Heading into Orlando Antigua’s first season as head coach of South Florida, a point of emphasis made would be the Bulls’ transition into a more aggressive, up tempo style of offense. The crowd at the Sun Dome certainly got a glimpse of what is to come as USF held off IU-Pennsylvania 77-72 in their first and only exhibition contest of the season.
Three particular players stood out for a particularly young Bulls lineup returning only three players to the entire roster. Senior guard Corey Allen Jr. made his impact felt throughout the entire contest, racking up 17 points, two assists, and one rebound.
It was Allen’s fearless aggressiveness in driving towards/attacking the rim that gave the fans a taste of what is to be expected from Antigua’s running offense moving forward.
With the game tight in early on in the second half, transfer junior Center Jaleel Cousins provided a huge presence inside that allowed the Bulls to somewhat distance themselves from IUP for the rest of the game.
Getting into foul trouble early on in the first half, the younger brother of Sacramento Kings superstar DeMarcus Cousins was able to provide a boost to a USF team struggling inside, providing 13 points, five rebounds, and three blocks.
“In the 1st half, I got into foul trouble with 2 fouls,” Cousins said after the game, “I kind of had to calm down a little bit and be less aggressive a tad bit so I could come back in the 2nd half and turn it up.”
Yet, certainly the impact star of the game was the returning veteran Guard Anthony Collins, the only person in the program still remaining from the 2012 NCAA Tournament team. Missing the majority of last season due to knee injury, Collins jumped out the gate this season, putting up an impressive stat line of 22 points, five rebounds, four assists, and two steals on 36 minutes of action.
Afterwards, the Houston native talked about his eagerness to get out on the court for the first time in nearly a year. “It felt like I was coming out of high school again, my first college game all over again. But after the ball was tipped in the air, I was fine.”
Coaching his first game as the head man at USF, Coach Antigua came away proud by the poise and resiliency of his young team. “I was impressed by how we weathered the storm. There were ups and downs and for a young team to be able to have a lead, get close to losing it and be able to respond and finish out a game early, I was impressed with that.”
With a full offseason of conditioning, practice, and an exhibition game in the books, it is now officially show time for the young Bulls team and coaching staff. They will spend the upcoming week practicing and preparing for their official home season opener on Friday November 14th at 7 pm against Flagler College. The game will be broadcasted on Bullscast.