LAWRENCE, Kan. — Playing in an arena known for facilitating runs for the home team, USF refused to let Kansas' first spurt knock it out on Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse.
But the second one did.
In front of 16,300 rabid KU fans, the Bulls (5-4) hung tough for a half, fought off early trouble in the second then crumbled under the suffocating defense and hot 3-point shooting of the Jayhawks during a 70-42 loss, USF's fourth setback in six games.
"Kansas is tough," Bulls coach Stan Heath said. "We came here to find out a little bit more about ourselves, and we did. We learned that we're not a 40-minute team."
For the first 20 minutes, USF looked ready to compete at KU's level.
The Bulls defense limited Kansas to 9-of-24 shooting, including 1-of-11 from 3-point range, and forced nine turnovers. At the break, the Bulls trailed just 24-21 and nearly were down a single point. Freshman guard Anthony Collins' late steal gave Hugh Robertson a chance to beat the first-half buzzer, but, after Robertson raced toward the rim, his two-handed dunk went through a split-second after the horn sounded.
The dunk was reviewed by officials and the call on the court stood. No basket.
Kansas (5-2) opened the second half with a 7-0 run that pushed the lead to 31-21. Although the Bulls fought back and were down just 36-31 with 11:21 to play, they were drained, and the Jayhawks put the hammer down moments later.
"At the start of the second half, they went on a run, and I think that we put our head down," USF junior Toarlyn Fitzpatrick said. "We tried to withstand the run and go on a little run ourselves, but they started knocking down more shots, their fans got into it more and we didn't respond."
A little more than five minutes after the second media timeout, KU's lead had exploded to 57-37.
"I don't know which team you want to talk about, our first-half team or our second-half team," Heath said. "Our second-half team lost a little focus and really, more than anything, just couldn't keep pace with Kansas."
Senior forward Augustus Gilchrist led the Bulls with 11 points in 26 minutes. Collins and junior sharp-shooter Shaun Noriega chipped in eight apiece.
Senior point guard Tyshawn Taylor led Kansas with 24 points, two off his career high. Twenty of Taylor's points came in the final 20 minutes.
"Tyshawn Taylor, in the second half, was just the difference," Heath said.