The story remained the same for the USF men’s basketball team, as it lost its second straight road game 70-53 at the Daniel-Meyer Coliseum Wednesday in Fort Worth, Texas.
Outmuscled underneath, the Bulls struggled to contain TCU’s frontcourt on the offensive glass, allowing them 21 offensive rebounds.
In their previous game, a loss to DePaul, USF allowed 17 offensive rebounds.
“There’s a lot of areas we can point to, but nothing puts the game into perspective the way the rebounding does,” coach Robert McCullum said on WTBN 570 AM’s post game show. “They got their own rebounds time and time again and basically, that tells the story.”
A subplot to the story was two lengthy TCU scoring runs. Midway through the first half, the Horned Frogs pulled away with a 12-0 run and led by 13 at halftime.
Then, with about 10 minutes left in the game, TCU blew the game open with a 16-2 run and their lead hovered around 20 until the final buzzer.
The main characters for USF were Brian Swift and Terrence Leather. Swift, a senior guard, finished with 13 points and five assists while Leather had 13 points and 10 rebounds, his 10th double-double of the season.
The role of USF’s nemesis belonged to TCU’s Nile Murry, who had a game-high 19 points to go along with his 10 rebounds.
Providing a plot twist were sophomore guard Marius Prekevicius and center Konimba Diarra.
Diarra, a sophomore, got the first start of his career and had a career-high seven points and five rebounds. This was Prekevicius’ first start since he injured his knee early this season. The two replaced Collin Dennis and Solomon Jones respectively in the starting lineup.
“It was clearly just a coach’s decision,” McCullum said. “We thought they were the guys who were prepared to play. So that’s who we went with.”
USF struggled from the floor, shooting 31.6 percent for the game. The Bulls also missed 16- of -22 3-point attempts.
“We couldn’t make shots,” McCullum said. “We couldn’t make plays against their defense.”
For the game, USF was out-rebounded 51-33.
“They were just so physical, so much stronger, a lot quicker to the basketball and to long rebounds and loose balls,” McCullum said. “I think physically we were almost manhandled.”
After the game, McCullum said it could have been worse.
“We’re very fortunate they shot free throws so poorly,” he said. “Because otherwise, the final score really would have been ugly.”
So much for a happy ending.