With teams like West Virginia, Arizona, and Butler losing to Division 2 teams in the past week, you had to wonder if USF would suffer the same fate when they traveled down I-275 to take on Tampa last night. Thankfully the Bulls quickly put those fears to rest, jumping out to a 22-4 lead and cruising to a 75-43 win over the Spartans.
Augustus Gilchrist led all scorers with 21 points, and Ron Anderson Jr., Victor Rudd, and Shaun Noriega each chipped in 11 points for the Bulls. Toarlyn Fitzpatrick almost had a double-double with eight points and 11 rebounds, and Rudd also grabbed 9 rebounds for USF. For the Spartans, Stefon Barfield and Ashton Graham each had 11 points for UTampa, and Ted Amendola had 8 points as well.
Couple of thoughts as I go through the box score.
- The posts had their way tonight. Tampa could do nothing to stop the USF bigs, and it seemed like every trip down the court resulted in an easy layup. While this IS a D2 school USF played against, it was still nice to see them produce like that.
- Was really interested to see LaVonte Dority get the start tonight. Heath has talked a lot about Blake Nash and Anthony Collins throughout the offseason, but Dority came in and ran the offense well tonight. While you'd hope to see LaVonte put the ball in the basket a bit more, I can't complain with his four point, five assist, two steal, one rebound effort. More importantly, Dority did not commit a single turnover tonight.
- Speaking of turnovers, great to see USF only give up four turnovers for the entire game. After last year's squad giving up 18-20 a night, I will take four turnovers every time.
- If there is one negative, it had to be the free throw shooting. You have to do better than 47% from the charity stripe if you want to win those close games we lost last season. I'm sure Heath will get on them about that.
- Was a little surprised about Noriega starting over Hugh Robertson, but I guess with Jawanza Poland out for the first month of the year, he would like the versatility of Robertson on the bench while the depth at wing is a little thin.
- Always happy to see Alberto Damour get some playing time. Looks like Damour takes the USFHVC crown with Jordan Heath no longer on the roster.
USF gets the regular season started next week as they host Vermont at the University of Tampa's Bob Martinez Center next Saturday.