University of South Florida cruises past Bethune Cookman 91-65

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Coming into the season junior-college transfer Corey Allen Jr. understood that his role on the 2013 University of South Florida team would probably be to back up second team AAC all-conference guard Anthony Collins, but with Collins still recovering from knee surgery, Allen Jr. has seized the opportunity to fill in as a starter to begin the season.

After contributing 7 points and 7 assists in the season opening victory over Tennessee Tech Saturday, Allen Jr. showed his full arsenal Tuesday by scoring 21 points, dishing out nine assist and pulling seven rebounds in leading the Bulls to the easy 91-65 victory over the Bethune Cookman Wildcats in front of 3,549 at the Sun Dome.

Due to their lack of size, the Wildcats were forced to be a more perimeter focused team offensively and defensively:

Led by Ohio freshman Clemmye Owens’ four, the team connected on 10-of-28 three-point attempts, with three coming in consecutive possessions to make the halftime score 38-29.

Double digit makes from the three-point line is the type of production that Coach Gravelle Craig expects on a nightly basis — but preferably from upperclassmen Ricky Johnson and Malik Jackson, who on the night only shot a combined 3-of-11 from the field and 2-of-7 from three-point range.

Defensively BCU spent most of the game in a zone to counter-act the size advantage held by USF’s forwards and there was success early on in the game– the Bulls shot 39% from the field and 2-of-10 (4-of-17 for the game) from beyond the three-point line; Their first make did not come until there was four minutes remaining in the first half.

“I thought they were good shots, they just didn’t fall” Coach Heath responded when asked about the poor three-point shooting, “maybe a couple were a little bit quick, but they weren’t that bad.”

He knows that shooting threes isn’t a strong point of this team, but understands that if they are able to convert some of those “good misses,” it will make the team more dangerous as the season progresses.

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While it was a comfortable victory for the Bulls the fact that they were out-rebounded 43 to 42 by the smaller Wildcat team has to be concerning for the coaching staff.

It seemed as if the Bulls defenders were more concerned with getting a block shot than boxing out. Often times it was the Wildcat player that was left open by the vacating Bulls player who would be the one that ended up scoring — BCU finished the night with 16 second chance points because of 20 offensive rebounds.

Offensively in the second half the team showed more patience in exploiting the zone and the shooting percentage increased to 49% for the game after connecting on 62% of their shots in the second half —  At the 17 minute mark of the second half the Wildcats, who were led by senior forward Dequan Brown’s 13 points and eight rebounds, cut the deficit to nine points on a Mikel Trapp three-pointer, but that would be the closest they would get for the rest of the night.

Senior forward Victor Rudd contributed 14 points and the Bulls benefited from another good showing from the freshman forward duo of John Egbunu and Chris Perry as they combined for 18 points 14 rebounds and four block shots in 40 total minutes.

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Stats of the game:

  • After shooting 25-of-40 from the free throw line in Saturday’s victory against Tennessee Tech, it seems that the extra time spent paid off as they were able to shoot 78% going 25-of-32. With college basketball referees looking to call more contact fouls, it is almost necessary for teams to shoot a decent percentage from the charity stripe if they want to consistently win.
  •  In order to break a team out of zone defense a team must do one of two things; shoot them out of it or score quickly in transition before the defense is set up. Tonight the Bulls were able to do the latter by pushing the tempo and scoring 20 fast break points. The also converted 27 points off of 18 turnovers.

This Friday the team goes on the road for the first time this season as they head to Ohio to face the 1-0 Bowling Green Falcons, who kicked off the 2013-14 season with a 102-49 victory over Earlham this past Saturday.

This is a rematch of an epic 87-84 triple OT game that saw the Bulls win in spite of relinquishing a 12 point lead in the second half and a 22 minute power outage delay caused by the light timer in the arena not being shut off once the game went into overtime.

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