Interim South Florida basketball coach Murry Bartow earned his first win at the helm of the Bulls program Saturday night in Tampa. Geno Thorpe led the way with 22 points and eight assists in a 64-57 win over East Carolina. That win snapped a 12-game skid and gave South Florida their first win in AAC player.
“I’m just proud of the guys. Their spirit is so incredibly good. Practices have been great. The energy has been good. Obviously we’ve lost a lot of game in a row but they never pout, they never get down and they never feel sorry for themselves. We knew at some point we’d get one. Tonight’s the night,” Bartow said after the game.
Defense was the key in the win for the Bulls. South Florida held ECU scoreless for 7:06 late in the first half and to open the second half to build a lead.
The Pirates stormed back after that from a 14-point deficit with a 12-2 run to pull within four, but Thorpe kept his foot on the gas for the Bulls keeping ECU to five or more points from the lead.
Thorpe said the team was relieved to finally have something positive to show after month of slogging through a rough season with just seven scholarship players.
"It was upbeat," Thorpe said of the mood in the locker room. "You know we finally got the win after 12 games and everybody was just excited and happy.”
Tulio Da Silva scored 13 points off the bench for South Florida (7-17, 1-12), which shot 42.6 percent from the floor and held the Pirates to 35.8 percent. Bartow had lost nine in a row after taking over for Orlando Antigua in January. The Bulls host league leader #11 Cincinnati on Wednesday night in the Sun Dome at 7pm.