NOTEBOOK: USF hosts Saint Leo in open-door exhibition

USF hosts Saint Leo on Tuesday night in an open-door exhibition at the Yuengling Center. ORACLE PHOTO/BRIAN HATTAB

The first opportunity to see USF men’s basketball at the Yuengling Center since Game 1 of the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) final back in April comes Tuesday night.

USF faces Division II Saint Leo in an open-door exhibition in an effective dress rehearsal for the Bulls’ season opener against Arkansas Pine Bluff on Nov. 5.

The chance to play an actual opponent after weeks of practicing is welcome, according to coach Brian Gregory.

“I think our guys are excited to play against another competitor,” Gregory said. “This is Week No. 5 [of practice], so it’s been long.

“But it’s good to get out there and play against someone else. A team that is really, really loaded with its juniors and seniors — very veteran team with a new coach … it’ll be a good challenge for us.”

USF is coming off a 24-win season — the most in program history — which culminated in a CBI championship, the Bulls’ first postseason championship since 1990. All of USF’s starters are returning from 2018-19, with guard Laquincy Rideau being the only senior of the five.

Admission and parking is free, with tipoff scheduled for 7 p.m. The game will be televised on BullsVision and streamed on Bulls Unlimited on iHeartRadio.


Multiple Bulls pick up AAC honors

Five USF athletes earned weekly AAC honors, the conference announced Monday.


Senior running back Jordan Cronkrite was named to the conference Honor Roll for the second time this season following a 129-yard, two-touchdown game in USF’s 45-20 victory against East Carolina on Saturday.

Cronkrite’s effort was his third 100-yard rushing performance in four games.

Women’s soccer

A trio of Bulls earned conference honors following a 2-0 week in which USF outscored its opponents 4-1.

Sophomore Sydney Martinez was named Goalkeeper of the Week for the first time this season after making five saves between the two games, including her third clean sheet of the season in a 1-0 victory against Cincinnati on Thursday.

Senior striker Evelyne Viens earned Offensive Player of the Week for the fifth time in 2019. She scored goals in both games, including the game-winner in the third minute against Cincinnati, her sixth game-winner of the season.

Junior defender Fanny Pelletier-Laroche was named to the conference Honor Roll. In addition to her 158 minutes on a back line that only allowed 12 shots, Pelletier-Laroche scored the game-winning goal against East Carolina on Sunday.

Men’s soccer

Junior forward Adrian Billhardt was named to the conference Honor Roll after scoring his first official goal of the season Tuesday against No. 24 FIU.

Billhardt’s goal came on a free kick from just outside the 18-yard box in the 62nd minute in the Bulls’ 2-2 draw against the Panthers.

USF moves up in ranking

For the first time since Oct. 7, USF women’s soccer is on the move in the poll.

The Bulls moved up two spots to No. 19 after a perfect 2-0 week.

USF has spent the entire season ranked, starting at No. 14 in the preseason poll before working its way up to No. 10. The Bulls ultimately fell as low as No. 22 on Sept. 30 before inching back up.

USF wraps up the regular season Thursday at UCF. With a win and any kind of dropped-point scenario for Memphis against Tulsa that same night, USF would host the AAC Tournament for the second straight year.

Regardless of results Thursday, the Bulls have clinched no worse than a No. 2 seed, earning a first-round bye in this weekend’s conference tournament.