Bulls take toughness on road

It’s no secret to coach Stan Heath that his team doesn’t sit high in most shooting categories.

After a breakout offensive performance Saturday against Providence, however, USF (17-11, 7-9) will try to keep it in gear at DePaul (8-20, 1-15), which is on a 10-game losing streak, tonight at 7:30.

USF, which ranks ninth in the conference in free-throw shooting, made 32-of-38 in Saturday’s 99-93 win against Providence.

“I think it shows we (have) got some toughness,” Heath said of his team’s improvement from the line. “We’ve worked hard in that area, and it was good to see things pay off for us. It was good focus for our basketball team – just (to) stay with it.”

The Bulls enter ranked last in the conference in 3-point shooting at 29 percent, but they shot 32-of-56 from the field against Providence, more than making up for their 3-for-11 shooting from behind the arc.

At one point, the Bulls made 18-of-22 field goals, mostly because of easy buckets and good looks in transition, which Heath said he’d like to see more of against DePaul.

“I think that’s been what’s been missing from our team,” Heath said. “Everybody says, ‘Well, what’s been missing?’ We haven’t been playing as much in transition. We haven’t been defensive rebounding and maybe not getting as many deflections and steals as we need to get. If it’s three on three or three on four and we don’t have advantage numbers, we have to run a little offense.”

Heath said to compensate for USF’s 3-point shooting woes, the Bulls must be patient.

“There’s no secret that’s not our biggest strength: shooting the three,” he said. “We’re going to make some but we want to be selective … I told the guys, ‘That shot that they’re giving you early in the clock will be there late in the clock, so lets probe the defense more and have a little patience.'”