Bulls Win Opener on the Road 67-61 over SMU

The Bulls were led by center Gus Gilchrist, who had team-high 23 points and nine rebounds. Howard added 14 points and seven assists while Dominique Jones had 13 points and six assists.

Stan Heath and the USF men's basketball team won their season opener 67-61 over SMU Friday night. The Bulls were led by center Augustus Gilchrist had team-high 23 points and nine rebounds. The Bulls opened their season for the second year in a row against SMU, and is now 30-9 in openers and 7-6 in road openers.

All of USF's 67 points came from the starting five. Chris Howard added 14 points and seven assists while Dominique Jones had 13 points and six assists. Junior Jarrid Famous scored nine and senior Mike Mercer contributed eight points.

The Bulls rallied from a 32-29 halftime deficit, and shot 48.9 percent from the floor, while the Mustangs shot 43.4 percent.

SMU scored the game's first six points, and then the Bulls went on a 7-0 run. Gilchrist hit a free throw with 11:56 left in the first half to put the Bulls up by four at 16-12. Gilchrist's layup at 5:17 got the lead to five at 25-20. The Mustangs scored the next six points to take the lead back at 26-25. Gilchrist knocked in a tip-in with 2:29 left that put USF up by three at 29-26, but were held scoreless the rest of the half as SMU went up by three heading into the half

A three-point shot by Dominique Jones nine seconds into the second tied it up at 32. SMU built the lead back up to 41-36 then the Bulls went on a 12-2 run and a five-point lead at 48-43 with 11:55 left.

A layup by SMU two and a half minutes later tied the score at 49-49, but USF went on another run and scored the game's next nine points and. The Bulls hit 5-of-6 free throws in the final minute to secure the win.

Guard Derek Williams led the Mustangs with 19 points, and Mouhammad Faye scored 12. Papa Dia paced SMU with eight rebounds.

The Bulls return to Tampa for their home opener against Virginia Monday at 7:30 p.m

NCAA_Box_Score.pdf, Play-By-Play.pdf

Team Notes

- USF tied up the series, 2-2, with back-to-back wins the last two seasons. In 2008-09, USF grabbed a 60-46 win in last season's opener for both clubs.

- The University of South Florida opened the season with SMU for the second-straight season and the Bulls hit the road for the season opener for the first time in Coach Stan Heath's tenure at USF. The Bulls beat SMU, 60-46, in the opener last year, and lost to Cleveland State, 73-70, in the first round of the Glenn Wilkes Classic, held at USF.

- Head coach Stan Heath is entering his 23rd season of coaching, ninth as a head coach and third at USF. He has posted a 134-118 overall record and is 22-41 at USF. Heath has made three NCAA appearances (2002-Kent State, 2006 and 2007- Arkansas) in his eight-year career.

- Heath's teams had not won a road opener since Dec. 7, 2004 when his Arkansas team defeated Missouri by 10.
- USF was 1-6 in non conference games on the road last year.

- USF is now 30-9 in openers and 7-6 in road openers all time. The last time USF opened on the road was in the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska. USF won that game over Davidson, 96-70, to begin the 2000-01 season.

Individual Notes

-USF's first field goal of the season was an alley-oop dunk from a pair of seniors - Chris Howard to Mike Mercer.

-Mercer scored the first five points of the game and added two 3-pointers as well. Mercer had one trey last season in four games played.

- With seven assists in the game, senior guard Chris Howard took eighth place in USF career assists. He started the game in ninth, with 360, just four behind Penny Greene's 364. He now sits one behind Arthur Caldwell, who finished his career with 368.

- Sophomore Augustus Gilchrist set a new career high with 23 points, topping his previous best of 22 set at Pitt Jan. 14, 2009. He also sank six free throws, the most since posting a career-best six at Seton Hall Feb. 25, 2009.

- USF's starters for the game were seniors Chris Howard and Mike Mercer and junior Dominique Jones at guard, junior Jarrid Famous at forward and sophomore Augustus Gilchrist at center. All 67 of USF's points on the night came from the starting five.

- USF's three captains this season are senior Chris Howard, junior Dominique Jones and sophomore Augustus Gilchrist.

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