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Turnover-prone USF sees its three-game winning streak end at Marquette.

By Rick Braun

Special to the Times

MILWAUKEE - USF coach Stan Heath didn't have to take much time studying the game summary to see where the Bulls failed in their 67-47 loss at 17th-ranked Marquette on Tuesday night.

When your team suffers through a 22-5 disadvantage in turnovers, most other factors don't matter.

"We turned the ball over way too much, and they feed off that," Heath said. "We gave ourselves no chance."

The fact that the Bulls held the Golden Eagles to 39.7 percent shooting (23-for-58) did not matter. "You'd take that any day of the week," Heath said.

Because they kept turning the ball over, the Bulls (12-9, 5-3 Big East) saw their three-game winning streak end. Marquette outscored USF 20-3 off turnovers.

Coming off a victory at DePaul on Sunday that made them 4-2 on the road against the Blue Demons, the Bulls fell to 4-46 on the road against the rest of the Big East.

Marquette (17-4, 6-2) won its fifth straight game and gave coach Buzz Williams his 100th career victory.

Guard Darius Johnson-Odom led the Golden Eagles with 17 points, and forwards Jae Crowder and Davante Gardner had 15 each.

The lone offensive bright spot for the Bulls was junior forward Toarlyn Fitzpatrick, who had 19 points and 10 rebounds. But the former King High standout had five turnovers, as did fellow post man Augustus Gilchrist.

"We didn't handle their post traps well at all," Heath said. "We tried to force it, and that's where a lot of our turnovers came from."

The Bulls had early problems with the 6-foot-8, 290-pound Gardner, who scored twice on post-ups and once on a putback for Marquette's first six points. Still, USF took a 7-6 lead thanks to a 3-pointer and another jumper by Hugh Robertson.

The Bulls were still within 26-21 after a 3-pointer by Fitzpatrick, but Marquette scored the final seven of the half, including a buzzer-beating rebound dunk on a fast break by sophomore forward Jamil Wilson.

That came after the Bulls were holding for what they thought would be the last shot of the half.

"We've been doing a great job of closing halves and getting momentum plays," Heath said. "I thought we executed well. We probably went a little early, but we had the lob easy to (Jawanza) Poland, who nine times out of 10 knocks that down.

"So I'm expecting two points our way, and it goes two points the other way. They go into the locker room smiling, and I go in yelling. That's a big momentum play."

Trailing 33-21 at the break, the Bulls would never get closer. The Golden Eagles put together another surge coming out of halftime, and Johnson-Odom's 3-pointer gave Marquette a 39-22 lead with 18:49 left in the game.

17 Marquette 67

USF 47