UCONN's Sophomore Jeff Adrien led the Huskies with 16 points and 15 rebounds, responding to a poor performance against West Virginia. Melvin Buckley scored 17 points to lead South Florida, but failed to keep the Bulls in the game.
The Bull's troubles began early with fouls and offensively struggled to penetrate UCONN's stiff double team on the perimeter. A three pointer by Jerome Dyson put the Huskies up by 9 with 5:41 left in the first half. From then on, South Florida struggled to catch up to UCONN who later went on an 11-0 run at the beginning of the second half, before Buckley hit a 3-pointer off a quick screen.
The rest of the game UCONN held on to a solid double-digit lead and gladly kept their home winning streak alive (31 consecutive wins). Buckley did show how well he can execute a jump shot but failed to score points early in the game which would have helped the Bulls keep up with UCONN.
The Bulls dropped to 9-6 for the season and 0-1 in the conference. South Florida's 17 turnovers proved very costly for the Bulls and kept them from playing solid defense all night. Rebounding was yet another issue for the Bulls in this game, letting the Huskies grab 16 offensive rebounds.
If the Bulls want to compete in the Big East, they have to play more physical in the paint and not allow a team like UCONN to control the rebounds. Junior Kentrell Gransberry, a transfer from LSU, has a lot of potential to be South Florida's dominate inside man, but he has to play more aggressively and match that "smash-mouth" mentality of Big East basketball. However, the Bulls are obviously fatigued, and with a bench of only three players it would be difficult for any team to overcome the talent of UCONN.
Tuesday's match up also featured two of the best shot blockers in the Big East, Senior McHugh Mattis for the Bulls who had 5 and Hasheem Thabeet for the Huskies who also had 5. Mattis leads the Big East in this category with Thabeet trailing only slightly. Mattis has almost a ghost like ability to sneak around players and block their shot, where Thabeet's size and positioning helped him to keep up with Mattis.
For South Florida, this was their fifth loss in eight games, and has the Bulls dreading yet another difficult conference match up with No. 10 (AP Poll) Pittsburgh at home before playing Louisville at the Sun Dome.
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