Bulls lose to No. 24 West Virginia, 57-53

The University of South Florida men's basketball team (6-8, 0-1 BIG EAST) battled No. 24 West Virginia Thursday night at the Sun Dome in the program's first-ever BIG EAST Conference game, but fell just short in its upset bid with a 57-53 loss.

Mike Gansey scored 18 points and Kevin Pittsnogle had 16 to lead the Mountaineers to the victory over USF on Thursday night in the Bulls' conference debut.

The win was the seventh straight for West Virginia (9-3, 1-0), which plays at No. 3 Villanova on Sunday. The Mountaineers were outrebounded 42-22.

"It wasn't, certainly, a textbook game of basketball," West Virginia coach John Beilein said. "This is the type of league ... it's going to be so hard to win on the road. I thought South Florida just had a great game plan, and really made it difficult for us to do anything."

Solomon Jones had 18 points for USF, one of five schools that moved to the Big East from Conference USA. The injury-depleted Bulls have lost three straight and five of six and are down to six healthy scholarship players.

"It's disappointing ... we thought we had a chance to win," USF guard Chris Capko said. "We were in it and just didn't take advantage of some of the opportunities we had."

"It's certainly a game, a performance, an effort that we can build on," USF coach Robert McCullum said. "We can only keep it close so many times. It's going to get to the point where you've got to win some of those."

J.D. Collins missed two free throws with 1:18 left that could have extended West Virginia's 55-53 lead. After Jones missed a jumper with the shot clock winding down, USF committed four fouls in order to put the Mountaineers on the free throw line.

Pittsnogle hit two free throws with 20 seconds to go, making it 57-53. South Florida's James Holmes missed a 3-point try with 4 seconds remaining.

"It's a loss," Jones said. "You don't feel good about losing. I don't feel good at all right now, but I just can't keep my head down. I've got to look up and look towards the game we've got Sunday."

Baskets by Johannes Herber and Patrick Beilein gave West Virginia a 55-46 lead with 4 minutes to play. USF then scored the next seven points with Melvin Buckley's jumper cutting the Bulls' deficit to 55-53 with 2 minutes to go.

Buckley finished with 16 points,

Beilein hit a 3 -- giving him a school-record 201 for his career -- to put West Virginia ahead 43-36 midway through the second half.

West Virginia trailed 13-7 with 10:50 left in the first half. The Mountaineers scored just three points -- Beilein's 3 -- during an 8½-minute stretch as USF took the six-point lead.

After West Virginia went on an 11-0 run, Jones had two baskets as USF closed the half on 6-0 run to get within 25-22.

A moment of silence was held before the game to honor the coal miners who died this week in West Virginia.

Game Leaders

West Virginia
Mike Gansey
PPG Reb Asst FG% Min
18 5 2 .727 34
South Florida
Solomon Jones
PPG Reb Asst FG% Min
18 12 2 .500 39
West Virginia South Florida
Assists K Pittsnogle 3 C Capko 4
Rebounds M Gansey 5 S Jones 12
Steals M Gansey 4 C Capko 1
Blocks M Gansey 0 S Jones 3
Minutes K Pittsnogle 35 J Holmes 40

Box Score

West Virginia Starters
Name Min FG 3PT FT Reb Asst PF Pts
M Gansey, F 34 8-11 1-2 1-1 5 2 0 18
K Pittsnogle, C 35 5-9 3-7 3-4 3 3 3 16
J Herber, G 28 4-8 0-2 0-0 5 3 3 8
F Young, F 27 2-6 0-3 0-0 1 2 2 4
J Collins, G 30 0-7 0-3 0-2 2 2 1 0
West Virginia Bench
Name Min FG 3PT FT Reb Asst PF Pts
P Beilein 21 3-10 2-7 0-0 0 0 3 8
D Nichols 15 1-5 0-0 1-1 2 2 0 3
A Ruoff 5 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 0
R Summers 5 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0
South Florida Starters
Name Min FG 3PT FT Reb Asst PF Pts
S Jones, C 39 7-14 0-0 4-4 12 2 3 18
M Buckley, F 35 5-12 4-9 2-2 7 1 3 16
M Mattis, F 37 5-5 0-0 1-3 11 2 3 11
J Holmes, G 40 2-13 1-9 2-2 2 3 2 7
C Capko, G 36 0-3 0-2 1-2 5 4 1 1
South Florida Bench
Name Min FG 3PT FT Reb Asst PF Pts
M Richardson 13 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 1 1 0

Next Game
West Virginia
Date Time Team
1/8 12:00 pm Nova
South Florida
Date Time Team
1/8 1:00 pm Syr

 


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