South Florida is looking for any positive to hold onto these days. Thus, even a victory over the Big East doormat gave the Bulls reason to feel good.
South Florida won for just the second time in 12th games when it defeated visiting DePaul 71-60 on Jan. 27. The Bulls (8-14, 2-7 Big East) sent DePaul to its 21st consecutive loss in the conference, a streak that dates to last season.
"I thought we played the right way," South Florida coach Stan Heath said. "I thought we shared the ball. I thought we picked up our defensive intensity. It was a good all-around game for us, one of the better ones we've played this season."
South Florida had one of its more efficient offensive games, as it shot 49 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range. It also had assists on 15 of its 24 field goals and averaged 1.13 points per possession.
South Florida will try to win two games in a row for the first time in more than two months when it visits Providence (13-8, 2-6) on Feb. 2. The Bulls have not won back-to-back games since beating Texas Tech on Nov. 27 and Virginia Commonwealth on Dec. 1.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE: South Florida has won just two Big East games this season, and one was against Providence, 79-72 at home on Jan. 16. Offensive balance was the key to victory, as five Bulls scored in double figures, led by Hugh Robertson's 17 points. The Friars' Marshon Brooks erupted for 28 points, and he is averaging 23.4 this season.
--South Florida had 13 turnovers Jan. 27, and DePaul had 14. That may not seem significant except for the fact that the Bulls entered the game last in the nation in turnover margin at minus-5.6.
--Sometimes you need some easy points, and USF was having trouble finding them. Against West Virginia on Jan. 23, they had no points off turnovers and no fast-break points.
--When South Florida lost by 10 points to West Virginia, it was only the second time this year the Bulls had lost by double figures.
BY THE NUMBERS: 0-9 -- The Bulls' record on the road this season. They are winless in five Big East road games.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It was an opportunity. We let it slip away." -- Coach Stan Heath on losing to a struggling Rutgers after having scored his first Big East victory over Providence.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
FUTURE'S MARKET: F Augustus Gilchrist continues to be the one bright spot. After scoring 14 against Rutgers on 5 of 6 shooting he hit for 20 against West Virginia on 6 of 12 shooting with 10 rebounds on Jan. 23.
--Junior F Hugh Robertson led South Florida with 16 points Jan. 27, the ninth time he had reached double figures in the past 12 games after doing so just twice in the first 10 games of the season. Robertson also made a key 3-point field goal with just over one minute remaining that gave South Florida an insurmountable 69-60 lead after DePaul had cut a 15-point deficit to six in a span of just under three minutes.
--Sophomore G Jawanza Poland's streak of 20 consecutive made free throws ended in the second half Jan. 27 when he missed a pair. However, he brought the Sun Dome crowd of 3,465 to its feet twice with thunderous dunks off alley-oop passes. Poland finished with 11 points.
--While junior F Augustus Gilchrist had a big game against West Virginia 20 points and 10 rebounds, he marred it by committing six turnovers while failing to record an assist.