Dance Notes: Gilchrist a Very Happy Traveler
By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Augustus Gilchrist loves being a traveling big man.
USF's 6-foot-10 senior forward looked like a kid on Christmas morning eagerly sitting in the locker room before the Bulls got court time for practice Saturday in preparation for their third-round meeting with Ohio on Sunday.
"If there's any way I can have a job playing basketball and go on the road the rest of my life I would because this is the most fun experience I've ever had, especially this team going somewhere it's never been before," he said. "They say you're making history with each win. It's great."
Gilchrist is a part of USF's first-ever NCAA tournament team to succeed not just once, but twice to get to this point and trip to the Sweet 16 is suddenly one victory away.
"This is a good way to go out and we're still hungry for more," Gilchrist said. "I just want to keep on playing and keep on winning because I don't want my season to end, especially being a senior. I know this is it for college basketball."
One notable thing about Gilchrist was despite scoring two points Friday, he moved into 10th place on the USF career scoring list. Two free throws helped Gilchrist get to 1,197 points and move past Terrance Leather, a really productive Bull from 2002-05.
GO HARD OR GO HOME
It's been a whirlwind week for the Bulls with two flights, little sleep and a pair of intense victories packed into six days. That hasn't stopped USF from revving it up in practice like Saturday's session when players were diving for loose balls like they were fighting for the final possession in a game.
"We only know one way to play, all-out effort, intensity, toughness, all those different phrases and terms you want to use. That's the only way we want the play," head coach Stan Heath said. "When we take the court, we didn't want to just stand there and shoot. It's not to me realistic of what you're going to play. We're smart enough, sometimes we may not tape, we may not have full contact, but we still want to go with pace. That's the kind of mindset I want our players to have all the time."
BY THE NUMBERS
Friday's victory over Temple served as a single installment in USF's season of dominant defense.
The Bulls managed just three field goals in the first half but found themselves down, 19-15, by backing up their rep and making the Owls become another statistic. Temple's lack of offensive production resulted in it become the 30th USF opponent to score fewer than 30 points in a first half this season.
"I think that all year, you know, on the defensive side we've found that we enjoy when we're able to stop the other team," Ron Anderson Jr. said.
The fun didn't stop there for the Bulls, who ended up holding Temple to season single-game lows in points (44), field goals (15) and field goal percentage (35.7).
"They take pride in stopping their man," Temple's Ramone Moore said. "They're long and athletic, do a great job of switching as well as the big man keeping the guards up front. They play team defense, and I think it disrupted us tonight."
USF ranked seventh in the nation in scoring defense, giving up 56.4 points per game, before Saturday's games began. Sweet 16-bound Wisconsin led the country at 52.8 points per game.
STREAK-SNAPPERS, MORE HISTORY
USF's victory over Temple cut the string on the Owls' streak of 105 consecutive games without losing back-to-back matchups that was good enough for second in the country.
The Bulls (22-13) set another program record for most wins in a single season which is amazing considering they won only 10 games in 2010-11.
Sunday's USF-Ohio game is scheduled for a 7:10 p.m. (EST) start and can be seen on TBS. This marks the first time this tournament the 12th-ranked Bulls aren't the underdog with the Bobcats holding strong as a No. 13 seed.