With an emphasis placed more on experience than winning, the USF men’s basketball team accomplished both Thursday night by defeating Angola Select 86-61 at the Sun Dome.
“I thought we were very unselfish and got our freshmen a lot of minutes,” coach Seth Greenberg said. “It’s a totally new experience for all these guys.”
For the most part, the outcome of the Bulls’ first of two exhibition games was never in doubt. South Florida controlled the opening tip, and senior Altron Jackson nailed a pair of three pointers to put the Bulls ahead 6-0 early. Minutes later USF led 14-2, and the scorer’s table began to resemble a turnstile, as Greenberg rotated players frequently in order to tune up the Bulls for their season opener Nov. 19 against Fordham.
“We got a bunch of guys 20 minutes,” Greenberg said. “Guys played between 15 and 25 minutes, and that’s pretty good.”
Eight Bulls played at least 17 minutes, with four making their initial appearance in a USF uniform. Although Greenberg said his team at times has practiced harder than Thursday’s exhibition, he felt the game provided a chance to see where the Bulls are at – and where they need to be.
“It was kind of what we expected,” Greenberg said. “We got a chance to play with the light on (and) a couple of people in the stands. (And) kind of see what we do well and what we need to work on.”
Jackson led all scorers with 21 points in 25 minutes of action, draining 3-of-6 from three-point range. Center Will McDonald and point guard Reggie Kohn added 14 for the Bulls against Angola Select, which was playing the first of an eight-game tour in Florida.
“I thought Will McDonald was active and rebounded the ball,” Greenberg said. “That was very positive for me, because that’s something we’ve put an emphasis on – trying to get him to rebound the ball with two hands.”
The Bulls were originally scheduled to play Siauliai-Lithuania Thursday, but the team canceled its trip due to safety concerns following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Five players on the Angola Select team are members of the national team, which won the 1999 African Championship. But against the Bulls Thursday, Angola Select shot a meager 33 percent (21-65) from the field.
“They couldn’t make a shot, but they were a pretty well-coached team,” Greenberg said. “They tried to run their offense, they just couldn’t make their shots. They didn’t have any inside scoring.”
Angola Select’s inability to muster anything in the paint could be attributed to the strong inside play of center Gerrick Morris and McDonald. Morris swatted five shots and grabbed eight rebounds, while McDonald pulled down nine boards.
“If you look at the two post guys, it’s a pretty productive night,” Greenberg said. “(We got) 17 rebounds between the two.”
- Brandon Wright covers men’s basketball and can be reached at email@example.com