The USF men’s basketball team fell victim to the three-point shot against the Elon Phoenix of the Colonial Athletic Association by a score of 74-61 on Thursday night in the Sun Dome.
The Phoenix (2-1) came into the matchup ranked 13th in the NCAA in both shooting percentage and points, and the Bulls would find out early on that the three-point shot is the feisty Elon squad’s specialty.
The Bulls struggled to keep it close in front of a crowd of 2,206, as their turnovers and Elon’s sharp-shooting created a halftime deficit of 39-26. The Bulls’ leading scorer on the season, Penn State transfer Geno Thorpe, got into foul trouble early, with his absence on the court making it plain to see just how much the team relies upon his offensive output.
But it was the team’s turnovers in potential momentum-swaying moments that USF coach Orlando Antigua pointed to as the primary reason the team lost.
“We knew going in that they’re a team that was averaging close to 98 points a game,” Antigua said. “We didn’t give ourselves enough of an opportunity, we have to do a better job of taking care of the ball and…finishing at the basket.”
Elon’s Brian Dawkins and Steven Santa Ana led the team with 13 points apiece, and the team’s eight made 3-pointers at a 40 percent clip were a crucial factor in creating the halftime lead, which would never be seriously threatened.
Despite his lengthy absences due to foul trouble, Thorpe led the Bulls with 16 points as Michael Bibby Jr. provided 15 of his own, including two 3-pointers and five made free throws on five attempts.
The team looks to bounce back Saturday in a home tilt against Rider.
“I’m excited to see how (the players) come tomorrow to practice…with such a quick turnaround it becomes a tough game,” Antigua said.