3. For starters: Rays vs. Angels and Trout, with Odorizzi on mound

    Blogs

    After losing Sunday's game but winning a third straight series, the Rays open a four-game series tonight against the Angels and Mike Trout.

    RHP Jake Odorizzi will be on the mound for the Rays, RHP J.C. Ramirez for the Angels.

    Evan Longoria is getting a DH day, so the Rays have rookie Daniel …

    Jake Odorizzi will be on the mound for the Rays.
  4. Lightning's Swedes live their dream in Worlds

    Blogs

    You could see it in his face.

    Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman screamed as he hoisted the World Championship trophy Sunday afternoon in Cologne, Germany, and it looked like an exhale that was years in the making. Stralman kissed the forehead of Swedish teammate Joel Lundqvist, the joy unmistakable.

    Victor Hedman of Sweden celebrate with his teammates after scoring the opening goal in the gold-medal game against Canada.
  5. Starting at top: O.J. Howard becomes first Bucs rookie to sign

    Blogs

    The Bucs have begun the process of signing their rookie draft picks and they started at the top.

    Alabama tight end O.J. Howard has signed a four-year contract with a fifth-year club option with the Bucs.