With the USF SunDome undergoing renovation, our intrepid basketball reporter will follow the South Florida basketball team around the USF campus this season, as the team plays its games in different buildings across the campus. Check back after each home game for updates (hopefully).
Tampa - South Florida held off a late Vermont comeback bid to earn a 61-59 victory just off campus at the Museum of Science and Industry on Saturday night. It was the regular season opener for both squads.
USF got off to a slow start for the second game in a row. Head Coach Stan Heath said the team attended the 3:45 p.m. showing of "Tornado Alley" in the IMAX Dome. While the players enjoyed the film, he attributed the players’ early shooting and rebounding troubles to dizziness caused by the action film. The Catamounts outshot the Bulls from the field in the first half 50% to 38%.
To re-energize the team after the film, Coach Heath also had them ride the High-Wire Bicycle, a bicycle balanced on a 1-inch steel cable, suspended 30 feet above the ground.
"It probably wasn’t a good idea, as a couple guys got hurt horsing around," Heath said. Injuries befell Jawanza Poland and Anthony Collins, as they fell off the ride when they both tried to ride at the same time..
"The staff says the laws of physics make it impossible to fall off," Heath said "but they don’t normally have two guys both 6-foot-plus and 200lbs on there."
Vermont made it a game by keeping USF off the boards, outrebounding the taller Bulls team 34-32 for the game.
"I put them through the Sky Trail Ropes Course," Vermont Coach John Becker said. "It really made them focus on balance and positioning, which are important for rebounding. It helped us stay in the game."
Notes: The Bulls won the game despite only dressing seven scholarship players. Backup forward Tolaryn Fitzpatrick was a late scratch due to an acute relapse of ornithoscelidaphobia, the fear of dinosaurs. Assistant coach Andy Hipsher said the relapse was triggered after Fitzpatrick encountered Recyclosaurus Rex, a life-size sculpture of a dinosaur sitting in front of MOSI as a monument to recycling. Made of recycled steel beams and plastic fencing, Recyclosaurus Rex, stands over 25 feet tall and is nearly 40 feet long. Its belly is filled with aluminum cans and plastic containers.
After the game, Hipsher went into detail about Fitzpatrick’s affliction.
"He said it’s been a problem since childhood," Hipsher said. "He apparently went to a Magic-Raptors game in Orlando when he was 10 or 11 to see Florida-native Vince Carter. Early in the game, a Raptors player jumped into the crowd for a loose ball, and landed on Tolaryn. He’s been scarred ever since." Hipsher also said the game triggered in Fitzpatrick a less-acute case of canuckaphobia, the fear of Canadians
"Dinosaurs are one thing, but Canadian dinosaurs, yeesh," said an aggrieved Fitzpatrick. "Vermont's pretty close to Canada too, so I was already worried about these guys."