USF coach Stan Heath has seen better performances.
And the Bulls (16-11, 6-9) saw the better part of their postseason chances slip away Wednesday night, committing 22 turnovers and losing 74-49 at Villanova (23-4, 12-3) during senior night at the Pavilion, a venue where the Wildcats have won 37 straight.
“Just a nightmare when it came to taking care of the ball (Wednesday),” Heath said. “If I didn’t think they were good enough guards, it’d be a different story, but they’re too good of players and they’ve proven over the course of the season they could handle pressure. Tonight just wasn’t the night.”
USF was only trailing by six early in the second half, but a 9-0 Villanova run stretched the lead to 57-41 at the 6:32 mark.
Villanova relentlessly pressured USF each time the Bulls had the ball, especially on the perimeter. Junior guard Dominique Jones had six turnovers and 12 points on 2-of-12 shooting. The Wildcats scored 25 points from turnovers.
“We didn’t handle the ball well,” Heath said. “That translates to high field goal percentage because they’re shooting layups, and translates into us not scoring because you never get a shot at the rim.”
Heath said although USF was dealing with a defensively gifted opponent, the Bulls made their fair share of turnovers.
“Veterans would just throw the ball out of bounds,” Heath said. “Is there somebody in the stands you’re trying to throw a pass to? I couldn’t figure it out.”
USF went 16-of-43 from the field and continued its struggles from 3-point range, going just 3-of-13. Villanova shot 47 percent from the field.
After scoring just 10 points combined against St. John’s on Saturday, USF starting forwards Augustus Gilchrist and Jarrid Famous combined for 12 points Wednesday.
Villanova senior guard Scottie Reynolds, who came into the game averaging 19 points per game, scored 21 on 7-of-14 shooting,
“It was senior night; it was real emotional. The intensity level for Villanova was at a real high,” Heath said. “We tried to hang in there and battle. I thought for about 30 minutes we did. At some point, they turned it up one more notch, and we couldn’t stay at that level.”
The Bulls host Providence on Saturday at 7 p.m.