TAMPA — USF coach Stan Heath went into Sunday's game against Florida A&M with just six healthy scholarship players available, with two Bulls limited by strep throat, another healthy but suspended, and another leaving to transfer.
All that didn't matter as the Bulls (6-4), trailing with five minutes left in the first half, scored the next 17 and cruised to an 83-59 win at the University of Tampa's Martinez Center against a team winless against Division I opponents.
Junior forward Toarlyn Fitzpatrick, a former King High standout, had a career-best 25 points on 11-for-16 shooting, and guard Hugh Robertson, starting due to Victor Rudd's illness, had nine points and 21 rebounds, the latter the second-most by a Bull in the past 19 years.
"Toarlyn, I thought, was very good on the offensive end, knocking down shots, being aggressive and being versatile," Heath said. "I thought Hugh Robertson was just fantastic — his energy level, just his effort plays, rebounding the ball and rebounding the ball and rebounding the ball."
Freshman point guard Anthony Collins continued his strong play, with 10 points in the first half and a season-high eight assists and three steals against just two turnovers. The starters limited by illness, Rudd and center Ron Anderson, both played, with Rudd getting 11 points in 23 minutes; Anderson played three minutes. Guard Shaun Noriega went 3-for-6 on 3-pointers for 12 points, his best showing since the season opener.
The Bulls announced before the game that sophomore point guard Lavonte Dority had left the team and is seeking to transfer. His minutes had dropped considerably with the arrival of Collins — after averaging 26 points in the first three games, he totaled three in the previous two games.
Guard Reggie Lewis led Florida A&M (2-8) with 17 points and five assists.
The Bulls play Wednesday at Auburn, then play host to Cleveland State on Saturday at the St. Pete Times Forum.