With help from redshirt freshman Sean Kilpatrick, who had 18 points off the bench, the 25th ranked Cincinnati Bearcats (16-1, 3-1) defeated the Bulls (6-12, 0-5) 74-66, a seventh straight loss.
“We lost to a good basketballteam. They are better than what we’ve played in the last couple of years,” coach Stan Heath said. “They have good chemistry, defend and they are very physical. I think they set the tone for their physicalityand their size early in the game. I don’t think we played great. We had some miscues with the turnovers. Some I could understand and others were baffling to me.
“We did a few things well. We defended their big guys pretty well. Their freshmen really impacted the game – like Kilpatrick. Cincinnati is going to be a formidable opponent the rest of the year. I think they are for real. I really do.”
The Bulls gave up seven 3-pointers on defense and went three of 11 from beyond their own 3-point line. Time and effort on offense was mostly spent trying to advance the ball past half court. The Bearcat’s full court pressurefrustrated USF into having 18 turnovers.
“They have some guys that can really make some plays,” said Heath. “When they go to their full court pressure, it is really different when Darnell Wilks is in the game.”
Wilks, a senior forward, had four steals in the game.
Redshirt junior forward Ron Anderson Jr. scored 13 points off the bench to lead all USF scorers.Cincinnati’s double teams in the post held USF’s leading scorer, junior forward Augustus Gilchrist, to 11 points with 3-11 shooting. The Bulls succeeded in shutting down the Bearcats’ leading scorers Dion Dixon and Yancy Gates. However, they let Cincinnati’s bench account for 39 of their 74 points, outscoring the USF bench by 12 points.
The Bulls led 23-17 late in the first half but stagnant offense the rest of the game resulted in another USF loss in conference play.
For the second straight game, sophomore guard Jawanza Poland contributed with exciting athletic plays on both ends – scoring 10 points on 5-7 shooting.
Unfortunately for South Florida, he fouled out of the game with seven minutes remaining.
The Bulls continued to struggle to find the basket in their half court offense. They stuck to the pattern they established this season – keeping the game at an arm’s length only to fade out of contention at the end.
The Bulls made runs, cutting the lead to four twice, but just like their last game against Louisville, the Bearcats overpowered the Bulls in the post and were able to hold off the best of USF’s attempts.
The Bearcats bounced back from their first loss of the season, improving to 4-3 all-timeagainst South Florida in Big East play. Wednesday’s defeatleaves the Bulls searching for their first conference win heading into Sunday’s game against Providence.
Coach Stan Heath and his team hope to get their first win in almost a month when they take on the Friars at noon in the Sun Dome.