J. Meric

Bulls Seek More Big East Success at Seton Hall

January 22, 2013

WHO: USF (10-7, 1-4) at Seton Hall (12-6, 1-4)
WHEN: 7 p.m. Wednesday
WHERE: Prudential Center, Newark, N.J.
RADIO: 98.7-FM The Fan (Jim Lighthall and Alex Perlman)
TV: ESPNU (Adam Amin and Tim Welsh)




USF Senior Writer

TAMPA - The Bulls gained confidence in their first Big East win of the season and want to keep a good thing going on the road.

The USF men's basketball looks to continue the march toward even ground in the league 7 p.m. Wednesday at Seton Hall. The Bulls snapped a three-game losing streak in the conference Saturday night when they defeated Georgetown, 61-58, at the Sun Dome.

"That was a big win for us just to get back in the race and our team is starting to figure out some different things we can do to win. We want to build off the last game," head coach Stan Heath said.

The battle with the Hoyas produced plenty of positives for the Bulls. The USF offense committed a season-low five turnovers and point guard Anthony Collins went on a scoring surge by posting all of his 14 points in the second half.

"I thought them giving him an open shot, and him taking it and making it was a big deal," Heath said.

Collins went 2-for-3 from long range and made all six of his free throw attempts to help the Bulls hold off the Hoyas down the stretch.

"He is terrific down the stretch, in the beginning and in the middle," Georgetown head coach John Thompson III said. "He puts pressure on your defense. You can say, 'Let's keep him out of the lane,' but no one has kept him out of the lane yet."

The Bulls' defense finished the job at the end, forcing a turnover in the final seconds and finishing with 15 takeaways. USF scored 20 points off turnovers in a win that worked wonders for the team's morale.

"It gave us a lot of confidence and our team some life. It was good to get a big home win against a really good Georgetown team and it gave our team a spark," said senior forward Toaryln Fitzpatrick, who finished with nine points and five rebounds.

USF quickly turned its attention towards a Seton Hall team that has lost four straight, but Heath said the Pirates' fortunes could improve if the Bulls don't guard the perimeter well. Seton Hall (12-6, 1-4) has made the most 3-pointers of any team in the Big East and ranks second in the league with a 37 percent success rate. Leading scorers Fuquan Edwin (17.3 ppg) and Aaron Cosby (12.6 ppg) have combined to make 71 of the team's 150 3-pointers this season.

"Seton Hall is a team that can shoot the three and that makes you very dangerous when you make a lot of shots. We have to defend that," said Heath, whose Bulls rank 24th nationally in three-point defense (28.8 percent).

USF has won two of its past three meetings with Seton Hall by a combined total of three points, including a 56-55 victory at the St. Pete Times Forum last year. Fitzpatrick said success against Georgetown gives this version of the Bulls something to draw back on the next time a game goes down the wire.

"Everybody knows what it takes to get a Big East win," he said. "We displayed that we can do it and sometimes that's all it takes. Just get one win under your belt and go through a war like we went through."

The Bulls are back in the Sun Dome at noon on Saturday to take on Notre Dame. Purchase tickets HERE.


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