TAMPA – Things are starting to click for the Bulls and it
definitely showed in an 82-63 win over Bradley on Tuesday night.
Toaryln Fitzpatrick led four USF players in double figures with 16
points before a crowd of 4,768 at the Sun Dome that witnessed the home team’s
best showing of the season so far. USF (3-2) shot 51 percent from the field,
outrebounded Bradley, 42-32, and held the Braves to 22 field goals in 62
“We did a little bit of everything,” head coach Stan Heath said.
“We defended, we rebounded, we shot the ball well from (3-point range) and we
defended most of the game.”
Fitzpatrick made half of USF’s eight 3-pointers and Shaun Noriega
added two more on the way to a 14-point night. Victor Rudd had the game’s lone
double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds, while Kore White recorded his
second double-digit scoring game as a Bull with 11 points.
“It seemed like we were more comfortable with each other,” said
Fitzpatrick, who noted USF used more of a motion offense than in past games.
Heath stressed getting off to a fast start and being aggressive on
the boards following Sunday’s 58-53 loss to Western Michigan and the Bulls
delivered in big way in the first half. USF went on a 13-4 run to begin the
game and USF opened with three 3-pointers from Noriega, Fitzpatrick and White.
“We really have to establish our home court and that’s the way to
do it. We have to set the tone early,” Heath said.
The Bulls led 43-26 at halftime and had a 21-17 edge on the boards
with six coming from Rudd, who led all scorers with 11 points at the break.
Noriega also was in double figures with 10 points during the impressive start.
“Coach was harping on us in practice about how we got
outrebounded, and that led to the result of us losing on Sunday,” Fitzpatrick
said. “We had to get back to beating teams on the glass.”
Collins posted a career-high 12 assists on Sunday and followed
that up with six assists and four steals in the first half alone. The sophomore
guard finished with 10 assists and has posted at least six in every game this
Bradley (3-1) had only three field goals in the second half before
its deficit went into the 20s and USF showed no signs of slowing down from
there. A 3-pointer by Fitzpatrick put USF ahead, 54-32, and the Bulls’ pumped
their advantage up to the 30-point mark with a layup by JaVontae Hawkins with
12:29 to play.
USF’s blowout win allowed Heath to use 11 players and the team’s
biggest reserve made the most of extended time. Jordan Omogbehin’s basket in
the paint got USF to the 70-point mark with 9:28 to play and the 7-foot-3
redshirt freshman wound up with six points and six rebounds in 14 minutes.
“It’s important for him to continue to improve, and the more we
get him out there the better,” Heath said. “We know down there road there are
going to be some big guys we have to face where he’ll be one of the best
matchups we have.”
The Bulls are back on the court Monday, Nov. 26 at Stetson and
return to the Sun Dome on Friday, Nov. 30 to host Georgia in the Big East-SEC