TAMPA - The University of South Florida men’s basketball team ventured to downtown Tampa Saturday afternoon to host the Syracuse Orange at the St. Pete Times Forum.
The game marked the first time any of the current Bulls basketball players had ever played a home game outside the Sun Dome, losing their first Forum experience 72-49.
The Bulls were led by Jarrid Famous who had 14 points and eight rebounds. Coach Heath mixed up the lineup by starting Toarlyn Fitzpatrick, a Tampa native, making his third start of the year, and 25-th career start. He was the second leading scorer with 10 points, six rebounds and three blocks.
Syracuse was led by forward Rick Jackson who finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds, controlling the boards throughout the game.
The Bulls competed neck and neck with the Orange until midway through the first half when Syracuse went on a 9-0 run, gaining a 22-11 lead. That run came right after the Bulls had obtained their first lead of the game at 11-10. Syracuse controlled the tempo for the remainder of the half as the Bulls went into the locker room trailing 37-28.
Coming out of the half the Bulls tried to climb themselves out of the nine-point deficit, however Syracuse came out strong with six straight points on three consecutive possessions, scoring all six points from the paint. The Bulls could not keep up as Syracuse started to pull away, extending their largest lead to 24 by the end of the game.
The Bulls finished the game with a 35.3 field-goal percentage on 51 shots, compared to the Orange’s 44.6 field-goal percentage on 56 shots.
The Bulls biggest issue in the loss was their performance in the paint as they were out- rebounded 41-27, just the fourth time this season USF has been outrebounded.
The Bulls will play next back at the Sun Dome on Wednesday Feb. 10 against Marquette at 7 p.m.
- USF starters were Anthony Crater, Jawanza Poland, Hugh Robertson, Augustus Gilchrist and Toarlyn Fitzpatrick.
- No current USF player had ever played a game in the St. Pete Times Forum prior to today. USF is 2-2 all-time in the building and 1-2 since it became the St. Pete Times Forum. The game was the first ever meeting between the two schools at the Forum.
- USF coach Stan Heath mixed up the lineup with Toarlyn Fitzpatrick, a Tampa native, making his third start of the year. He scored at least 10 points for the third-straight game and a tied a career high with three blocks.
- Anthony Crater notched at least four assists for the 14th time this season with five.
- Jarrid Famous returned to the court with 14 points and eight rebounds after missing the game against Providence on Feb. 2 due to back pain. His eight rebounds put his average boards per game over the last five at 7.2 per game. He also scored six-straight points to end the first half for the Bulls.