The 2013-14 college basketball season is only weeks old and already has been full of upsets: Northeastern over Georgetown, Belmont over North Carolina, North Carolina Central over NC State and on Friday there was almost another one in the Sun Dome as the USF Bulls needed a late game run to get past the Stetson Hatters 72-63.
With a match-up on Monday against a top 10 ranked Oklahoma State team that features arguably the best player in college basketball player in the country that’s not a freshman in Marcus Smart looming on Monday, Coach Heath admitted the team was guilty of looking past the 0-4 Stetson team that had lost their previous games by an average of 16 points.
Led by the senior duo of forward Willie Green’s 20 points and guard Aaron Graham’s 15, the Hatters shot an impressive 52% from the field and were in control most of the game.
“Most def[initely] this was our best shooting performance,” said Corey Williams, who is in his first year as the Hatters Head Coach “but those are the things we been working on in practice to get to this point and if we can continue to do that, we gon win a lot of games…”
After being encouraged to step up by his coach with around eight minutes left in the game, guard Corey Allen Jr went on to score eight of the Bulls next 10 points and a one point deficit turned into a five point lead that the team would never relinquish.
Allen Jr. finished the game with 19 points and six steals and a pair of impressive dunks from the 6’1 guard.
Three games into the 2013-14 season the freshman duo of John Egbunu and Chris Perry were averaging 17.7 points per game, 12.6 rebounds per game and 4.3 blocks, but on Saturday they struggled to match those numbers only combining for nine points 10 rebounds and 3 blocks.
Four of Egbunu’s five points came on two ally-oop dunks early in the game and forced Stetson to come out of the zone defense they were playing early on — while his scoring was down from previous games, Egbunu did not let the other aspects of his game taper off. He ended the game with eight rebounds, three block shots and continues to be one of the early surprises in the AAC.
“Right now he [Chris Perry] is a little bit out of rhythm,” said coach Stan Heath, “we gotta get him going that’s going to be my task the next couple day to get Chris to be more of a force.”
With Perry being the team’s primary low-post scoring option, If the Bulls coaching staff is able to get the freshman from Bartow to play with more force, it could be the key to the team pulling off the upset over Oklahoma State on Monday evening.