When one’s away from the comforts of home, the simplest things can become the most strenuous.
The USF men’s basketball team has found that out this season by playing to a record of 11-1 at home and 1-8 on the road.
When the Bulls played Houston on Jan. 29, they found out that even simple things seem more difficult on the road.
In a 59-57 loss to the Cougars, USF couldn’t connect on its free throws, a basic aspect of basketball.
USF shot 18.2 percent from the free throw line, and made 1-of-7 in the second half.
The 2-of-11 performance against UH was below the Bulls’ season percentage of 64.6.
“We are a better free throw shooting team than (2-of-11), that’s for sure,” USF coach Seth Greenberg said. “You have to make them. Shooting your free throws at a place you do every day is an advantage to some extent.”
When the two teams meet again Saturday at noon in the Sun Dome, USF will be aware of UH’s tendencies.
Playing a team previously in a season gives the Bulls more to work with than just their typical scouting report.
“One thing in scouting an opponent is that you play someone else, and another is when you have something concrete to prepare,” Greenberg said. “We have a good feel for what they are trying to do to be successful, and that gives us a better baseline for what they are going to do against us.”
One of the things that the Cougars did against USF was get the ball to Andrew Owens.
The Cougar guard scored 23 points against the Bulls, including five shots from behind the three-point line.
Last time the Bulls played an opponent for the second time, UAB’s Morris Finley scored 28 points in the first meeting and only six in the second.
“We don’t change what we are trying to do,” Greenberg said. “It is more how we are going to defend them, potential adjustments they are going to try and make, things they will try and take away from us and trying to be one step ahead from the adjustments they will try and make.”
The Cougars bring Conference USA’s No. 1 rebounder to the Sun Dome in Louis Truscott.
Truscott averages 12 rebounds a game and grabbed 11 boards against the Bulls earlier this season.
“I thought we did a good job on Truscott last time,” Greenberg said. “We did a good job of checking him out and keeping him off the glass.”
In order to be successful against the Cougars, the Bulls will need to control Owens and keep Truscott contained on the glass.
“You have to keep Truscott off the boards and make it hard for Owens to get into a rhythm,” Greenberg said. “You can’t let anyone else to have a career night.”