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Bulls’ Big East struggle continues

Published: Monday, January 14, 2013

Updated: Monday, January 14, 2013 00:01


In its third straight Big East loss, scoring and rebounding were two weaknesses among many that were fully exposed for the men’s basketball team as it fell by almost 30 points to No. 3 Louisville in a 64-38 game Saturday afternoon.

The Bulls (9-6, 0-3),struggled from the tipoff as the Cardinals (15-1, 3-0) jumped to a crushing 19-3 lead halfway through the first period,
helping Louisville gain their 10th straight win.

The Cardinals defense showed up to play as well against a USF squad that couldn’t seem to get the ball rolling in the Big East. Louisville left little opportunity for the Bulls’ offense to get going, as they couldn’t find a way to score into double figures until there was 5:45 left in the first half.

 With the energy of the team questioned by USF coach Stan Heath after last week’s home loss to Villanova, Saturday’s performance may bring up a similar question with the Bulls heading deeper into conference play.

Shooting 26.7 percent on the night, USF totaled 38 points in the game — a season low for the Bulls and what the Cardinals had at halftime.

Scoring in the paint also proved difficult for USF as the Cardinals put up 36 points, something that the Bulls found hard to match with only 14.

Coming out of the locker room at halftime, something needed to click for the Bulls and that something never happened.

Even USF junior forward Victor Rudd, who seems to shine even during poor team performances, was held to just 10 points for  the night as the Bulls’ leading scorer. Rudd, however, didn’t reach double digits until he made a jumper with six seconds left in the game.

While the shooting performance was well below average, USF also struggled from the line. Aside from freshman guard Javontae Hawkins who went 4-4 in free throws, the Bulls as a whole shot 52.4 percent to Louisville’s 88.2 percent. Hawkins finished as USF’s second lead scorer with nine points.

Rebounding, as it has been for USF, was another issue for the Bulls as the rebound difference between the two teams was staggering. Louisville ended up with 49 rebounds to the Bulls’ 24.

At this point in the season, starting off the conference season at 0-3 in the Big East, a turnaround for the Bulls is a must. The Bulls will have plenty to learn from this week given that Louisville exposed every weakness that USF could have.

A win on the road at Rutgers Thursday night may be the momentum boost that USF needs. After its game in New Jersey, the Bulls will
head back to the Sun Dome just three days later against Georgetown.

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