WHO: No. 24 Marquette (15-5, 6-2) at USF (10-11, 1-8)
WHEN: 7 p.m. Wednesday
WHERE: Sun Dome
TV: ESPN2 (Mike Patrick and LaPhonso Ellis)
RADIO: 98.7-FM The Fan, Sirius 94/XM190 (Jim Lighthall and Todd Kalas)
By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA - The Bulls want to rebound in the second half of their Big East schedule and it all starts with looking forward.
The USF men's basketball team returns to the Sun Dome 7 p.m. Wednesday for a rematch with No. 24 Marquette. The Golden Eagles are one of eight league teams to beat the Bulls this season and Stan Heath's squad is determined to quickly leave past struggles in the rear-view mirror.
"Toarlyn Fitzpatrick said it best in the locker room, 'We've got to have amnesia,'" Heath said. "There are some things we need to remember to get better at, but there are some things we need to put behind us and keep going forward."
The Bulls (10-11, 1-8) have made improvements on the glass and on defense during the recent stretch of games, and now Heath is looking for his team to include some toughness.
"Now we have to start scoring the ball," he said. "We also have to have more of a feisty attitude, especially coming out in the second half."
Scoring wasn't a problem for Fitzpatrick in USF's 69-64 overtime loss at UConn on Sunday. The senior from Tampa posted a season-high 22 points and 10 rebounds, and Heath wants to see a collective scoring effort in Wednesday's rematch. Marquette won the first meeting, 63-50, Jan. 28 in Milwaukee after the Bulls as a whole shot 27 percent from the field.
"I'm starting to see some of our veterans play better. Toarlyn Fitzpatrick had one of his best games and our whole thing is putting it all together. Let's have everybody going at the same time," Heath said.
Heath knows a focus on scoring can't take away from solid defense against a Marquette team that was carried by Vander Blue in the first meeting. The junior guard put up a career-high 30 points against USF while the Golden Eagles shot 55 percent from the field.
"In the last game, they really hurt us in transition and Vander Blue just had a fantastic game," Heath said. "We need to do a much better job of stopping some of those key players."
Wednesday's game will be aired on ESPN2 and it marks the first of four straight nationally televised Bulls games. USF is on ESPNU 3 p.m. Saturday at Villanova and Feb. 13 at home against Providence. The Bulls' rematch with Louisville at the Sun Dome on Feb. 17 will be televised on ESPN.