The men’s basketball team’s struggles continued Tuesday night as the Bulls were unable to get an offense going against another sub-.500 Big East team.
USF (6-20, 0-13) suffered its second straight double-digit loss as Providence (12-12, 5-8) blew out the Bulls 77-56 to extend the school record to 15 straight losses.
A lack of all-around offense led to the loss for USF. After being held to 4-for-22 from the field in the Bulls’ loss to Rutgers on Saturday, junior forward Melvin Buckley and senior guard James Holmes scored 27 points off three- pointers, but senior center Solomon Jones was held to a season-low three points.
“When you have two good guards from the outside and a good low-post player, you’re looking forward to being a good team. We have that, but it’s just all about us being consistent,” Jones said.
Jones, who came into the game averaging 13.6 points per game, failed to make a field goal for the first time all season. He missed the end of the first half and didn’t start the second half after he was elbowed in the face. Jones had to get stitches in his lip and only played 25 minutes.
“I’m all right,” Jones said after the game. “I just had to get a couple stitches.”
Center Randall Hanke scored 11 of his 21 first-half points as the Friars went on a 16-2 run to put the game out of USF’s reach.
“It was tough,” Holmes said. “When you let them get a run like that, it’s tough to come back from it.”
Buckley scored four three-pointers early in the second half to get the Bulls within nine, but forward Donnie McGrath answered with nine straight of his own to put Providence back up by 18.
The Friars outrebounded the Bulls 47-25, but that may not have happened if Jones, who came into the game averaging 10 rebounds a game, had not been sidelined for part of the game.
“It hurt us a lot because (Providence) had a lot of offensive rebounds, and I think I hurt (the team) a little because I wasn’t in there to try to get my 10 rebounds,” Jones said.
Holmes, who finished with a team-high 18 points, carried USF early in the first half as he made four early three-pointers. However, he was held to six points in the second half.
Buckley shot 5-for-17 from the field and finished with 15 points – all from beyond the arc – and a team-high five rebounds.
Jones, who earned a double-double in the Bulls’ previous three games, won’t give up despite USF having no chance to make it to the Big East tournament.
“I hope guys just keep fighting hard by not giving in to adversity,” he said.