Coach Seth Greenberg said before South Florida’s game with Houston that if the Bulls didn’t “guard the post against Houston, we’d get our a– kicked.”
He was right.
Forwards Louis Truscott and George Williams combined for 49 points as the Cougars may have put the final nail in the coffin of the Bulls’ NCAA Tournament at-large hopes with a 91-75 win Tuesday at Houston.
“They outworked us, plain and simple,” Greenberg said. “They were quicker to the basketball, and that’s what it came down to.”Houston, Conference USA’s No. 1 field goal percentage team, shot a blistering 58 percent from the floor, including 61 percent in the second half. Four Cougars reached double figures, led by Truscott’s 27 and Williams’ 22.
USF took its first lead late in the first half on a basket from B.B. Waldon, but a 6-0 Cougars run to close the half gave Houston a 43-37 lead. The Bulls used a 6-0 run of their own, capped by a dunk on the break from Waldon, to open the second half and tie the game at 43.
But from that point on, Houston would never trail.
“We had our chances in the first half, and we had our chances in the second half,” Greenberg said. “We just didn’t get it done.”
Altron Jackson was whistled for a technical foul (hanging on the rim), and Dominic Smith (19 points) connected on one of two free throws to put Houston ahead 44-43. A three-pointer by Jackson from the left wing cut the lead to 53-51, but the Cougars went on a 14-4 run, punctuated by a Smith 15-foot jumper, to open up a 67-55 advantage.
As effective as Truscott and Williams were on the offensive end (31-of-50 from the floor), they were equally as lethal on the boards. Williams pulled down 14 rebounds, while Truscott grabbed seven. Despite Waldon’s 17-point, 13-rebound night, Greenberg was less than pleased about his senior’s effort inside against Houston’s big men.
“B.B. didn’t get a lot done tonight,” Greenberg said. “He didn’t rebound (and) he didn’t keep Truscott off the glass. I think his stats are a bit deceiving.”
McDonald led the Bulls with 24 points, while Jackson scored 19. Reggie Kohn added five points and seven assists.
- Brandon Wright covers men’s basketball and can be reached at email@example.com