Basketball teams look to end skids

MEN’S BASKETBALL GAME TIMEUSF (10-6, 1-2) at Providence (10-5, 1-2)When: Sat., 7Where: Duncan Donuts CenterTV/Radio: 1010 AM

The USF men’s basketball team will look to quickly erase the memory of its most recent defeat when it travels to Rhode Island to play the Providence Friars on Saturday.

The Bulls (10-6, 1-2) opened their Big East Conference schedule against Rutgers and came away with a decisive 68-45 win. Since then, USF has dropped two consecutive conference games – on the road against the Syracuse Orange and Wednesday night’s 79-66 loss to No. 18 Pittsburgh.

USF will be looking to end its skid against the Friars (10-5, 1-2) in Providence. Since joining the Big East Conference in 2005, the men’s basketball team has not won a conference game away from the Sun Dome.

Even though the Bulls started the season on a hot streak, senior center Kentrell Gransberry knows that winning games on the road is easier said than done.

“It’s going to take a lot of fight to go up to Providence and get a win,” Gransberry said. “Providence I haven’t seen yet. But I know that they are going to come out and fight hard.”

The Bulls will need to continue to get solid production out of Gransberry and freshman guard Dominique Jones.

Gransberry – who had 26 points and 11 rebounds in the loss to Pittsburgh – is averaging a Big East-leading 13.7 rebounds per game. Jones is leading the Bulls with 16.4 points per game.

In order to have any chance to make a postseason tournament, the Bulls need to improve in a very important area – free throws. USF is shooting an abysmal 64.9 percent as a team for the season. That ranks the Bulls 15th out of the 16 Big East Conference teams.

The USF players realize that earning wins is going to be a battle from here on out.

“It’s going to be very tough to go on the road,” Gransberry said. “It’s already tough to go on the road in the Big East. You can’t pick out wins, so you just have to go out, fight hard, and get a win.”