It’s not often you get to actually attend an inaugural basketball game! We were all pretty excited, truly. Then, before the game even tipped off, we were presented with this gem. And, well... way to start the season strong!
Some news before #USF tips off against FAU here at Sun Dome. pic.twitter.com/SnoeztO37F— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) November 11, 2017
Anyway, moving along to the #SHOOTYHOOPS.
After FIVE MINUTES of play, graduate transfer Stephan Jiggetts created history and grabbed the Bulls’ first points EVER.
Then, redshirt junior Malik Martin (who transferred last season from USC) knocked down a three for his first points in a USF jersey. And graduate transfer Payton Banks followed with a NICE block. YAY FOR ALL THE TRANSFERS. The Bulls were on a quick 9-0 run, while the Owls went 1-for-12 on 8 percent shooting. EIGHT PER. CENT. OKAY, USF. WE SEE YOU.
“You know, playing together with nine new people, the chemistry is going to be a process,” Jiggetts said.
The first dunk of the game came from Martin off a nice no-look pass from Jiggetts. It was actually really beautiful. I almost cried a little bit. And then things got a little quiet until freshman Justin Brown woke the Sun Dome up with a sharp three.
Even though USF didn’t hit ANY shots for the last 4:45 of the half, the Bulls went into the locker room up 33-29. Promising!
Within the first three minutes of the second half, the Owls tied it up 35-35. And then came a three from FAU senior guard Gerdarius Troutman. So there we were 38-35 and out of nowhere sophomore Tulio Da Silva decided to start playing NASTY. He ended the four-minute scoring drought with an easy dunk. And then followed up with another one, this time a little more vicious. AND ANOTHER ONE, WHICH WAS JUST DISGUSTING. Yes, three dunks in a row. At this point the Sun Dome was poppin’ and you couldn’t tell me (or probably anyone) nothin’!
During this time, the Owls went scoreless from the field … for like over five minutes. Free throws kept them at a close 43-41 BUT WE AIN’T SCARED. Because GUESS WHO DUNKED AGAIN. Yeah, Tu! This has to be some kind of record. Speaking of records, he racked up a career-high 20 points.
“I was so hype!” Da Silva said. “Just helping out my team.”
OK SPEED AHEAD TO THE FINAL MINUTE. Where ALL the dang hype went down. Jiggetts’ little body went to the lane, sunk a pretty floater, and took a one-point lead with 9.5 seconds to play. FAU heaved the ball out of desperity, missed, and allowed the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA’S MEN’S BASKETBALL TEAM TO REMAIN UNDEFEATED IN ALL HISTORY OF FOREVER AND EVER AMEN.
“We’re prepared for close game situations,” Jiggetts said. “As far as the coaching staff goes, as they trust us a trust them to do what we gotta do to get the W.”
But can we side note shift to center Nikola Scekic really quick, because at 7’2”, 250 lbs, everyone was pretty excited to see what he was going to be good at. Last basketball season, we used to talk about some guy that was primarily #BigForNothing, though I can’t remember who it was or where they were playing. And I don’t want to believe USF will have one of those, but #statsdontlie. He had 2 points on 0-for-4 shooting and 4 rebounds.
Anyway, as head coach Brian Gregory said, “Our guys figured out a way to get the job done ... Very pleased with the result. We had a great environment tonight.”
MARK IT IN THE BOOKS. STARTING A USF BASKETBALL PROGRAM THIS YEAR WAS A GOOD* IDEA.
* check back with me mid-season
LOVE YALL. SO GLAD TO BE BACK IN THE SADDLE.