Within their grasp

The men’s basketball team left the MCI Center on Tuesday night the same way it entered: winless in the Big East Conference.

The Bulls (6-11, 0-4) fell to Georgetown (11-4, 3-2) 50-47 in another game that came down to the last second. USF was close the entire game and was even up by six points in the first half and only trailed by as many as six after losing the lead.

Tuesday’s loss now makes three Big East games the Bulls have lost by a total of 10 points.

The Hoyas held a one-point lead at halftime 23-22 as junior forward Melvin Buckley led the team with eight points, finishing with 12 points and five rebounds. The Bulls were able to muster a 7-2 run late in the first half to keep it close going into the break.

USF could’ve had the lead at halftime, but missed nine straight field goals; however, the team still shot 40 percent in the first 20 minutes.Senior guard James Holmes, who led the team in scoring with 13 points, kept the Bulls in the game as he added three at the end of the first half with a lay-up and a free throw.

Senior center Solomon Jones scored 11 points and added 12 rebounds to earn his team-high eighth double-double of the season. However, despite his statistics – second on the team in scoring with 233 points – he said he needs to play better since the team still isn’t winning.

“It’s not good enough. We’re not winning with it, so it ain’t good enough,” Jones said. “I’ve got to find something else. Maybe it’s going to have to be a triple-double.”

Sophomore guard Collin Dennis, who had been sidelined with an Achilles’ heel injury, game off the bench for 28 minutes, scored three points and added a rebound.

The Bulls’ defense helped keep them in the game with its man-to-man coverage, forcing the Hoyas to go to reserves from the bench. In the end, Georgetown’s bench outscored USF’s bench 22-3, while dismal three-point shooting in the second half – one for seven from beyond the arc – held the Bulls back.

“It’s hard. We just keep coming up so close. It’s real hard, but we can’t keep our head down,” Jones said.

Coach Robert McCullum, who is on a five-game losing streak, was impressed with his team’s performance even though they came up short in the two teams’ fourth meeting. The Hoyas lead the series 3-1. The last time the Bulls beat the Hoyas was 70-60 on Jan. 6, 1973.

“I thought it was an outstanding effort. I thought our guys played really well defensively,” McCullum said. “We’ve just got to shoot better.”