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South Florida men's basketball wins big at DePaul

ROSEMONT, Ill. — When first asked how he felt after Saturday's game with DePaul, South Florida guard Dominique Jones said "cold."

For the previous two hours, Jones and his teammates did their best to bring Chicago's snowy chill inside the Allstate Arena, icing the Blue Demons for an 80-58 victory. USF's second-ever Big East road victory is among the biggest in coach Stan Heath's two seasons.

"We had a huge monkey on our back last year playing at Rutgers (a 54-52 win March 30)," Heath said. "Road wins are hard to get, and it was real good to get this."

USF (6-9, 1-2) led nearly wire to wire and based the victory on a handful of key events. First, the Bulls shot well and got contributions from several players. Jones had 22 points, and Jesus Verdejo added 18. Gus Gilchrist scored 16 off the bench.

"It felt good coming off the bench, as good as it does starting," Gilchrist said. "As long as I'm in the game and as long as I can add something for the team, it's fine."

USF outrebounded DePaul 40-22 and 14-7 offensively. That turned into 12 second-chance points and helped the Bulls keep their shots much closer to the basket as the game progressed.

"We were trying to rebound, make them guard our offense and then stay hard on our own defense," Jones said.

Finally, USF controlled the basketball. Point guard Chris Howard had 10 assists and no turnovers, scoring 12.

"This is (Howard's) best game since I've coached him," Heath said. "What was really funny about this game were two things. One, it looked like we were playing a slow tempo game and yet we scored 80 points. (Howard) didn't really look to score, yet when the opportunity presented itself, he did, and he did a masterful job of getting the ball to the right guys all the time."

DePaul (8-10, 0-5) made one strong run in the second half and cut the lead to 51-44 with 11:21 left. USF hit back on a jumper by Jones, a hanging jumper by Verdejo, a pair of Mobolaji Ajayi free throws and a Jones 3-pointer.

"We knew they were going to make a run," Jones said. "The thing about it was us keeping our composure."

The Bulls play at 7 p.m. Wednesday at No. 1 Pittsburgh.

USF 80

DePaul 58

South Florida men's basketball wins big at DePaul 01/10/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 9:52am]
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