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Bulls host surprising Seton Hall on Friday

Published: Thursday, January 12, 2012

Updated: Thursday, January 12, 2012 02:01


The men's basketball team returns home Friday night to welcome Seton Hall, one of the most surprising teams

early on in Big East play.

The No. 24 Pirates (15-2), picked to finish 13th in the preseason media poll, come to Tampa second in the Big East with a 4-1 record in the league, just a half game back of undefeated No. 1 Syracuse. Seton Hall lost 75-49 to the Orange in the Big East opener Dec. 28. Their only other loss of the season came on a neutral floor to Northwestern 80-73 in the Charleston Classic.

Seton Hall is led by forward Herb Pope, who averages a double-double with 17.5 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. Jordan Theodore (16.5) and Fuquan Edwin (14.9) also average double figures in points.

USF (9-8, 2-2) is coming off a 60-49 loss at Notre Dame on Tuesday night, which ended a two-game Big East winning streak.

Guard Jawanza Poland, who made his season debut Dec. 19 in a win over Cleveland State, is finding his rhythm after a long spell on the sidelines with a back injury, averaging 11 points per game. He scored 12 points off the bench against the Fighting Irish.

USF lost 64-55 at Seton Hall in last season's Big East opener. Guard Hugh Robertson led the Bulls with 14 points in that loss, though Poland and forward Augustus Gilchrist were also in double figures.

USF is 8-1 at home this season and 4-1 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, with the only blemish being a 60-57 loss to defending national champion Connecticut on Dec. 28.

Tipoff at the Forum is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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