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USF men’s basketball gets off to a hot start in season opener

USF men’s basketball won its season opener 80-63 on Tuesday against Alabama A&M at the Yuengling Center.

The Bulls (1-0) jumped to a 10-2 lead after a pair of T.J. Lang 3-pointers. Lang, a redshirt senior, played 87 games for Auburn, but sat out last season due to transfer rules.

“Sitting out last year was probably the hardest thing I ever had to do,” Lang said. “But I had a great coaching staff that told me that my time was coming and keep being ready.”

The Bulls extended their lead to 15 points in the first half but gave up most of it by halftime. The Bulls led just 34-31 at the break.

USF shot 57 percent from the field for the game and 69 percent in the second half, making 10 straight field goals on dunks and layups.

“We went to a different zone offense where we kept the two big guys down low and we were just going to pound it inside,” coach Brian Gregory said.

David Collins led the Bulls with 17 points while LaQuincy Rideau handed out 10 of USF's 20 assists.

The Bulls shot 43 percent from beyond the three-point line. Justin Brown scored nine of his 16 points from beyond the arc and the Bulls outrebounded the Bulldogs 32-26.

The Bulls pulled away with 10 minutes left in the game on a pair of layups by Brown.

“I thought our guys responded to some adverse situations pretty well tonight,” Gregory said. “The only way to get better in those situations is to go through them. It’s not always great for the coach and the gray hair, but at the same time, it’s important for the team.”

On the downside, the Bulls missed seven free throws and turned the ball over 20 times. Gregory can see where his team can improve, even in victory.

“It’s a little, at times, trying to do too much, and at times being a little tentative,” Gregory said. “Seven new guys playing tonight that haven’t played against a zone live in a game in a long time.”