On a day when DePaul’s go-to man was out with injury, USF’s star forward had a career game.
Junior Augustus Gilchrist poured in 32 points and grabbed eight rebounds, helping the Bulls pull away from DePaul 86-76 on Saturday. He and the other Bulls big men outmuscled the undersized Blue Demons.
Without star forward Cleveland Melvin, who was out with a sprained thumb, DePaul could not match USF’s size and power, which led the Bulls to 36 points in the paint and a rebounding advantage of 33 to 19. Jarrid Famous scored 15 points off the bench, including five easy dunks. The team had nine dunks in the game.
USF (9-20, 3-13) led most of the game with help from Gilchrist’s 20-point first half. An altercation between the teams in the second half forced referees to stop the game and dole out three technical fouls. DePaul (7-21, 1-15) used this to pick up its defensive intensity, forcing USF to commit eight second-half turnovers.
With 9:04 to play, USF got a five-second violation after Toarlyn Fitzpatrick failed to inbound the ball in time against DePaul’s full-court pressure. Brandon Young, who finished with 23 points for the Blue Demons, made a quick layup to cut USF’s lead to just two.
The Bulls regained their composure after a timeout and went on a 10-2 run in the next six minutes to build a comfortable lead. Gilchrist scored five of his 12 second-half points at the free-throw line in the final 1:05 to end DePaul’s chance for a comeback win.
Despite committing 14 turnovers, the Bulls passed well, consistently finding the open man. The team had 19 assists, six more than its average.
USF scored a season-high 86 points and finished with four players in double figures. The Bulls shot 57 percent and made 7-of-12 3-pointers. They also made 23-of-31 free throws.
Shaun Noriega and Hugh Robertson scored 13 and 12, respectively. Ron Anderson Jr. added eight points and 10 rebounds. Two of the Bulls’ three conference wins this season have come against DePaul.
The Bulls host their final game of the season against No. 6 Pittsburgh on Wednesday at 9 p.m. at the Sun Dome. The Panthers defeated USF 67-55 in the teams’ previous meeting Feb. 16.