What started as a joyous evening for the Bulls quickly became a nightmare for Coach Heath as his Bulls were trounced 74-56 by the UCF Knights. USF hung their NCAA Tournament banner, packed the newly renovated Sun Dome, and invited former basketball players and staff to return home for the joyous occasion, but it was a night to forget.
UCF took the lead early and never faced a serious threat, although USF did make a few plays to get the crowd excited. The Bulls struggled on both ends of the floor. USF shot just 36% from the floor, and their defense faltered as well. The Knights shot 50% from the field and outrebounded the Bulls 41-22. USF didn't have enough size in the paint, allowing Keith Clanton and the Knights to dominate the boards and get easy baskets. At the other end, the Bulls paid for taking bad shots because they couldn't get any second opportunities.
A small bright spot was JAWANZA!, who tallied a career-high 22 points, three rebounds and three steals off the bench. Anthony Collins had just five points and six assists, but turned the ball over three times, couldn't get to the basket very well, and wasn't able to get the offense going. Victor Rudd shot 3-for-12 for only five points.
The next few games are against lesser opponents, which will give Coach Heath a chance to work on the team's rebounding and shot selection. Both will need to improve for USF to be able to compete against quality competition.