Well, USF was unsuccessful in getting its first road conference win tonight, and allowed the Tulsa Golden Hurricane to end a six-game losing streak with an 82-68 win. Because WHO ELSE WOULD YOU BEAT TO END A LOSING STREAK?
I mean really, the game didn’t look pretty from the jump. (No pun intended because, really, I’m not that crafty.) Freshman guard Mike Bibby was out with a bad ankle, junior forward Bo Zeigler was a game-time decision due to illness. And the cherry on top: freshman forward Tulio Da Silva benched for the first half - a “coaches decision” for academic reasons. So, honestly, who was going to come off the bench? Jake Bodway? Henry Beard? Isaiah Manderson? Anyway…
The Golden Hurricane opened with a three pointer and trapped USF at half court to force them to burn a timeout less than a minute into play. Great. Then Tulsa came out of the timeout and hit back-to-back threes and hit two free throws to cap off an 11-0 run. Greater.
After the Bulls were held scoreless for the first three and a half minutes of play, junior center Ruben Guerrero grabbed USF’s first point on a free throw – and finished the half with a surprising 7 points. But that’s beside the point.
Miracles do happen because at 14:37 – after nearly SIX MINUTES of play – WE WERE BLESSED WITH A USF FIELD GOAL!!!!! Sophomore forward Luis Santos knocked down a jumper … and it gets better. TWO MORE POINTS. A layup from Zeigler, who did end up playing for two minutes, got the Bulls up to five points on the board. But then he was assisted off the court with a rolled ankle. Sigh.
OH. A POSITIVE THING: A disgusting dunk by Guerrero (which I feel like we haven’t seen in a very long time) happened.
With a minute to play, sophomore guard Troy Holston hit a three to get the Bulls within five points WHICH IS GREAT BECAUSE NOT TO BRING UP OLD NEWS BUT REMEMBER THE 15-1 OPENING. Tulsa responded with a layup but not before junior guard Jake Bodway had a nice little HALF-COURT STEAL TO LAY IT IN HIMSELF *insert smirk* … so who even really cares that the Bulls were down 39-34 at the half? Because that was glorious. And I’m biased. Oh and somehow USF was shooting 43 percent from the field. And Thorpe led ALL scorers with 13 points.
Two minutes into the second half, Da Silva checked in (yay) and freshman forward Malik Fitts hit back-to-back three pointers to get the Bulls within one point. An 8-0 run cut the Golden Hurricane’s lead to 43-42. And five minutes in Thorpe hit a three-pointer TO TIE THE GAME AT 47-47.
But like we say, nothing can stay gold forever. Santos, who limped off the court at the end of the first half, started the second half but checked out after two minutes and looked uncomfortable on the bench. Thorpe picked up his fourth foul and was replaced with Bodway. And Tulsa knocked down three straight shots from beyond the arc on a 9-0 run before Da Silva cut the deficit to seven with a layup.
Santos came back in at 15:48 and picked up two more fouls, one being a tech after a little push and chatter with Golden Hurricane forward Martins Igbanu. Thorpe, who scored 24 points, came back in with 8:30 to play and grabbed a steal, and proved that this team can’t really function without him.
Fitts hit a three-pointer with four minutes to play to cut the Golden Hurricane’s lead to 65-62. In the next three minutes, Tulsa went on a 7-1 run, and USF looked to come back from a 73-63 deficit … but it didn’t happen, because you know, USF men’s basketball.
With 46 seconds to play, Da Silva drew the and-one on a layup. But the score was 78-68. And he missed. And it didn’t really matter anyways. And the Golden Hurricane won 82-68. And bye.
USF is 7-20 and 1-15 in the league and no they’re not beating C. next Thursday at the Sun Dome are you kidding.