USF opened the first game of the 2010 Big East Tournament by beating DePaul 58-49. The win was the first for the Bulls in the Big East championship and gave the Bulls their first 20 win-season in over 20 years.
First-team All-Big East point guard, and conference scoring champion Dominique Jones, had 20 points and nine rebounds. Jones also had 3 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocked shots. Senior Mike Mercer had 14 points and Chris Howard had nine points and six assists for the Bulls.
The Bulls took an early 30-15 lead in the first half and held on for the win despite being outscored in the second half 34-28. Will Walker had 20 points and 5 rebounds to lead the DePaul, but the Blue Demons couldn't overcome the deficit.
At 20-11 overall and 10-9 in Big East play the Bulls continue one of the great turnaround stories of the season, and their history. After starting out 0-4 in the conference the Bulls have gone 10-5 and continue to play inspired ball. USF
has only won 20 games in a season three times in their history and hasn't done it since 1990, when the Bulls made their first NCAA appearance.
With the victory The Bulls are locked to make the post season for the first time since 2002 when they made the NIT, and will at the least earn a berth in that tourney again, but still have aspirations of making their first NCAA Tournament trip since 1992.
Up next for the Bulls is a match-up against eighth-seeded Georgetown on Wednesday and if they get by the Hoyas, then have to face No. 1 seeded Syracuse on Thursday. USF needs to beat Georgetown to be in the NCAA tourney conversation, and may need a win against the Orange as well.