Bulls Battle No. 24 Irish Saturday at Sun Dome
WHO: Notre Dame (15-4, 3-3) at USF (10-8, 1-5)
WHEN: Saturday at noon
WHERE: Sun Dome
TV: WFTS, Big East Network (Anish Shroff and Bob Wenzel)
RADIO: 98.7-FM The Fan (Jim Lighthall and Todd Kalas)
By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA - USF and No. 24 Notre Dame both look to get back into a shooting groove when they meet up at the Sun Dome on Saturday.
USF (10-8, 1-5) heated up in the second half of a win over Georgetown last week before shooting 33 percent from the field in a 55-47 loss at Seton Hall on Wednesday night. The Bulls went 3-for-19 from long range a game after they made seven 3-pointers against the Hoyas after the break.
"Our shooting has to improve quite a bit. We've got to rebound the ball and find a way to generate some more points in some of these games," USF head coach Stan Heath said.
One encouraging sign for USF has been its ability to force turnovers during the two-game stretch. The Bulls scored 20 points off 15 takeaways against Georgetown and forced 17 turnovers against Seton Hall.
"We're forcing more turnovers the last two games and those led to some transition baskets, so it really picked up in that area," Heath said. "The three-point shot has been our defining game line. We made them in second half against Georgetown, erased an eight-point deficit and won by three. We go 3-for-19 in the last game against Seton Hall with a lot of good looks and we just have to knock those shots down."
Notre Dame (15-4, 3-3) also is looking to rebound after shooting a season-low 35 percent in a 63-47 loss to Georgetown on Monday night. The Irish cut their deficit to three early the second half before going scoreless for seven minutes while the Hoyas sealed the game with an 18-0 run.
"It was like men versus boys. They really flustered us," Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey said. "Give credit to Georgetown. Any time we started to make a run, they made shots. We're struggling a little bit right now."
Despite the setback at home, Notre Dame is averaging 73 points a game while Jack Cooley (14.8 ppg) leads three players in double-digit scoring figures.
Saturday marks a quick stop at home for the Bulls, who play at Marquette 9 p.m. Monday in a game that will be televised on ESPNU. USF visits UConn on Saturday, Feb. 3 before returning to the Sun Dome for another battle with Marquette on Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m.