With South Florida’s biggest victory in coach Seth Greenberg’s seven-year tenure against Memphis on Jan. 18, the Bulls looked like they would have a positive second half of the season.
That thought looked bleaker after Saturday’s 68-62 loss at East Carolina.
“It is a long season,” Greenberg said. “Our guys played their hearts out yesterday. They mismanaged two possessions.”USF suffered more than a double overtime loss when senior center Will McDonald was charged with false imprisonment and battery (domestic violence) early Friday morning.
McDonald did not travel with the team, and Greenberg would not comment on his suspension.
McDonald, USF’s leading scorer and rebounder, was missed in both categories against the Pirates.
Junior Jimmy Baxter was the only Bull to score in double figures, posting team-high 25 points.
Senior point guard Reggie Kohn, recently asked to be more aggressive, was 2-of-13 shooting, scoring only six points.
“He got very good shots,” Greenberg said. “He got in the lane. I have no problem with the shots he took.”
Both teams had trouble finding the rim as USF shot 33 percent, and ECU connected on 29.5 percent of its shots.
USF’s lack of scoring provided plenty of rebounding chances for the Pirates.
ECU’s Erroyl Bing grabbed 24 total rebounds including 12 offensive boards.
Bing’s access to the glass was eased by USF playing guards Kohn and Brian Swift simultaneously.
“Reggie or Brian in the zone had to seal down in the inside,” Greenberg said. “We went to the 2-3 and they made some threes. We went back to the 3-2, and it puts Brian or Reggie blocking out the weak side.”
Junior Gerrick Morris started at center alongside freshman Yusuf Baker who played the power forward position.
Morris led the Bulls grabbing 11 rebounds and blocking four shots.
“I thought Gerrick gave us great minutes,” Greenberg said. “He rebounded, blocked some shots and finished around the basket.”
Baker finished the game with four fouls and only played 13 minutes.
His foul trouble caused Terrance Leather to slide from the small forward to the power forward position.
Leather scored eight points while posting five rebounds.
“He played well,” Greenberg said. “I was disappointed in his rebounding, (but) he has played pretty well.
“We are asking a lot of him. He is playing small forward most possessions and power forward the next.”