Despite shaky shooting, USF men’s basketball finds success with free throws, defense

Laquincy Rideau (3) shot just 4-of-13 from the field Tuesday night, but was perfect from the free-throw line and finished the game with nine rebounds and five forced turnovers. ORACLE PHOTO/BRIAN HATTAB

In a game where neither team shot well from the field, USF men’s basketball (13-6, 3-4) found success elsewhere against Wichita State (8-9, 1-5) in its 54-41 win Tuesday night.

The Bulls shot only 30 percent from the field, but more than 31 percent from three-point range and 75 percent from the free-throw line.

“You just have to keep getting [to the free-throw line], guys are working hard on them,” coach Brian Gregory said. “We have a couple of the free-throw routines changed up, and I think you are starting to see.”

USF entered Tuesday night’s game shooting 62 percent from the free-throw line. Leading the way was David Collins, who made 7-of-8 free throws, and Mayan Kiir, who shot 5-of-7 from the free-throw line.

While the Bulls shot relatively poorly from the field, they were still better than the Shockers, who combined for a little more than 28 percent from the field.

The Bulls were able to disrupt the Shockers’ offense all game, forcing 20 turnovers and drawing 25 fouls. Additionally, the Bulls’ defense controlled the paint, securing 28 defensive rebounds.

Laquincy Rideau had quick hands throughout the game, with four steals and two defensive rebounds.

Michael Durr added two defensive rebounds and two blocks. Although Durr had three personal fouls, he was able to draw fouls of his own as he was perfect from the free-throw line (3-of-3).

“It wasn't pretty on offense but man it was really really good on defense,” Gregory said.

USF led almost the entire game — the teams were tied for just 13 seconds — but other than that, the Bulls were ahead for the rest of the time.

Wichita State closed some of the scoring gap when it came within five points with 4:48 left. Then the offense seemed to click for USF when it went on a 12-4 scoring run to seal the game.

Collins and Alexis Yetna made back-to-back three-pointers, with Collins also getting to the free-throw line twice in a row and converting all his shots. This later brought the Bulls lead back to double-digits.

“We just pretty much had to snap out of it and wake up, [Wichita State] hit us in the mouth and we had to respond,” Kiir said. “We just talked to each other, that helped a lot.”