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The USF men's basketball team (9-5, 0-2) will have to wait for their first Big East conference win a little longer after falling in their second straight conference game 61-53 to Villanova.
"That was a tough one." USF head coach Stan Heath remarked, "I don't think we were totally ready to go from the start and that's on me."
The Bulls got off to a tough start in the first half, shooting just 30.4 percent (7-23), allowing Villanova (11-4, 2-1) to build a 14 point first half lead.
The Wildcats' size dominated the Bulls.
"We were overwhelmed inside," said Heath, who played a rotation of Zach Leday, Toarlyn Fitzpatrick and Jordan Omogbehin with little effect down low.
Villanova outrebounded USF 42-32, pulled down 15 offensive rebounds and scored 30 points in the paint.
Villanova had three players register in double figures. Led by Mouphtaou Yarou's double-double performance with 16 points and 13 rebounds; the Wildcats received big contributions from JayVaughn Pinkston (15 points, 4 rebounds) and Daniel Ochefu (12 points, 8 rebounds).
The Bulls struggled from the floor, shooting just 36 percent (18-50). Redshirt junior forward Victor Rudd led the Bulls with 12 points and 5 rebounds. USF also got double-digit scoring efforts from point guard Anthony Collins (11 points, 4 assists) and Fitzpatrick (10 points, 3 rebounds).
Heath knows that the Bulls have a lot to work on after the loss.
"We've got to figure some things out to help our team rebound and defend better on the inside," said Heath. "It is about is right now. Once we fix that we can turn our attention to other issues."
It doesn't get any easier for the Bulls in conference play. USF will search for their first Big East victory in Kentucky when the travel to pay the Louisville Cardinals on January 12th.