Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

West Virginia routs USF Bulls with big second half

USF’s Dominique Jones tries to control the ball under pressure from Da’Sean Butler during the second half. Jones had 28 points but none in the first 11 minutes after the break.


USF’s Dominique Jones tries to control the ball under pressure from Da’Sean Butler during the second half. Jones had 28 points but none in the first 11 minutes after the break.

TAMPA — USF star Dominique Jones believes his team has the ability to do some damage, perhaps more than ever, in the rugged Big East.

That's why he was so frustrated and disappointed Wednesday night.

Despite leading by 11 late in the first half then trailing by just two at the half, he and the Bulls were overrun by No. 10 West Virginia 69-50 before a season-high crowd of 6,110 at the Sun Dome. It was their fourth consecutive loss, all against their conference brethren.

"We still have a chance to have the best Big East season ever," Jones said. "It comes down to every player on the team looking at himself in the mirror and asking, 'Am I really putting in enough work to be a Big East player? Am I really putting in enough work to come out here and compete with the Da'Sean Butlers of the league; the Scottie Reynolds of the league?'

"It's up to us. It comes down to how bad we want it."

For a while Wednesday, the Bulls (10-6, 0-4) looked as if they wanted it badly.

With Jones scoring at will, the Bulls looked liked the nationally ranked team and jumped out to a surprising 23-12 lead with 7:52 left. Jones had 13 points by that time.

But sophomore guard Darryl Bryant had nine of his 13 first-half points in a little more than two minutes as the Mountaineers (13-2, 4-1) went on a 20-7 run to take a 32-30 lead at the break.

Could the Bulls do something they rarely do and beat a Top 25 team? (They entered 9-81 against ranked opponents, 3-19 since joining the Big East.)

Their play didn't reflect the want-to.

Sophomore forward Devin Ebanks, limited to two free throws in the first half, hit three straight field goals to fuel an 8-0 run that gave the Mountaineers a double-digit lead. Even worse for USF, the Mountaineers picked up their defense thanks to the play of redshirt junior guard Joe Mazzulla on Jones.

"Once Mazzulla face-guarded me and they started sending help, our players took it on that everybody needed to do by themselves," Jones said.

He was including himself. After he shot 7-of-10 in the first half for 19 points, Jones was 2-of-10 in the second to finish with 28.

"Joe went in and he did a better job on the ball and we did a better job helping (on Jones)," West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. "He's a really good player and he's really hard for one guy to guard. We talked to them for two days that we had to gang-guard him."

As a group, it was even worse. USF made 12 of 21 shots in the opening half (57.1 percent) but 5 of 31 (16.1 percent) in the second and hit 1 of 17 3-pointers overall. Their 32.7 percent shooting for the game was a season low, as was their point total. (They scored 52 against Louisville.)

Like his star, whom he pulled with 4:10 left, USF coach Stan Heath wasn't happy about the second half. Not with the lack of teamwork. Not with the apparent lack of effort rebounding and going for loose balls.

"We were selfish and we gave up on some of the battles we need to fight," he said, "and those are two things that just aren't acceptable and we're going to address in a big way (today) when we get together."

Mirrors all around, guys.

Brian Landman can be reached at or (813) 226-3347.

West Virginia routs USF Bulls with big second half 01/13/10 [Last modified: Thursday, January 14, 2010 9:48am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs have chance to beat Vikings in their third stadium


    Here's a cool sign that the Bucs are getting up there as an NFL franchise: If Tampa Bay can win Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, it will mark the first time the Bucs have posted road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.

    TIMES ARCHIVES (2012) | Bucs RB Doug Martin runs during Tampa Bay's 36-17 win at the Vikings in 2012, in what was then called Mall of America Field. If Tampa Bay wins Sunday, it will mark the first time they have road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.
  2. NFL commissioner, players' union angrily denounce Trump comments on national anthem


    SOMERSET, N.J. — The National Football League and its players' union on Saturday angrily denounced President Donald Trump for suggesting that owners fire players who kneel during the national …

    President Donald Trump walks off the stage after he speaks at campaign rally in support of Sen. Luther Strange, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Huntsville, Ala. [Associated Press]
  3. Matt Peca making case for Lightning spot


    Center Matt Peca said he didn't read too much into the fact he was the only Lightning player to appear in each of the first three exhibition games.

    But Peca, 24, loved it.

    Matt Peca won nine of 10 faceoffs Friday, a skill the Lightning badly needs.
  4. Bucs players respond to Trump comments on anthem protests


    President Donald Trump shared his thoughts Friday night on NFL players protesting during the national anthem, suggesting that NFL owners should "fire" players who kneel during the anthem in protest. His remarks are alreading drawing responses from many NFL players, including some Bucs.

    Bucs players Mike Evans and Jameis Winston stand with coach Dirk Koetter during the national anthem in a game played in San Diego last season.
  5. Rays morning after: Wilson Ramos showing glimpses of what's possible in 2018


    The real payoff for the Rays signing C Wilson Ramos last off-season will come in 2018, when he can play a full season fully recovered from right knee surgery.

    Catcher Wilson Ramos connects for a two-run single in the fifth inning against the Cubs on Sept. 20, 2017.