MILWAUKEE — What started as a dreamy night offensively for USF turned into a shooting nightmare, the kind that got progressively worse until seemingly nothing fell into the basket.
The Bulls lost 63-52 at Marquette on Saturday, their second straight Big East road defeat, sending them home for games with Cincinnati and St. John's at 15-9, 5-7 in the Big East.
"It was a struggle to score," USF forward Jarrid Famous said. "They were double-teaming and trapping. They were hard to play against, and our shots just weren't going."
The loss comes one week after a three-point setback at Notre Dame. Rather than a break with the middle of the Big East pack, the Bulls are again mired in the middle of the conference.
"We come up with two hard losses in games we felt we were capable of winning," Famous said. "It's hard losing games you feel you should win."
For the second straight game, Dominique Jones, the Big East's third-leading scorer at 21.9 points per game, was bottled up. Although USF's junior guard had a team-high 16 points, he did so on 6-of-21 shooting. He missed 6 of 7 3-pointers.
The Bulls missed all 11 3-pointers in the second half and finished 4-for-20 for the game. They shot 29.7 percent from the field in the second half.
"It is hard because everybody keys on (Jones)," Famous said. "But we feel we have other players who can do the job. It's not showing right now."
Famous had 12 points, mostly from close range, and added 10 rebounds. Chris Howard had seven points in the first half but was bottled up in the second and finished with 11.
Gus Gilchrist, who came off the bench for the Bulls, had seven points and four rebounds in 23 minutes, his first game action since he sprained an ankle in practice Dec. 7.
Marquette (16-8, 7-5), which won its fifth straight, recovered from a slow start. The Golden Eagles ended the first half on an 8-2 run, then opened the second by continuing their surge.
"I felt our offense wasn't where it needed to be," USF coach Stan Heath said. "We forced a lot of things."
Lazar Hayward led the Golden Eagles with 18 points and 14 rebounds.