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USF slips in Big East

After a 16 point loss to No. 7 Louisville last week, South Florida guard Shantia Grace said the Bulls could learn something from every defeat. The question after a 79-47 loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday is: What did they learn after a thumping from an unranked team?

“Our senior backcourt needs to play a lot better than they’re playing right now,” USF coach Jose Fernandez said.

Grace, USF’s leading scorer, was 2-for-10 from the field and 0-for-6 from three-point range.

“Our effort today was inexcusable,” Fernandez said. “We’ve got a lot of veterans on this team, we’ve got a lot of seniors and it’s really disappointing again. Our guard play was atrocious, just absolutely awful today.”

USF’s other two leading scorers, senior guard Jazmine Sepulveda and junior guard Janae Stokes, had a combined seven points.

USF led 13-11 with 12:27 remaining in the first half, but a 13-2 run in the final five minutes gave Pittsburgh a 37-19 lead at halftime.

“The players we count on playing well every day didn’t play very well in this game,” forward Porche Grant said.

The Bulls (14-5, 1-4) shot 26.2 percent from the floor, and their three-point shooting was no better.

South Florida made two three-point shots in the game.

“We learned we need to play harder,” Grant said. “We learned that we can’t take a day off in this league.”

Fernandez said he isn’t sure how to dig the team out of a 1-4 Big East start.

The Bulls are on the road again and play Providence (7-10, 1-3) at 7 tonight.

“I can’t put a finger on it, but you know what? We (the coaches) can’t play for them,” he said. “They need to be more accountable themselves for their effort right now because it’s only going to get tougher. If those guys continue to play the way they’re playing, it’s going to be a long conference season.”