Bulls lose at Notre Dame

The Bulls lost their luggage on the way to Notre Dame, but they didn’t lose their effort.

The team’s airline misplaced USF’s belongings en route to South Bend, and the Bulls had to play in practice jerseys Sunday as they fell 67-57 to Notre Dame at the Edmund P. Joyce Center.

“We actually always wanted to wear our black practice jerseys in a game,” said USF senior guard Jesus Verdejo. “We’ve been actually pushing to wear those. The whole
situation didn’t take away our focus — it was just some adversity we had to deal with.”

Verdejo, who finished with a team-high 18 points, tied the game at 51-51 with a free throw at the 9:47 mark. However, USF went missing on offense and didn’t score for eight minutes.

“When you have those droughts, I think it mentally wears on you,” said USF coach Stan Heath. “You miss one or two shots, and then it puts pressure on the next guy to make one. They just weren’t falling for us.”

Notre Dame senior guard Kyle McAlarney hit a crippling three-point shot with 2:48 remaining to extend the Irish’s lead to 58-51. McAlarney finished with a team-high 19 points.

“McAlarney hit some big three-pointers,” Heath said. “He hit some big shots late, and I thought that was the

The Bulls beat Notre Dame 33-32 in rebounds and were 11-for-13 from the free-throw line. Heath said he was impressed with improvements in that area.

“I think the main thing that it comes down to is the right guys were taking (free throws),” he said. “We had (sophomore guard) Dominique (Jones) and Jesus go 9-for-10 combined from the line.”

Despite trailing by nine at halftime, South Florida fought back to cut the lead to 45-41 five minutes into the second half on freshman Augustus Gilchrist’s layup.

The Bulls (8-16, 3-9) started 4-of-14 from the field. Senior Kyle McAlarney went 2-for-3 from the three-point range to help the Fighting Irish (14-10, 5-7) grab a 37-28 halftime lead.

“It’s tough when you fight back and play tough but then go on that scoring drought,” Verdejo said. “We didn’t play 100 percent — more like 85 percent.”

Jones, who is 27 points shy of 1,000 in his career, struggled to score, going 0-for-5 from three-point range and finishing with 14 points.

“Dominique wasn’t the normal Dominique because he’s going to get so much attention from opposing defenses,” Heath said. “Normally, you see him make some of the baskets that he missed in this game.”

The Bulls will host Georgetown at the Sun Dome on Wednesday night. The Hoyas are 4-8 in the Big East and are coming off a 98-94 overtime loss to Syracuse on Saturday.