USF follows close loss to Rutgers with No. 24 UConn on the road
The USF men’s basketball team lost to Rutgers this past Saturday, but the final score isn’t what people have been talking about.
Senior forward Victor Rudd’s explosive dunk over Rutgers 6-foot-7 freshman Junior Etou was so impressive that it was picked as the No. 1 play on SportsCenter’s Top 10. As jaw-dropping as Rudd’s dunk was, said he believes he has the ability to pull off more plays just like it.
“You have to be in the right position to get that kind of dunk off, but I can definitely do it again,” Rudd said.
The crowd at the Sun Dome went into a frenzy after the dunk, but unfortunately the Bulls were unable to harness that energy into a win. Rudd felt his dunk helped to give the Bulls a jolt of energy in the first half, but the team wasn’t able to feed off it for the entire game.
“I just thought it was a momentum changer,” Rudd said. “We started off that half slow and we were coming back, so that was the perfect time to have that sort of dunk.”
The Bulls’ lack of defense led to their defeat on Saturday and they are looking to improve in practice prior to Wednesday’s road game against No. 24 UConn.
Rutgers junior forward Kadeem Jack lit the Bulls up for 31 points in the 79-69 loss and USF coach Stan Heath believes the defense must improve for USF (12-12, 3-8) to have a chance against the Huskies.
“We just gave up way too many points to Kadeem Jack,” Heath said. “We have to regroup because UConn is playing as well as anybody.”
Rudd echoed Heath’s comments on the defense, saying it’s the main reason why the team lost against Rutgers and it must improve this week.
“They took over the game at the end with their big men and that’s something we’ve got to stop,” Rudd said. “We need to work on attention to detail defensively.”
UConn (18-5, 6-4) has won seven of their past nine games, averaging 75.3 points per game. The Huskies feature Shabazz Napier, one of the best guards in college basketball, averaging 17.7 points per game. Heath is focused on stopping him.
“Napier is arguably one of the best guards we will play against in the country,” Heath said. “Their two guards Napier and Boatright create a lot of problems. They make a lot of things happen and they make the guys around them better too.”
Rudd said he hopes to make spectacular plays in the future to energize his team but when it comes down to it, he said those plays aren’t what’s most important to him.
“I just want to win,” he said.
USF will travel to play the No. 24 Huskies in Hartford at 7 p.m. and will be broadcasted on ESPN2 and WatchESPN.