Make us your home page

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

South Florida men's basketball team loses to West Virginia 62-59

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Jesus Verdejo's face was as long as his 6-foot-4 body, another winnable game having become another loss for USF, this one 62-59 Saturday to West Virginia.

"I don't know what it is," he said, standing in the hallway outside the Bulls' dressing room. "We just don't play hard for 40 minutes. We had guys who just didn't play hard for the first 15 or 20 minutes.

"I want to win. This is my last year. We have got to get everyone the same desire to win."

The first half was ugly for the Bulls (6-11, 1-4 Big East), who put only 20 points on the board as they fell behind by 14.

"I seriously thought about going home at halftime and taking my team, because we were pretty bad," coach Stan Heath said. "It didn't look like we had the energy level, and we weren't competing the way we needed to. But I thought we were a better team in the second half."

Dominique Jones was almost unstoppable in that half as he scored 23 of his game-high 35 points, one shy of his career high against Iona on Dec. 27. The biggest problem was that the only real offensive help he got was from Verdejo, who scored 11.

"I thought I was watching two against one," Heath said. "They had (Da'Sean) Butler and (Alex) Ruoff, and we had Jones."

Butler scored 27 and Ruoff 19 for the Mountaineers (13-4, 2-2).

"We need some more guys to step up for us," Heath said, a familiar lament this season.

Jones, like Verdejo and Heath, thought his team did not put forth much of a first-half effort.

"There were not many stops, and we made some dumb plays," Jones said. "We've got to eliminate the crazy stuff we do. We've got to get focus."

The focus came in the second half when the Mountaineers' effort seemed to dwindle.

"We're young, and I think sometimes it's hard to handle success," West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said of his team's penchant to squander halftime advantages. "Why did we stop passing the ball, I don't know. Why did we come down four or five times and shoot on the first pass, I have no idea.

"The only thing I can tell you is that, over the years and being in athletics, I've learned people have a hard time handing success and some prosperity. I think that's human nature."

It was the nature of this game as USF rallied to get within 55-54 before the Mountaineers got a 3-pointer from John Flowers, who had hit only two 3s this season.

"I don't shoot much at all," said Flowers, who averages fewer than three shots a game. "But when the opportunity comes and it's wide open, I'll take it."

Though USF had some opportunities, it never could get even. At one point Verdejo tried to launch a tying 3, only to have the ball slip from his grasp as he began to go up.

W. Va. 62

USF 59

South Florida men's basketball team loses to West Virginia 62-59 01/17/09 [Last modified: Saturday, January 17, 2009 10:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Fennelly: Dirk Koetter's apology no way to keep this fidget spinning


    TAMPA — It all began with a fidget spinner.

    This tweet from the Bucs, mocking the Falcons' 28-3 lead they lost in the Super Bowl against the Falcons, prompted a public apology from head coach Dirk Koetter, who called it "unprofessional and not smart."
  2. Perfection's not easy in baseball, just ask Calvary Christian


    CLEARWATER — Of the more than 300 varsity high school baseball teams in Florida, only one has won every game this season: Calvary Christian. The Warriors are a perfect 28-0.

    Calvary Christian's Matheu Nelson (63) prepares to take an at bat during the first inning of Wednesday's (5/10/17) region baseball semifinal game between Trinity Prep and Calvary Christian in Clearwater.
  3. Rays shut out Angels to cap homestand, get back to .500 (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays completed their seven-game homestand Thursday with a 4-0 victory against the Angels, a win that moved them back to .500 for the season.

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) high fives designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) after they score on the single by center fielder Colby Rasmus (28) in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Thursday, May 25, 2017.
  4. Bucs suspended RB Doug Martin breaks his silence and says his drug problem is 'definitely behind me.'


    He would not talk about the drug he abused. He didn’t identify the rehab facility he entered last January or how long he was there.

    Doug Martin was contrite but optimistic about returning to the form he demonstrated as the NFL's second leading rusher two years ago.
  5. Kickoff times announced for Florida-Michigan, FSU-Alabama


    College football's blockbuster Sept. 2 season openers finally have kickoff times.