USF men’s basketball got a season-opening win Tuesday night with an 80-63 victory over Alabama A&M inside the newly-named Yuengling Center.
“We didn’t lose our poise,” head coach Brian Gregory said after the Bulls briefly let A&M take a 41-40 early in the second half. “Games are gonna be tough. We’re a work-in-progress.”
Sophomore guards David Collins (17 points) and Justin Brown 16 points) helped pace the Bulls on a night where seven players made their USF debut.
- Freshman guard Xaiver Castaneda (nine points)
- Redshirt junior guard Laquincy Rideau (eight points, 10 assists, four steals, five rebounds),
- Freshman forward Michael Durr (six points, three rebounds)
- Redshirt freshman forward Alexis Yetna (three points, nine rebounds)
- Sophomore forward Mayan Kiir (four points, first ejection of the year)
- Redshirt senior guard TJ Lang (10 points)
- Junior forward Antun Maricevic (four points, four rebounds)
Lang started the scoring with a three on the very first possession of the night to give the Bulls an early 3-0 lead that they’d only briefly give up only to take it right back.
Turnovers (11) and poor free throw shooting (5-of-11) plagued the Bulls in the first half and allowed the Bulldogs to erase a double digit deficit to end the half only down 34-31. USF turned the ball over six times in the final five minutes of the half.
“We had 20 turnovers (in the game). That’s 20 empty possessions where you don’t get a shot,” Gregory said.
The Bulls started slow in the second half before shooting nearly 70% in the half to pull away from the Bulldogs. A&M took their only lead of the night four minutes into the second half and USF responded with a 14-4 run to essentially put the game on ice.
“I thought our guys responded to some adverse situations pretty well tonight,”which is good. The only way to get better in those situations is to be in those situations,” Gregory said.
USF will face Austin Peay next Monday, November 6 at the Yuengling Center at 7 p.m.
- USF shot 56% from the field, 42% from three, 61% from the free throw line.
- Brown scored ten of his 16 points in the second half.
- Every Bull that played scored at least three points.
- USF led for 39 minutes, and 28 seconds.