Trying to mask his frustration, Will McDonald draped a towel over his head, spending the majority of Monday’s game idle on the Bulls bench.
Fouls played a pivotal role in McDonald’s increased bench time, as he accumulated two after 12 minutes of the first half, then picked up two more in less than three minutes into the second.
“Just for the record, those referees were picking on me,” said McDonald.
Whether the officials were picking on him or not, the fouls stuck and McDonald was forced, not for the first time, to come out of the game earlier than desired. In the Nov. 26 match up against the Friars of Providence, McDonald picked up two fouls in the first two minutes of the game, limiting him to only five minutes in the first half. Although he picked up those early fouls, he was able to come back in and contribute the majority of the second half, which he was unable to do Monday, entering the game with only 5:34 left on the clock.
“I’d like to see him on the court,” said USF coach Seth Greenberg. “But Yusuf (Baker) was playing pretty good, and Brandon (Brigman) and (Marlyn) Bryant did a nice job. (McDonald) picked up his fourth foul. I’m not going to play him with 10 minutes to go when he picks up his fourth foul.”
Not only did McDonald suffer from foul trouble, but the Bulls as a whole also felt the woes of fouls, as they racked up a team total of 21. Five players wound up with three or more fouls. All five happened to be post players, including McDonald and Terrence Leather, who led the team with four fouls apiece.
“I wasn’t totally pleased with our floor position,” Greenberg said.
The poor floor position had to be credited to Lee Cook of Alcorn State, who went 7-of-17 from the floor and 10-for-14 from the line, netting him 24 points.
“That kid’s a good player,” Greenberg said.
Cook was able to draw out the large post players like McDonald and force them to guard high in the key and low in their stance, increasing the chance to pick up fouls.
“Brandon got caught on the wrong side a couple of times, the big kid (Cook) sealed him, and drove him back, he tried to get around him, he just didn’t do a good job of getting around him,” said Greenberg.
This was a recurring pattern throughout the game. One post player got into foul trouble and then was replaced by another, who also got into foul trouble.
Each player that came in to guard Cook fell into the same trap, causing the number of fouls to rise.
“That’s just Cook, that’s what he does well,” said Greenberg. “He’s a 6-foot-10 guy with some perimeter skills.”