J. Meric

Bulls Cool Off After Break in Loss to Providence

February 13, 2013
Team 1st 2nd OT Final
Providence 25 51 -- 76
USF 36 30 -- 66



USF Senior Writer

TAMPA - The Bulls jumped out to an 11-point lead at halftime but couldn't heat back up after the break in a 76-66 loss to Providence at the Sun Dome on Wednesday night.

The Friars (13-11, 5-7) started the second half on a 23-2 run on the way to posting their third consecutive league win. Providence shot 64 percent after the break and Kadeem Batts' 24 points led four players in double figures.

"Unfortunately I've seen this same song before. It was a bad song in the second half," USF head coach Stan Heath said. "We let that momentum get away from us and they went on a great run."

Victor Rudd returned to USF's lineup in a big way with a game-high 26 points and 12 rebounds. The junior did not play in the Bulls' loss at Villanova on Saturday because of a groin injury.

"I played hard. It's still hurting me a little bit, but I did the best I could to try to get the win," Rudd said.

Anthony Collins also had a strong game with 12 points and 10 assists, and Toarlyn Fitzpatrick finished with 14 points in USF's seventh straight loss.

"I thought we shared the ball better, but our defense in the second half was not at the level it needed to be at all," Heath said.

The first half was a much different story for a USF team that grabbed a 36-25 advantage at the break.

The Bulls (10-14, 1-11) started the game on a 10-2 run, powered by a 3-pointer from Fitzpatrick and a rim-rattling dunk by Rudd. A pair of baskets apiece from Kore White and Collins pumped USF's lead up to 20-7.

A hot start turned into nearly a six-minute cold spell for the Bulls while the Friars went on a 10-0 run. A Martino Brock jumper with less than seven minutes to go before the break reignited the Bulls. Rudd connected on two jumpers and Fitzpatrick added his second 3-pointer to get USF's lead back up to 10.

Rudd finished the first half 5-for-8 from the field and had 12 points. Collins was well on his way to a posting a solid stat night with eight points and five assists.

"I thought we wasted some good performances. I thought Rudd had his best Big East performance ever," Heath said.

The Friars fired back as soon as play resumed and seized the lead with a 17-0 run. The Bulls' first points of the second half came on a tip-in by JaVontae Hawkins more than seven minutes into the period. Providence continued on a 23-2 run with a dunk by LaDontae Henton that gave the Friars a 48-38 lead with about 11 minutes remaining.

"One half we play great defense, the next half we don't. We've got to put it together," Rudd said.

A 3-pointer by Fitzpatrick cut USF's deficit to 56-45 with 7:21 remaining and another from the senior got the Bulls within eight with less than six minutes to play. A 3-pointer by Rudd cut Providence's lead to 66-61 with less than two minutes to go but that's as close as the Bulls would get the rest of the way.

The Bulls stay at home to host No. 12 Louisville 1 p.m. Sunday at the Sun Dome. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN.

















USF FG-A 3FG-A FT-A  Pts. 
Victor Rudd 10-18 3-5 3-4 26
Providence FG-A  3FG-A  FT-A Pts. 
Kadeem Batts 8-16 0-0 8-10 24
USF Off. Def. Total
Victor Rudd 5 7


Providence Off. Def. Total

LaDontae Henton

1 7 8
USF Asst. Stl.  Blk. 
Anthony Collins 10 1 0
Providence Asst. Stl. Blk.
Vincent Council 8 3 1

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