Friday, January 19, 2018
Sports

USF Bulls basketball runs past Maryland-Eastern Shore

TAMPA — Even before the outcome was clear, USF coach Stan Heath was in mad scientist mode Friday night, experimenting with different looks as he tried to find the best combinations for his team in an easy 78-59 win against Maryland-Eastern Shore.

"I'm just trying to kind of put that puzzle together," Heath said after 10 Bulls played at least 12 minutes. "I don't totally know some of the new guys, what they can do. I can see the same way (point guard Anthony Collins) is trying to figure out who can catch what passes. There were times we showed great rhythm. … We can play better, but we played good tonight."

Senior Toarlyn Fitzpatrick led the Bulls with 16 points on 7-for-8 shooting, and Collins, limited by a calf injury, had 13 points and seven assists against one turnover. But the most entertaining experiment, especially for an announced Sun Dome crowd of 3,919, was Jordan Omogbehin, the 7-foot-3, 320-pound redshirt freshman who played 12 minutes and had six points in his first start.

"Big Jordan, he's new and he's so big. He worked so hard over the summer to lose some of that weight," Fitzpatrick said. "To see him get out there and score a couple of baskets, it made me feel good."

Another newcomer, freshman forward Zach LeDay, had eight points and seven rebounds, and he might start tonight against Loyola-Chicago as USF continues a stretch of four home games in five days. USF (1-1) led 72-43 before UMES (0-4) ended on a 16-6 run against Bulls reserves.

After being outrebounded in an opening loss to Central Florida, USF held a 45-33 advantage on the boards.

"The team is coming along. We're learning ourselves, trying to figure some things out," Heath said. "I thought we showed signs, defensively, of really locking down. ... I saw us moving in the right direction."

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