If you were caught last night's basketball game against Cincinnati, then you saw that a great game where USF stayed alive in the NCAA Tourney chase by beating the Bearcats 65-57. If you were part of the announced season-best crowd of 6,607, than you saw the Bulls pick up their fourth straight home BIG EAST win of the season, and with sixth conference victories continue to set a new regular season record for most BIG EAST wins in one season by the Bulls.
Dominique Jones scored 26 points, his 36th career game that he scored over 20 points. Gus Gilchrist made his return with 10 points and six rebounds, Mike Mercer chipped in 10 points and Alex Rivas made his first start with and Anthony Crater came off of the bench to score nine points and spark the USF defense.
The basketball team has shown major improvement and has been exciting to watch as they improved to 16-9 on the season, and 6-7 in BIG EAST play , the toughest basketball conferences in the country.
It's not a secret that Bull's basketball just doesn't get the same spirited support as Bulls football, where the entire campus gets caught up in anticipation and the air of excitement during football game days, but that seems to be lacking for basketball.
One group that has shown support of the basketball team through-out the season are the student-athletes on the USF football team, and several coaches are becoming regulars at the home games. The football team knows the support it gets and does whatever they can to show the same support for other USF athletic programs.
Against Cincinnati I saw several football players watching the game. They were QB B.J. Daniels, WR's A.J. Love, Dontavia Bogan, and Sterling Griffin. TE's Andrew Ketchel, Andreas Shields, & Isaac Virgin, RB Mike Ford, LB's Sam Barrington & Armando Sanchez, DL's Julius Forte & Brandon Wilkinson, DB's Kayvon Webster, John Lejiste, & Mistral Raymond, and LS Mike Walsh.
I also saw USF Head Coach Skip Holtz, Coach Phil McGeoghan,strength coach Ronnie McKeefery, and new assistants Mark Snyder, Todd Fitch, Vernon Hargreaves, and Peter Vaas, who all were in attendance and got to see the Bulls win. I spoke to them and they agree that what the hoops team is doing is great for the USF brand name.
They told me they try and show as much support as they can for the basketball team and other sports. Many of the players especially the veterans are avid fans of the basketball team, and love to show their support of everything that is USF. Sitting with the guys late in the game, Senior Andrew Ketchel, who played basketball in high school, and has been going to games since he arrived on campus, told me ‘This is awesome; I love what the team is doing." Many of the players shared his sentiments as well. B.J. Daniels who played for the hoops team last season and A.J. Love along with the other players were all talking about the post season, something that they haven't discussed since they were Bulls, at least not in February.
The crowd helped last night and Coach Stan Heath said afterwards "You guys were awesome tonight. Let's Rock the Dome again Saturday and bring a friend." Now if only the rest of the student base and community had the same spirit for basketball, then they could actually develop an actual home court advantage.
Bulls WR Dontavia Bogan, RB Mike Ford, and LS Mike Walsh
Jeff Wagner and USF alum
USF QB B.J. Daniels
USF LB Sam Barrington & WR Sterling Griffin
Bulls TE Isaac Virgin
USF DBs Mistral Raymond & Kayvon Webster
USF TE Andrew Ketchel & LB Armando Sanchez
Former Bull OL Jacob Griffin & DBs Mistral Raymond
DB John Lejiste, TE Andreas Shields, & WR A.J. Love
USF DE's JuJu Forte & Brandon Wilkinson
USF Head Coach Skip Holtz
Click here for some insider scoop that I got while at the game!