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March 4, 2013

Bulls look for improvement

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For the first time in 2013, the USF Bulls scored more than 80 points. For the first time since Nov. 20, they did it in regulation.

A 83-73 win over DePaul Sunday not only snapped a ten-game losing streak, but gave seniors Toarlyn Fitzpatrick (19 points) and Jawanza Poland (11 points) a chance to shine. Two other seniors - Kore White and Mike McCloskey - played but did not score.

Balance

Five players, including Fitzpatrick and Poland, scored in double figures. Anthony Collins (16 points) and Victor Rudd (16 points) along with Martino Brock (13 points) led the way.

It was by far and away the most balanced scoring attack of the season. For a team that was averaging 51.8 points per game during a ten-game losing streak, the Blue Demons were just what the doctor ordered.

Board of Control

After being dominated by Pittsburgh on the glass last time out, USF showed good board play, winning the rebounding war 34-27 over the Blue Demons. Fitzpatrick had eight rebounds, along with Brock's six to lead the way.

USF also minimized the turnovers, committing only ten and forcing 13, and shot 54 percent from the field. It's the first time the Bulls have shot over 50 percent since Jan. 17 against Rutgers.

Control your own destiny

USF may be tied for last with DePaul, but the Bulls can exponentially improve their standing in the upcoming Big East Tournament with a mini-win streak. USF played Connecticut (next opponent ) tough on the road, taking the Huskies to OT before falling - and Cincinnati on the road next Saturday is also a winnable game - if the Bulls continue to shoot well and hit the boards.

Consistency is the key. The Bulls have not had back-to-back games of good shooting all season.

The Young Guns

With Collins, and Zach LeDay, USF has two solid underclassmen contributing. Add to that the six commitments and others (including possibly Sean Noriega), and the Bulls are even better.

Collins has grown into the point guard role admirably and averages 9 points a game and six assists, which works out to 21 points a game - not bad for your point guard production.

One thing Collins has to work on is ball control. He's had an average of 2.5 turnovers a game.

The youth on the team is growing up quicker than originally planned due to injuries and a lack of depth. If the Bulls can get Demetrius Henry to commit, it would give USF three big name low post players in one class.

Statistics don't lie

A quick glance at the Big East statistics for the year shows the picture quite clearly.

USF is last in scoring, last in rebounding, last in field goal percentage, last in assists and in the bottom three in blocked shots, steals and opponent shooting percentages.

USF averages 59.4 points per game, and is shooting 35.4 percent from the field. Both must improve in 2013-14 to make another NCAA run.



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