The Bulls of South Florida appeared to bully and outplay the USC Gamecocks in every category, but found themselves at the short end of a very physical and competitive game, that was everything but pretty. The visual is a follows, the Gamecocks shot the ball poorly in the first half going 11-32 (34.4%) from the field with 0-8 3-point shooting. The Cocks only faired a tad better in the second half shooting 12-30 (40.0%) and 2-9 from long range. South Florida (3-1) on the other hand appeared ready to bully the home squad taking a halftime lead of 29-35 on 13-25 shooting (52%) and 2-9 from long range. The poor shooting hindered recording significant assists, as the Cocks only tallied 3 for the entire game. USF Forward, Augustus Gilchrist provided much of the challenge in the paint for Gamecocks in the first half scoring inside and from the charity stripe to eventually lead all scorers with 19 points for the game.
Sam Muldrow who totaled 6 for the game, 19 offensive rebounds to offset poor shooting with second chance baskets which created 22 second chance points, hot shooting from the free throw line down the stretch hitting 11 of their last 14, (21-30 or 70% overall). Devan Downey scored 10 in the first half to help keep the margin close and finished with 17, Dominique Archie added 15 for the game, with perfect shooting (4-4) from the FT line.
The tale of two halves with USC finding themselves down by as many as 10 points early in the first half due to great shooting by USF, converted a great defensive effort in the second half to allow only 34.8% accuracy on 8-23 shooting. Points off turnovers in the first half went to the Bulls 9-4, but in the second half the Cocks took command of the turnover game scoring 9 points and allowing no points on turnovers and finishing the game with only 10 turnovers while causing 17 for their bullish opponents. With bench scoring, 4-6 in favor of USF, second chance points 10-10 and points in the paint, 20-16 favoring USC, all fairly close in the first half, USC turned it around in the decisive half with advantages in all categories; 18-4 points in the paint, 12-3 second chance points and 12-3 bench scoring. The second half was again a product of good coaching adjustments by Head Coach Darrin Horn and staff, using its depth to maintain constant defensive pressure and denying easy shots by the Bulls. With balanced minutes distributions for nine USC players, with only Archie and Downey exceeding 30 minutes, the Gamecocks were allowed to control the final half against a hard and physical game that saw the Bulls limited to a 7 player rotation primarily to post the 69-66 victory. [final stats]
Although an ugly shooting night and not a pretty general stat line. The Cocks and Coach Horn can be extremely pleased with a poised finish of a game full of adversities, challenges and struggles, resulting in a win categorized as a grinding solid team effort. Every USC player made a significant contribution in the victory.
Charleston Classic challenge Miami (4-0), a 67-60 winner over UNC-Wilmington. This will be a battle of two very well coached teams with up tempo styles and young aggressive philosophies. The Hurricanes are coached by Frank Haith.