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December 28, 2013
USF looks to snap 2 game slide
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After a tough loss to Mississippi State and a game that slipped away from them against Santa Clara, the Bulls are now 8-4 and have lost two straight games.
Coach Stan Heath and company will try to right they ship as they take on Bradley in their last non-conference battle before the start of the AAC portion of their schedule (game begins at 8 PM).
The Bradley Braves are 5-7 on the year. The Bulls beat Bradley last year by 19 points in Tampa but this time, USF could be without star point guard Anthony Collins who has missed the last two games due to soreness in his surgically repaired knee, the same knee that has limited him all year.
The Braves are led by senior guard Walt Lemon Jr. (6'3" 180 lbs.) who is averaging 14.9 PPG, 3.1 RPG, has 47 assist to lead the team (47 turnovers too) and has 21 steals. Lemon Jr. is a big combo guard that will likely draw either Corey Allen Jr. or the bigger Martino Brock on defense. It will be on the two guards to slow down Lemon and slow the Braves offense. Senior forward Tyshon Pickett (6'6" 230 lbs.) is averaging 13.3 PPG, 7.1 RPG, and has 5 blocks, and 14 steals on the year.
Chris Perry and John Egbunu will be tasked in protecting the paint against Pickett. Sophomore guard Omari Grier (6'4" 180 lbs.) is averaging 13.2 PPG (28 of 83 from 3-point range, just 33%) while adding 2.8 RPG and 11 steals on the year. While Lemon lives inside the arc, Grier is not afraid to take a long range shot, something that will extend the Bulls defense and put more pressure on the interior post players to stay in their zones.
Junior forward Auston Bames (6'8" 215 lbs.) is averaging 9.8 PPG, 6.4 RPG, and has 6 blocks. Look for Victor Rudd to draw him on defense and to take advantage of his bigger size on the opposite side. Two players to watch are sophomore guard Ka-Darryl Bell (6'1" 195 lbs.) who is averaging 4.6 PPG and 2.1 RPG and junior forward Chris Blake (6'7" 215 lbs.) who is averaging 2 PPG and has 11 blocks on the year.
For the Bulls, this game is simple: Do what you do best, attack the paint. The Bulls are struggling a bit in the guard department being down Anthony Collins, so it will be on the big men down in the paint to take care of business on the road. Rudd, who is averaging 16 PPG, has been playing great the last few weeks and needs to come up big again and lead the Bulls to a win in this game. This game, the game before the Memphis Tigers come to town, is very important. 2 straight losses is tough for a young team and the Bulls could be looking ahead with the highly touted Tigers coming to town to start AAC play, but Coach Heath and his staff cannot allow that to happen. They have to focus, execute, and leave town with a win.