No. 21 West Virginia (13-5, 4-2) handed USF (7-14, 1-7) its ninth straight road loss Sunday.
Bulls’ scoring droughts allowed West Virginia to win 56-46, despite its own offensive struggles in a listless game marked by scrappy plays and trips to the free-throw line.
West Virginia posted its lowest point total of the season, but capitalized on numerous second-chance opportunities to get the victory.
The Mountaineers’ 21 offensive rebounds extended the team’s possessions and burned minutes that the Bulls desperately needed on the offensive end. USF was outhustled on both sides of the ball.
“To say it was an ugly game would be an understatement,” Heath said. “It was brutal for both teams offensively. We couldn’t throw it in the ocean.”
If there is one word to describe the Bulls this season, it’s “inconsistent.”
USF played tough defense at times and aggressive offense at others, but failed to balance the two for a sustainable run. The Bulls went scoreless for eight of the last nine minutes in the first half against West Virginia. In Thursday’s loss to Rutgers, USF didn’t get on the scoreboard until the 13:27 mark of the first half.
Times when the Bulls did find a way to score, they committed ill-advised fouls and quickly gave up baskets on the other end. When they finally started to defend with discipline, the Bulls were careless with the basketball and finished the game with 16 turnovers.
Despite being down by as much as 16 points in the second half, USF made a final push to get back into the game.
Augustus Gilchrist, who finished with a game-high 20 points, attacked the basket and got to the free-throw line at will. Jawanza Poland’s 3-pointer with 1:44 left in the game cut West Virginia’s lead to 47-41.
However, it was another case of too little too late for USF.
The Bulls have lost 13 games this season by nine points or less. In its sole win in the last 10 games, the team scored 50 points in the second half – four more than they scored in the entire game against the Mountaineers.
USF hopes to find a winning formula before Thursday’s home game against the DePaul Blue Demons at 9 p.m.