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Shots won't fall as South Florida's skid hits 16

It was tough to determine what was colder on Sunday: The Northeast weather or South Florida's shooting.

The Bulls shot 31.5 percent in a 62-44 defeat to Rutgers - their 16th consecutive loss, extending the school record.

USF (6-21, 0-14) needs to beat Connecticut or Georgetown - both ranked - to avoid becoming the third Big East team to go winless in the league. Miami went 0-18 in 1993-94 and Providence was 0-6 in the Big East's first season, 1979-80.

"I don't think you need (postseason tournament berths) as a reason to play hard," USF coach Robert McCullum said in a resigned tone. "You play for pride; you play for your passion for the game, for the name on the front of your jersey. From my perspective, that's a given.

"We've played some of our best basketball against Top 25 teams. We played West Virginia to a four-point loss. Georgetown, we got the ball down one with 20 seconds to go. We lost by three. For those reasons, I hope our guys look at our next opponents and take a similar approach."

As has been the case for the season, USF tried hard but was outmanned by a veteran Big East squad. Rutgers was not challenged and led throughout, much like it did Feb. 18 at the Sun Dome in a 65-51 victory.

In that game, guard Quincy Douby scored 33. Sunday was similar as Douby, who leads the Big East in scoring at 24.6 points per game, scored 23. For good measure, he had 10 rebounds and six assists.

In a 3 1/2-minute span in the first half (15:15 to 12:45), Douby outscored the Bulls 11-0, pushing Rutgers' advantage from 10-6 to 21-6.

"That was paramount," Rutgers coach Gary Waters said. "We had talked, going into the first half, that this team was on (its) last legs. They felt there was one game that they (had a chance to win) and it was our game. I told our team to go out and take them (Bulls' legs) away. Once you do that, they'll feel like there's nothing else left. I think that's what happened."

McCullum believed defense was not the problem Sunday and has not been this season. He pointed out that the Bulls held Rutgers to 33.9 percent shooting and only allowed Douby to score two in the last 32 minutes.

"When you look at the big picture, I have no fault with the way we played defensively. Our problems lay offensively. It's a combination of things. Bottom line is: We got what we got," McCullum said.

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