GREENVILLE, N.C., DEC. 28, 2016 – USF put together a second half it can build on before falling at East Carolina, 60-49, in the conference opener Wednesday night.
USF (6-6) limited ECU to 16.7 percent shooting after the break, the lowest total the Bulls have allowed in a half dating back to Feb. 3, 2013. USF held ECU scoreless from the field for the final 9:08 of a second half that saw the Bulls outscore the Pirates, 32-26.
Junior guard Geno Thorpe (Pittsburgh) scored 13 of his team-high 18 points after the break and fell one point shy of matching his career high. Junior center Ruben Guerrero (Spain) became just the ninth Bull in program history to total 100 blocks after swatting away shot No. 99, 100 and 101 against the Pirates.
ECU (9-5) has won two in a row after starting Wednesday’s game on a 17-2 run. The Pirates headed into halftime with a 34-17 lead after scoring 20 points off 15 USF turnovers.
The Bulls trailed by as many as 20 early on, but found itself down by only single digits before the midpoint of the second half. Thorpe scored nine points in the first nine minutes and his jumper cut USF’s deficit to 40-32 with 11:05 left to play.
That’s as close the Bulls would get the rest of the way in their first game back from holiday break. After a slow start, USF committed just three turnovers in the second half and set a season-high with 21 offensive rebounds. The Bulls finished with a 47-38 advantage in total rebounds.
ECU scored 20 points off 15 USF turnovers on the way to a 34-17 halftime lead.
Sophomore guard Troy Holston (Queens, N.Y.) posted four points and three rebounds after missing the past four games with an injury.
With 101 career blocks, Ruben Guerrero needs just two more blocks to pass Augustus Gilchrist (2008-12) for eighth on the program's career blocks list.
Redshirt freshman forward Tulio Da Silva (Brazil) grabbed a team-high 12 boards, including a career-high tying five offensive rebounds.
USF set a season high with 21 offensive rebounds, outscoring ECU 18-6 on second chance points.
USF returns to the Sun Dome to host Houston on Saturday at noon. Reserve your seats at USFBullsTix.com. Fans out of town can catch the game on ESPNU.
USF has retired three numbers in its 46-year history: Chucky Atkins (12), Charlie Bradley (30) and Radenko Dobras (31). The Bulls have earned three NCAA tournament bids and appeared in the NIT eight times. In the 2011-12 season, USF was one win away from an appearance in the Sweet 16.
For tickets, contact the USF Ticket Office at 1-800-Go-Bulls or by going online to USFBullsTix.com.