DELAND, Fla. – The victory allowed the Bulls to finish 2-2 on the trip and was the squad's second-straight win.
Senior guard James Holmes led all scorers with 21 points and classmate Solomon Jones chipped in 15 points, eight rebounds and six blocks in 35 minutes on the court. Junior Melvin Buckley got things started offensively and finished with 19 points.
USF's red-hot offensive attack shot 51.7 percent from the floor in the first half, but the bigger story may have been the team's defense. Three players combined to swat 10 Hatter shots in the opening 20 minutes, led by Jones' six blocks. Three of his thwarted field goal chances came on one Stetson possession.
Buckley netted the first five points of the game and didn't stop making contributions as the game continued. He was 7-of-11 from the field in the first half and went to the locker room with 17 points and seven rebounds to his credit.
As a team, the Bulls knocked down 6-of-10 from long distance prior to the intermission, three from Holmes, and the squad enjoyed a 41-23 advantage at the half.
"I was pleased with our start," head coach Robert McCullum said. "We stress winning the first five minutes of the half and the last five minutes, and I think we did that tonight."
Stetson's offense came out of the locker room firing on all cylinders. The Hatters knocked down three-straight treys en route to a 13-2 run to begin the stanza and at the first media timeout the 18-point halftime lead was cut to just seven points.
Jones, who was the story defensively for the Bulls in the opening 20 minutes, made his presence felt at the offensive end to help swing the momentum back in USF's favor. The Mount Dora, Fla., native scored 10 of the team's first 14 points in the second half, helping push the lead back to double figures for the remainder of the contest.
The Bulls finished the game shooting 54.7 percent from the floor and also knocked down 11-of-12 free throw attempts. Other highlights included the first points for freshman forward Zaronn Cann and the debut of Frane Markusovic.
The Bulls return to action Saturday afternoon against undefeated Michigan at the Sun Dome. Game time is set for 3 p.m. and the contest will be broadcast on ESPN2, the team's first television appearances of the campaign.
Bulls Win Second-Straight , 77-52 At Stetson
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