Cousins, Bulls angered in lopsided loss to East Carolina

Cousins scored a team-high 13 points against East Carolina despite shooting 30 percent from the free-throw line.

With 12:10 left in the second half, senior Jaleel cousins trudged off the court after picking up his fourth foul, sending an aggressive hand slap coach Orlando Antigua’s way as he passed.

Nothing went right in USF men’s basketball’s senior-day finale at home on Wednesday night. The Bulls’ season to forget is nearing its end, but after falling to East Carolina 52-39 in front of an announced crowd of 2,957, the frustration remains.

“I don’t really know where everyone’s heads were at,” senior Jaleel cousins said following his final game in the Sun Dome.

The stats speak for themselves: 27.8 percent from the field on 54 shot attempts, 44 percent from the free-throw line and just 6.7 percent from beyond the arc.

USF’s 39 total points were the third fewest in the program’s 45-year history.

“Defense was good enough for us,” Antigua said. “Just offensively, obviously, we didn’t take advantage of the extra opportunities.”

Despite going 3-for-10 from the charity stripe, Cousins was USF’s only consistent offense. He scored 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting even though he sat for solid chunk of the second half.

Defensively, USF was able to inhibit much scoring from the Pirates who shot 36 percent. But woeful shooting from the Bulls’ kept them from taking any charge.

“I’m disappointed for the seniors,” Antigua said. “Their last home game, for them to have that kind of an outing.”

Despite the agony of yet another lopsided loss for USF, let alone on senior night, Cousins tried to stay focused rather than let the game get to him.

“I had to just mentally lock in because there was a lot of frustrating moments and I was frustrated in myself for how I was shooting free throws and some of my shot selections,” Cousins said. “You can’t get caught up in it because that’s when you just shut down and I’ve had problems in the past with shutting down.

“I just tried to keep playing and help my team in some way.”

The one sliver of a silver lining came before the frustration set in when walk-on senior Tre Bryant got his first start. The pregame hype and festivities may have played a role in the lack of focus.

“When we started, we had a bunch of energy, but I don’t fell that energy wasn’t put towards the game,” Cousins said. “Like everyone was happy and it was senior night, but it wasn’t like, I’m happy and I’m going to go ahead and just play.”

With this loss already out of his head, Antigua has 72 hours to recoup before the Bulls’ travel to Tulsa for their regular season finale on Saturday at 5 p.m.