USF Can't Hang With WV, Losing 58-69

(Morgantown, W. VA.) Coming off their first Big East win of the year, the Bulls battled hard against West Virginia, but couldn't stop Frank Young and his Mountaineers.

West Virginia started off the night hitting three consecutive three pointers and forcing five consecutive turnovers against the Bulls. The Bulls offense looked sloppy against West Virginia's 1-3-1 defensive schemes, but got it going late in the first half with a 10-1 run against WVU. They went into halftime down by 11, 23-34, but the offense seemed to have found a weakness in the Mountaineers defense.

The second half seemed like a completely different game for the Bulls, playing tough defensively and getting physical down low. The Bulls closed in on the Mountaineers with 13:17 left in the game, getting to within three points. But a three by West Virginia's Frank Young ended the 8-0 run by the Bulls. After a blocked shot and a slam by WVU's big man Joe Alexander, the Mountaineers stretched the lead to 11 once again.

Center Kentrell Gransberry picked up the tempo in the second half, grabbing 6 offensive rebounds and scoring 10 of his 11 in the second half. He could have had more, but shot 3-8 from the foul line and was virtually non-existent in the first half. He eventually fouled out with about two minutes to go, but not before he got his sixth double double of the season.

The Bulls actually tied the Mountaineers with 35 points in the second half but couldn't overcome the 11 point deficit from the first half. The Bulls also failed to capitalize off West Virginia's 26 missed three pointers. This was important because the Mountaineers rarely turned the ball over.

The Bulls forward McHugh Mattis was really impressive in this losing effort. You could see him all over the court, making plays and blocking shots. He ended the night with a team high, 18 points, 12 rebounds and 5 blocked shots. He is easily the Bulls most athletic player and is proving it by out hustling defenses and using those long arms to reject sure-fire field goals.

However, the Bulls could use some consistency, especially on the offensive side of the ball. USF has a triple threat in Melvin Buckley, McHugh Mattis and Kentrell Gransberry, but a strong performance by all three is necessary for the Bulls to have a chance to win.

The Bulls next Big East opponent is on Sunday against the always-difficult Notre Dame, ranked No. 20 (AP Poll) in the nation. This is the Bulls last road game before returning to the Sun Dome for a three game homestead.


Game Stats

Starters
Name Min Reb Ast PF Pts
M Mattis, F 38 11 1 1 18
M Buckley, F 38 5 1 2 17
K Gransberry, C 25 9 0 5 11
C Howard, G 32 3 3 3 2
S Bozeman, G 30 5 5 4 0

Bench
Name Min Reb Ast PF Pts
J Verdejo 28 4 3 1 10
C Capko 6 0 1 0 0
E Lovett 3 1 0 1 0
A Saaka 0 0 0 0 0
Starters
Name Min Reb Ast PF Pts
F Young, F 31 3 1 2 16
A Ruoff, G 37 7 7 2 13
J Alexander, F 28 6 0 2 10
D Nichols, G 36 1 6 2 9
R Summers, C 25 5 0 3 4

Bench
Name Min Reb Ast PF Pts
D Butler 23 6 1 2 12
J Smalligan 13 2 1 0 5
J Mazzulla 7 0 0 2 0
Complete Box Score

 

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