There was a clock malfunction that delayed tip-off 10 minutes, but that was about the only thing that went wrong for the South Florida men’s basketball team in its 80-41 win Tuesday against West Florida at the Sun Dome.
It was the first of two exhibition games for the Bulls, who start their regular season Nov. 14 against Southern Methodist.
“There isn’t much you can really take from a game like this,” USF coach Stan Heath said. “I thought we put pressure on them defensively, and we forced them into some mistakes.”
The Bulls had five new faces making their debuts, and freshman Eladio Espinosa made the biggest splash. Sophomore guard Dominique Jones had a new number, 20, which he wore in high school.
Espinosa had 11 points, five rebounds and three high-flying dunks. He also played 31 minutes without picking up a foul.
“Eladio Espinosa, I thought, did a really nice job out there,” Heath said. “He was real active and I thought he showed some of his skills.”
Jones said Espinosa brings an acrobatic game to the Bulls.
“He plays hard, he rebounds, and we’re confident in him doing what we know he can do,” Jones said. “We know he can do the things we need him to do.”
Jones led the Bulls with 26 points and nine assists. Heath said Jones was in midseason form.
“For the first couple minutes, I had butterflies,” Jones said. “I was kind of nervous, but I got into it after a while.”
The Bulls weren’t perfect, however, as they shot only about 55 percent from the free-throw line.
Heath was also concerned about USF’s lack of depth at the center position, where the Bulls have just two players active. Senior B.J. Ajayi fouled out and Aris Williams had four fouls, one shy of the limit.
“Our interior is a big question right now,” Heath said. “We’re shorthanded a little bit when in comes to depth.”