Small-ball lineup leads way in win over Wofford

David Collins led all scorers in USF’s victory over Wofford on Thursday night. ORACLE PHOTO/BRIAN HATTAB

Coach Brian Gregory went with a bit of an unorthodox lineup in USF men’s basketball (2-2) matchup with Wofford (2-4) on Thursday night at the Yuengling Center.

Gregory went small, playing four guards and a center for the majority of the game in a 69-55 win over the Terriers.

The lineup ended up paying off for the Bulls as they held a typically good 3-point shooting team — Wofford entered shooting 36 percent on the season — to just 3-of-10 in the first half and 6-of-19 the entire game. The Bulls also held Wofford to its lowest point total of the season.

“When we’re really solid defensively, like we were today, we can be a very good defensive team,” Gregory said. “We’re not as big as we were three weeks ago, but we’ve still got to play a physical, hard-nosed, gritty, grimy style of basketball, especially on the defensive end. It’s amazing when you do that, you make more shots as well.”

That was certainly the case, as the small-ball lineup also paid dividends on the offensive end of the floor.

The Bulls had a very good shooting night, going 6-of-12 from 3-point range in the first half and 9-of-20 for the game.

“We always plan on us making a lot of 3s,” Gregory said. “We just got good shots, and we shot them with confidence. We rose up and shot like we were supposed to.”

As good as the small-ball lineup played, Gregory said there were still some things they need to work on before committing to that lineup in future games.

“We’re still in the process of getting our feet under us with some of those changes, and the little different system and style,” Gregory said. “We have to make a commitment and that puts a lot of onus on those guards to help us out in some key areas.”

The final score was indicative of how the game felt for the Bulls — comfortable. After taking an early 10-8 lead with 14:43 left in the first half, the Bulls never relinquished it. USF dominated the rest of the way, leading by as many as 24 early in the second half.

The Bulls were led by junior guards David Collins and Justin Brown. Collins led all scorers with 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field. Brown finished with a season-high 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting from 3-point range.

When asked about his shooting performance, Brown said he owes it to his teammates.

“My teammates, they just got me a lot of good open shots,” Brown said. “ I didn’t shoot so well the last game, but I’ve got a great support system with me on my team and everyone just keeps on telling me to shoot don’t let it get to my head. I just came out there today, they found me when I was open and I just let it fly.”

The Bulls now head to the Cayman Islands for their first tournament of the season, the Cayman Island Classic. USF faces Loyola Chicago on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. (TV: FloHoops|Radio: Bulls Unlimited)