Monday, June 25, 2018
Sports

USF suffers near-record loss to UConn

HARTFORD, Conn. — On the first possession Wednesday, USF's Victor Rudd missed a jumper, John Egbunu grabbed the offensive rebound, but his putback attempt was swatted away by UConn's Amida Brimah, who sprinted down the floor and dunked on an alley-oop pass from Lasan Kromah.

That opening sequence pretty much set the tone for the night.

The Bulls were dominated in near-historic fashion as the No. 24 Huskies rolled to an 83-40 victory at the XL Center. UConn used a 16-0 run midway through the opening half to turn it into a laugher as USF (12-13, 3-9 American Athletic Conference) seemed disinterested, inept or both.

"This was a bad game," Bulls coach Stan Heath said. "Nothing went well for us, at all. From the start of the game, it seemed like all my point guards had two fouls in the first three minutes. I'm looking around, like, 'Who the heck can I put in?' "

The 43-point deficit was USF's worst of the season and three shy of the worst in program history, a 111-65 loss to Syracuse in 1987. Javontae Hawkins' free throw with 1:17 left gave the Bulls one more point than their record low, set in a 71-36 loss to Marquette in 1997.

Connecticut (19-5, 7-4) shot 64 percent (16-of-25) from the floor in the first half while holding the Bulls to 17 percent (4-of-23). The Huskies scored the game's first eight and held USF scoreless for more than six minutes during that 16-0 run. The Bulls went nearly seven minutes without a field goal until Corey Allen's jumper with 5:10 left in the half.

By that time, it was 33-9 UConn. The Bulls trailed 45-15 at halftime, their largest halftime deficit and lowest first-half output of the season.

Asked if the effort was there, Heath said: "At moments, but not consistently. I think part of that was the scoreboard. You start getting down, you hang your heads, you get frustrated. Obviously, you create some bad habits. We've got to get that straightened out. We're young, we don't necessarily have our leader out there on the floor. So, it hurts us."

USF point guard Anthony Collins, a preseason all-conference pick, hasn't played since Dec. 19 with knee issues.

"I've got the utmost respect for Coach Heath and the job he's done," UConn coach Kevin Ollie said. "That's like me losing Shabazz (Napier), he lost Anthony Collins, their quarterback."

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