Coming off two games against ranked opponents, you would think the Bulls would have been more prepared to take on a team like the Cardinals. But a poor defensive performance proved costly in this third consecutive Big East loss.
Louisville's defense played well as they frustrated the Bulls by pressing them nearly the entire night. Kentrell Gransberry had 19 and Melvin Buckley scored 15, shooting only three pointers, which carried the Bulls offense with 34 points collectively.
Louisville shot 77.8% from the free throw line and spread the ball well in their first conference win of the year. Three players from the Cardinals scored in the double digits, playing a well balanced and disciplined offensive game.
The Bulls never took the lead in this match up and had 6 turnovers in the first five minutes. Travel calls and charging fouls continued to plague the Bulls for much of the first half. In the second half, a three pointer by Melvin Buckley got the Bulls within 4, but the Cardinals hit successive three pointers and began to take over the game.
The Bulls never seemed to get back on track and let Louisville stretch their lead to 16 with 12:57 remaining in the game. It only got worse for the Bulls as they struggled to make free throws and never found a way to penetrate the Cardinals press. It seemed as if the Bulls were afraid to run over the small guards of Louisville and take control on offense.
McHugh Mattis easily had his worst game of the year, making uncharacteristic mistakes and even missing a wide open dunk. He shot only 27.3% from the field and missed five free throws. The Bulls also saw Chris Howard come back from an injured knee, but wasn't any kind of factor in the game.
South Florida will drop to 0-3 in Big East play and goes to 9-8 for the season. They'll have a chance to bounce back Sunday against Cincinnati, but must play better on both sides of the ball if they want to pick up their first Big East win of the year.
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