"It's hard to win on the road. All wins on the road are good. This wasn't one of our better performances. We weren't very sharp. Stats are a little deceiving in my mind. We shot 54 percent but I didn't think we were that good offensively. At the same time I give our team a lot of credit. We kind of found a way to hold them off and keep a lead and make a key play when we needed to."
Against the Panthers, USF shot 53.8 percent from the field, its second highest percentage of the year and four of the five USF starters scored in double figures, led by Kentrell Gransberry's game-high 21 which matched his season high.
""We're fighting our way and itching and clawing and trying not to let games slip away from us," said Gransberry. "We learned our lesson from the first three games. You can't always win pretty. We'll take an ugly win."
Gransberry an All-American candidate and last years leading rebounder was one of 11 players named to the '07-08 preseason All Big East team leads the Bulls in scoring with 17.2 points per game and in rebounding with 9.5 boards per game.
"It shows great character. Trying to bounce back from 0-3 is real tough," added Gransberry. "We could have laid down and could have been 0-7 today. He wasn't going to let that happen. Coach told us to be strong, bounce back and take it day by day."
Junior guard Jesus Verdejo continued his strong play hitting 3 of 4 from the 3-point line and finished with 15 points, He has scored in double figures in five of seven games this season after scoring in double digits seven out of 22 games last year. Verdejo is second in scoring for the Bulls with 12.9 points per game and leads the team in 3-pointers with 14 from beyond the arc.
"He's been playing some of his best basketball over this last three or four game stretch," said Coach Heath. "We need him. He's on of our older guys, one of our veterans. He's doing a nice job out there. At key times in both the last two games I thought he has made some big three's at critical times."
Sophomore guard Chris Howard dished out a game-high six assists while adding 10 points. Howard leads the team in assists with 7.1 per game and is third on the team in scoring with 11.9 points per game.
Sophomore Guard Solomon Bozeman leads the team in field goal percentage with .541 and in free throw shooting where he has been perfect with 10 for 10 shooting from the line.
USFhas also been getting help from some of the newer Bulls to join the squad
Freshmen Guard Dominique Jones had 14 points, five rebounds and two assists against FIU, and has been impressive this season scoring with 11.7 points per game, good enough for fourth on the Bulls. Jones also leads the bulls with 13 steals and is second in assists with 2.6 per game.
Freshmen Forward Orane Chin who struggled early in the season led the way on the boards with nine rebounds at FIU and is second on the Bulls with 5.0 boards per game. Chin has also shot 6 of 8 from beyond the arc this season for an impressive .750 percentage.
The Bulls have definitely been playing better ball during the 4 game win streak, Heath has an idea why.
"We just kept stressing the defense and rebounding," said Heath. "During that stretch we were getting stops and rebounds and got a few transition baskets from that too."
The Bulls have made a big an important rebound from the three loses to start the season.
"I think we bounced back very well," said Heath, "Obviously there are a couple games early on we thought we should have had and could have had but we didn't. But we bounced back and we didn't let that pull us down. We played a lot of games in a short amount of times which isn't easy and I think the fatigue part a little bit showed up on us today. But let's take the win and go home and regroup for UCF."
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