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Men’s basketball not overlooking Stetson

The Hatters host the Bulls for Stetson’s home opener riding an 11-game losing streak dating back to last season, which is the second longest losing streak in school history.

Coach Robert McCullum is still weary of the winless team.

“No way we will overlook them; we can’t afford to overlook anyone,” McCullum said.

The Hatters are coming off their closest game this season, in which one of the preseason Atlantic Sun Conference favorites, Gardner-Webb University, won 70-68.

The Bulls are coming off a 72-66 win against Georgia Southern in the consolation game in the Price Cutter Classic. Senior James Holmes led the Bulls with 24 points as he increased his average to 20 points per game.

USF has been hampered by injuries all year. Only six players have seen action in all five of the Bulls’ games this season.

Junior guard Chris Capko, who has seen considerable playing time, was shocked by how much it’s increased.

“I like to play a lot, but I never thought I’d play 39-40 minutes a game, or 49 like I did the other day,” Capko said.

Capko, Holmes, senior center Solomon Jones and junior forward Melvin Buckley are all averaging more than 35 minutes a game this season.

The Bulls have also been plagued by turnovers this season, as well. USF is averaging 23.8 turnovers a game with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1-2.

“We could do a better job of taking care of the basketball,” McCullum said. “That has been our biggest problem. We turn the basketball over far too much.”

Despite their record, the Hatters force 17 turnovers and average 7.5 steals per game. While USF must cut down on its turnovers, it has to try to contain E.J. Gordon, Anthony Register and Will Holloman tonight, all of whom average over 12 points per game. Holloman scored a career-high 21 points against Gardner-Webb on Saturday.

The Bulls lead the all-time series against the Hatters 14-7, and USF won its last meeting against Stetson 93-65 on Nov. 26, 2004. The Bulls have won their last eight consecutive meetings against Stetson.