Wednesday, November 21, 2018
USF Bulls

Sloppy Bulls pull away from Alabama A&M in opener

TAMPA — For a few tense moments Tuesday, a would-be historic night seemed on the verge of becoming a humiliating one for USF's men.

In their 2018-19 debut, the Bulls found themselves trailing Southwestern Athletic Conference bottom-feeder Alabama A&M early in the second half before pulling away for an 80-63 triumph.

The contest, before an announced crowd of 2,213, was the first regular season basketball game since the Bulls' arena was re-branded as the Yuengling Center. USF, which experienced a roster overhaul for the second year in a row, returns only three players who appeared in a game last season.

For most of the night, it looked every bit like a team in transition.

"Over time, our chemistry is gonna get better," said guard T.J. Lang, an Auburn transfer who sat out last season.

"It's a point of emphasis in every practice that we have to take care of the ball. I mean, we scored 80 points and had 20 turnovers, so that was 20 empty possessions that we could've possibly gotten to 100."

Facing a team that finished 3-28 last season, the Bulls began crisply, starting 5-for-9 from 3-point range and taking a 22-8 lead when 7-foot-2 senior Nikola Scekic stepped out for a trey. But a cooling-off spell coincided with a rash of turnovers, resulting in a 13-5 Bulldogs run that trimmed USF's lead to 34-31 by halftime.

The Bulldogs, 3-28 last season, took a 41-40 lead on a layup with 16:27 remaining before Lang responded with a 3-pointer to spark a 7-0 run.

Justin Brown, among the trio of returners, ignited the next surge. His 3-pointer with 13:22 to play gave USF a 50-44 lead, and his alley-oop to 6-9 sophomore Mayan Kiir for a dunk pushed the advantage to 54-44.

The Bulls' lead never dipped below seven points the rest of the way. They shot 69.2 percent (18-for-26) in the second half while making a concerted effort to go inside. Brown finished with 16. Classmate David Collins, the team's top returning scorer, led USF with 17.

"I thought our guys responded to some adverse situations pretty well tonight," second-year coach Brian Gregory said. "Which is good, because the only way to get better in those situations is to go through 'em…and we've never as a collective unit been through any tough times. "

Comments
Taggart Bowl? USF-FSU still a possibility for Gasparilla

Taggart Bowl? USF-FSU still a possibility for Gasparilla

A slim chance remains that FSU's Willie Taggart could face his former team in the Gasparilla Bowl
Published: 11/20/18
USF journal: More than 50,000 tickets sold for ‘War on I-4’

USF journal: More than 50,000 tickets sold for ‘War on I-4’

Some seats in Raymond James Stadium's upper level remain on sale for Friday's contest
Published: 11/19/18
For reeling USF, a win Friday can atone for much

For reeling USF, a win Friday can atone for much

An upset of No. 8 UCF could help salvage an otherwise disappointing season for the Bulls.
Published: 11/19/18
Know the Foe: UCF

Know the Foe: UCF

The Knights arrive at Raymond James Stadium on a 23-game win streak
Published: 11/19/18
With top player injured, No. 21 USF women roll past Oklahoma

With top player injured, No. 21 USF women roll past Oklahoma

Senior wing Laura Ferreira sinks eight 3-pointers en route to a career-high 34 points
Published: 11/18/18
Knights rout Bearcats in ‘War on I-4’ precursor

Knights rout Bearcats in ‘War on I-4’ precursor

UCF clinches the American Athletic Conference's East Division title with Saturday's triumph
Published: 11/18/18
Temple scores 27 unanswered to beat USF 27-17

Temple scores 27 unanswered to beat USF 27-17

PHILADELPHIA — USF's spiral continues.Despite the Bulls' defense answering the call, the offense and special teams failed to respond as the Owls reeled off 27 unanswered points in the second half, storming back for a 27-17 win Saturday at Linco...
Published: 11/17/18
USF journal: Duran Bell returns to Bulls’ lineup

USF journal: Duran Bell returns to Bulls’ lineup

PHILADELPHIA — USF running back Duran Bell returned to the field for the first time since the Bulls' Week 2 win against Georgia Tech. He's been out with an unspecified injury.On Saturday, he managed 33 yards on nine carries in the Bulls' 27-17 ...
Published: 11/17/18
USF’s Stanley Clerveaux enjoying belated breakthrough season

USF’s Stanley Clerveaux enjoying belated breakthrough season

The Bulls' fifth year senior, who had three career catches entering 2018, has 16 this year
Published: 11/16/18
USF’s Kitija Laksa tears ACL, ending her season

USF’s Kitija Laksa tears ACL, ending her season

The Bulls' top scorer was a bona fide All-America candidate
Published: 11/16/18