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Baxter nowhere to be found

Numerous turnovers, uncontrolled passing and all around sloppy basketball caused the Bulls to drop their Conference USA opener against the UAB Blazers 79-69. USF’s key players did not play to the level of skill that they have displayed this season, contributing to the poor performance.

“I’m just disgusted quite honestly,” USF Coach Seth Greenberg said. “We have some guys that have some stats, but we had some guys that just didn’t play — plain and simple.”

Junior guard Jimmy Baxter went 2-for-11 from the floor, contributing a season low of four points, while going 0-for-6 from the three-point line, another season low. Baxter did all of this while playing two minutes shy of a season high, being on the court for 38 minutes.

“He didn’t play well, it’s true he didn’t play well,” said Greenberg. “He didn’t catch it when they closed in on him; he didn’t drive the right gaps; he didn’t ball fake; he wasn’t catching the ball low and ready.”

Baxter has averaged 14.8 points and, until Wednesday’s game, had not finished without a three-point bucket. Baxter’s assists and steals also slipped Wednesday against UAB. The season’s second-highest scorer wound up struggling to tie with Marlyn Bryant for fourth.

A rhythm was not established in either half, shutting him down and rendering him useless on the court.

“The thing I know about a scorer is you try to not let him get started,” UAB coach Mike Anderson. “Our guys did a good job of finding him, whatever defense we played.”

Baxter scored his only points in the first half and failed to make anything happen in the second, playing 18 minutes and contributing zero points.

“I honestly thought he’d come out the second half trying to score more, but I think our guys did a good job of harassing him and not giving him good looks,” said UAB guard Morris Finley.

Other key players that failed to help out the Bulls Wednesday included Bryant, who went 2-for-5 from the floor scoring only four points, along with only one assist and zero blocks. Brian Swift also failed to catch a rhythm, playing 21 minutes and only posting two points.

The Bulls, who have won seven straight at the Sun Dome, stopped the streak, leaving their overall record at 7-5, including 0-4 on the road and 0-1 in C-USA. USF will face Marquette, a C-USA opponent Saturday in Milwaukee.