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USF men’s exhibition loss not totally unexpected

The Bulls wrap up their four-game Canadian basketball tour tonight in Montreal.
USF coach Brian Gregory's team lost to Carleton, 78-69, on Wednesday night in Game 3 of its Canadian exhibition tour. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
Published Aug. 8

He has made a point to introduce his players to another part of the world during their Canadian tour. Between exhibition games, USF men's basketball coach Brian Gregory and his club have seen a smorgasbord of sights.

But on Wednesday came the unsightly.

Facing Canadian collegiate dynasty Carleton, the Bulls totaled three assists and mostly were dominated on the glass in a 78-69 defeat.

“(Rebounding) was the difference in the game,” Gregory said.

MORE USF: USF defensive coordinator: tackling greatly improved

To be sure, Gregory was disappointed. For a veteran program that prides itself on going to the glass, the performance was wholly uncharacteristic. But don’t write off the 2019-20 season, one brimming with expectations for a change, just yet.

While disconcerting, the defeat really is no cause for alarm. Here are three reasons why:

Carleton is crazy good

The Ravens, a Canada collegiate dynasty, annually feast on U.S. competition in the summer. Their victims in recent years include Wisconsin (the summer before the Badgers reached the Final Four), Cincinnati, Providence, Ole Miss, Alabama and now USF.

Wednesday’s victory was their 45th in 76 all-time meetings against American college programs.

USF had a limited lineup

To maximize playing time for their younger guys, the Bulls have made a habit during this four-contest tour of sitting three players each game. On Wednesday, junior swingman Justin Brown, 6-foot-10 senior Antun Maricevic and lanky sophomore guard Rashun Williams sat out.

Additionally, senior point guard Laquincy Rideau ― the reigning American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year ― isn’t playing on this tour as a precaution.

In tonight’s finale against McGill University in Montreal, guard David Collins, center Michael Durr and promising redshirt freshman Madut Akec will not play.

MORE USF: USF season ticket sales holding steady in 2019

The grind may be catching up to them

Between their sightseeing and team meals, the Bulls have crammed in a lot of basketball.

They landed in Canada on Saturday night, and played their first game the following afternoon. Wednesday’s contest was their third in four days, not counting tonight’s tour finale against McGill.

Even with some guys sitting out each contest, that’s a demanding schedule.


  1. USF point guard LaQuincy Rideau (3) was named to the coaches preseason All-American Athletic Conference first team on Monday. JONES  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Bulls point guard Laquincy Rideau is a first-team pick on the preseason all-conference squad
  2. USF defensive lineman Kelvin Pinkney (96) celebrates the stop against BYU during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Suddenly, bowl eligibility doesn’t seem so far-fetched for the Bulls.
  3. BYU quarterback Baylor Romney (16) is stopped on fourth down by the USF defense during the second half Saturday at Raymond James Stadium. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Journal: The school also announces $2.5 million in athletic department donations, a good chunk of which will go toward an indoor practice facility.
  4. The Bulls come back from a 13-point deficit to win 27-23.
  5. USF running back Jordan Cronkrite (2) dives over BYU defensive back Tavita Gagnier (34) for the first down during the second half of the game at Raymond James Stadium. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Martin Fennelly: The senior running back has his second straight big game to help lift the Bulls.
  6. USF tight end Mitchell Wilcox (89) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against BYU during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    The Bulls come back from a 13-point deficit to win 27-23.
  7. Florida Gators defensive back CJ Henderson (1) wags his finger after breaking up a pass intended for Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Jeff Thomas during the season opener. MONICA HERNDON  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Matt Baker: A running back duel at Clemson and why Jordan Cronkrite could be in for another big day for USF. Plus, Tampa Bay Times staff picks for week 7.
  8. BYU redshirt freshman Jaren Hall will become the first African-American to start a game at quarterback for the Cougars when they face USF on Saturday. JAREN WILKEY  |  BYU
    The freshman will become the first African-American to start a game at QB for the Cougars
  9. USF senior tight end Mitch Wilcox has 10 receptions (three of them for touchdowns) through five games. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    The NFL draft prospect is coming off arguably his best game as a run blocker.
  10. USF defensive coordinator Brian Jean-Mary (center) said he doesn't expect BYU to modify its offense for new Cougars starting quarterback Jaren Hall. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times] OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Bell said the Bulls offensive line had its best day of the season at UConn