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USF Bulls pull away to beat Florida Atlantic Owls 78-58

Dominique Jones, who had 11 points and 10 assists, drives by Florida Atlantic’s Jordan McCoy during the first half.


Dominique Jones, who had 11 points and 10 assists, drives by Florida Atlantic’s Jordan McCoy during the first half.

TAMPA — USF forward Gus Gilchrist did just about everything Friday night.

The sophomore scored a career-high 27 points, including 23 in the second half, and added a steady defensive performance as the Bulls eased past Florida Atlantic 78-58 before an announced 4,571 at the Sun Dome.

"It seemed like the light switch just went off," USF coach Stan Heath said. "The next thing you know, he's in a groove, and he just makes shot after shot after shot.

"It's a luxury to have a big guy who can play around the basket and also step away to open up the offense."

Gilchrist, listed at 6 feet 10, 245 pounds, finished 10-of-12 from the field, hit both of his 3-point attempts and was 5-of-7 from the free-throw line. He also matched a season high with three blocks and added seven rebounds.

"I had my typical first half: score a little bit, rebounds were okay. But in the second half, the game was close and I just felt it," Gilchrist said. "My teammates kept feeding me the ball, and I delivered."

The Owls (2-3) pulled within 39-36 a few minutes into the second half. But USF (6-1) used a 19-0 run spanning the next seven minutes to put the game out of reach. Gilchrist had 10 points during the stretch.

"Gilchrist is probably as good of a big man as we'll play this year," FAU coach Mike Jarvis said. "He's legit. He's a definite pro prospect."

Gilchrist was held to four points in the first half as FAU and USF exchanged a series of runs, the Owls replying seemingly every time the Bulls seemed poised to build a substantial lead.

USF made 6 of 12 3-point attempts to take a 35-29 halftime lead. Guard Chris Howard, who scored a season-high 15 points, was 3-for-3 on 3-pointers in the half.

Howard said Gilchrist's ability to stretch the floor opened up the offense, which faced a 2-3 zone for a majority of the game.

"I'm no professional, but I think that's what makes him a guy that can get to the next level," he said. "The height and being able to stretch the floor gives you a great chance to play at the next level."

USF, which made a season-high 10 3-pointers, matched its best start since 2001-02.

USF 78

FAU 58

USF Bulls pull away to beat Florida Atlantic Owls 78-58 11/27/09 [Last modified: Friday, November 27, 2009 10:47pm]
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