Rutgers falls to USF for sixth straight loss

Junior forward Jonathan Mitchell and senior center Hamady Ndiaye each had double-doubles, but it wasn't enough as Rutgers fell for a sixth straight time, a 73-64 decision against South Florida. The average margin of losing is 15.5 points during the streak as leading scorer Mike Rosario's poor shooting continued. USF was led in scoring by Dominique Jones' 20 points.

Not even playing South Florida, one of the lower-rung teams in the Big East, was enough to pull Rutgers from its nearly month-long drought.

The Bulls never trailed, and spent much of the second half enjoying a double-digit lead, as the Scarlet Knights dropped their sixth straight, a 73-64 decision at the Sun Dome in Tampa, Fla.

Rutgers (9-8, 0-5 Big East) was led by junior power forward Jonathan Mitchell, who registered his first career double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Center Hamady Ndiaye added 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots as the freefall continued.

The Scarlet Knights haven't won since a Dec. 22 blowout of St. Peters, with the average margin of defeat being 15.5 points during the losing streak. It also doesn't figure to be easy when they return to action Wednesday against No. 4 Villanova on Wednesday at the Rutgers Athletic Center.

USF improved to 11-6, including 1-4 in the Big East.

"I don't think any game is a must win game,'' Rutgers coach Fred Hill told reporters after the game. "You always want to win the next game you go out and play, and that's what we talked about. Every game on the road is very difficult.

"People are going to look at South Florida's record and say ‘wow you have to win the next one', looking at our record you have to win this one or that one. We approach every game as the next game. We have to go out and play to get better.''

The Scarlet Knights committed 19 turnovers, which was one more than the Bulls.

"Early on, we weren't turning the ball over,'' Hill told reporters. "The last three or four games we have been struggling turning over the ball. You can't turn over the ball 19 times and expect to win a game, especially on the road.''

Rutgers leading scorer Mike Rosario continued to have shooting difficulties. He didn't score in the first half, was 4 for 16 from the field and finished with 13 points. He is in a 13 of 60 (.217) shooting slump.

USF was led by Dominique Jones' 20 points.

"Mike's been really struggling right now,'' Hill told reporters. "He's been our go to guy. He's got to be consistent and efficient...I'm very impressed with Dominique Jones. I think we did a heck of a job on him and he didn't force things. He let the game come to him and he winds up having 20 points, but very efficiently."

Rutgers trailed 33-25 at the half, and never got closer than 40-34 after the break.

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