As the 2012-13 season approaches, we’ll count down the days to the first game with a look back at some memorable games in USF basketball history. These may not be the most famous games and they may not be the most crucial to the development of the program. But they are 15 mileposts that helped to get us to where we are, and each is worth looking back at.
November 23, 1996
USF 60, Ohio State 56
USF Sun Dome
By JIM LOUK
TAMPA - It was a different feeling for the Bulls and their fans attending the first game of the 1996-97 season. For the first time since Feb. 24, 1986, coach Bobby Paschal wasn't on the USF bench in a Sun Dome game.
After Paschal's resignation, Seth Greenberg was brought on board from Long Beach State to be the Bulls sixth head coach.
The Bulls were new to Conference USA as well; this was the beginning of their second season in the new league. USF had finished 12-16 the prior year, but only 2-12 in league play.
Greenberg had taken Long Beach State to two NCAA Tournaments and an NIT. In the fall of 1996, he began the job of getting the Bulls back to the postseason.
He started with an intriguing opening game. The Ohio State Buckeyes, under coach Randy Ayers, had finished just 10-17 the previous season, but were 7-2 outside the Big Ten Conference.
Greenberg had stirred excitement in the USF fan base throughout the weeks leading up to the season, and the opening night crowd reflected that with 8,329 in attendance at the Sun Dome.
James Harper, Brian Lamb and Anddrikk Frazier would prove to be the heart of the team as the season progressed, and each made their mark on opening night. Harper had 24 points and 14 rebounds, and Lamb and Frazier each scored in double figures as the Bulls methodically erased a nine-point second half deficit en route to a 60-56 victory.
Not pretty, perhaps, but an early indicator of the toughness that Greenberg's USF teams would display. "The way we won this one really pleased me," Greenberg was quoted after the game. "We scratched and clawed, just refused to go down. That's a characteristic I love."
Greenberg's rebuilding job was a big one. The '96-'97 team would struggle to an 8-19 record. However the very next year, USF would improve to 17 wins.
Greenberg went on to coach USF for six more years, winning 108 games and taking the Bulls to the postseason twice before leaving for Virginia Tech.
One of his finest moments came early, as he took the torch from Bobby Paschal and delivered a win to a big USF crowd on his very first night in the Sun Dome.