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Breakthrough Bulls show gains in home attendance

USF’s men averaged home crowds of nearly 3,500 during their 24-win season.
OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times 
USF Bulls guard Justin Brown (13) celebrates with USF Bulls guard LaQuincy Rideau (3) for making a 3-pointer late in the second half at the Yuengling Center in Tampa, Florida on Monday, April 1, 2019. The USF Bulls defeated the DePaul Blue Demons 63-61.
OCTAVIO JONES | Times USF Bulls guard Justin Brown (13) celebrates with USF Bulls guard LaQuincy Rideau (3) for making a 3-pointer late in the second half at the Yuengling Center in Tampa, Florida on Monday, April 1, 2019. The USF Bulls defeated the DePaul Blue Demons 63-61.
Published Apr. 9, 2019

TAMPA ― If home attendance is any sign, the USF men’s resurgent season slowly is helping Tampa’s image evolve from basketball wasteland to city with a stable hoops pulse.

The Bulls (24-14), who won the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) title Friday night at DePaul, drew the program’s largest home crowds ― on average ― in a half-decade.

USF averaged 3,468 fans for 23 home games, its highest per-game crowd since the 2013-14 season (4,468), when USF hosted Oklahoma State, Alabama and a Rick Pitino-coached Louisville team.

The average ranked 11th in the 12-team American Athletic Conference, ahead of only Tulane (1,457). The Bulls drew an average of 2,720 fans in 2017-18, when they finished 10-22 in Coach Brian Gregory’s inaugural season.

The 7,231 who turned out for the Bulls’ 75-63 home loss to UCF on Feb. 27 was the program’s largest home audience since Feb. 17, 2013, when USF fell 59-41 Louisville before a crowd of 7,368.

The 79,759 fans who passed through the Yuengling Center turnstiles this season is the program’s highest overall home-game total since 2012-13, when USF drew 97,007 fans for 18 games (5,389 average) the season after their NCAA Tournament appearance.

The 2018-19 Bulls captured only the second postseason championship in program history. They also established season records for victories (24), total points (2,752), rebounds (1,483), 3-pointers (272), 3-point attempts (819), free throws (658) and free-throw attempts (1,018).

Contact Joey Knight at jknight@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.

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