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USF Basketball Opens Conference Play With 60-49 Loss To East Carolina

Of all the basketball games USF has ever played, this was definitely one of them.

NCAA Basketball: South Carolina at South Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

If you’ve kept up with the USF men’s basketball team so far this season, you know they’ve generally been a pretty good first half team, and a not-so-good second half team. Scratch that. In the Bulls’ conference opener tonight, we saw more of the “not so good” throughout both halves. leading to a 60-49 loss to East Carolina.

The first half was just sad. And I don’t mean that in a snarky way. It was actually discouraging and low-key painful to watch.

Things that went wrong:

  • In their first six possessions, the Bulls committed four turnovers. For much of the first half USF was averaging a turnover every minute.
  • Though sophomore guard Troy Holston saw action after missing four games due to a tweaked knee, he didn’t connect with the basket until 6.9 seconds left in the half (and we can usually count on him to hit a dagger three pretty quickly.)
  • At one point the Bulls were down 17-2. Yikes. The Pirates went on a 13-0 run over a five-minute stretch, before junior center Ruben Guerrero ended the drought with a jumper … and then ECU responded with back-to-back threes. *rolls eyes*
  • USF managed only 17 points and three assists ... accompanied by 15 turnovers. And the Pirates grabbed 20 points off of those turnovers. Not good.
  • Junior forward Bo Zeigler took a pretty hard fall under the rim, and limped off the court after lying face-down on the ground for a minute. He’s usually a pretty tough guy, so yeah, that was disheartening.
  • USF finished the first half shooting 28% from the field (ECU shot 48%) and was doubled up on the scorebord, 34-17. *insert crying emoji*

OK, I’m not going to just be a Negative Nancy the whole post. Especially since the second half was somewhat better than the first. So, even though we lost ….

Things that went well:

  • The Bulls only committed three more turnovers.
  • Zeigler was back on the court, so he wasn’t hurt too badly on the first-half fall. Always a blessing.
  • Junior guard Geno Thorpe was on fire. He put up 13 points in the second half and finished with 18 on the night.
  • With 12:22 remaining, the Bulls went on an 11-4 run, and cut the deficit to 10.
  • At 10:58 a Thorpe jumper cut the lead to eight (40-32). Yay, single digits!
  • USF outrebounded ECU 47-38
  • ECU pretty much just stopped attacking the way they did in the first half. We’ll take it.
  • The Pirates didn’t hit a FG for the final 9:08, decreasing their efficiency to 36%. USF’s increased all the way to 30%.
  • The Bulls were more competitive in the second half but couldn’t mount a serious threat to win. Still, a little less hurtful loss than it could have been.

Up next, USF will host Houston on Saturday for a noon tipoff.