Welcome to USF, Victor Rudd Jr.
USF may have found its next star Monday night against Marist in a comfortable 81-67 victory over the Red Foxes (0-2) at the St. Pete Times Forum.
Playing in his second game, Rudd, a sophomore transfer from Arizona State, took control when he exploded for 20 second-half points, giving the Bulls an idea of who their go-to scorer may be as the season wears on. Rudd finished with a game-high 30 points.
“I was just getting good looks,” Rudd said. “If any other player had been scoring that well, it would have been him who kept getting the ball.”
Rudd’s impressive performance was the story of the game, given that the Bulls had only one 30-point performance all of last season – Augustus Gilchrist’s 32-point night against DePaul.
“I’ve been bragging a bit on Rudd, and I didn’t want to be eating crow, so it was nice to see him have a good game,” coach Stan Heath said. “He showed a lot today, posting up, mid-range, a few 3s, showed a pretty good package.”
The Bulls were fueled by Rudd’s second-half points, nine of which came in a 15-0 run for the Bulls, taking them from a 46-42 deficit to a 57-46 lead. The Bulls never trailed from there.
Gilchrist notched a double-double and finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds, after only three first-half points.
One of the few issues for the Bulls was poor defense following timeouts. Marist managed to get two easy lay-ups and an open 3-pointer on set plays after timeouts.
“We need to work on our baseline defense,” Heath said. “There were three times that we made mistakes, out of 10 chances. But the mistakes were noticeable, and came at times when we wanted to put the game away. Those kind of mistakes are unacceptable.”