HOUSTON, MARCH 4, 2014 – Seniors Victor Rudd scored a game-high 25 points and Martino Brock added 19 points, but it wasn’t enough as the USF men’s basketball team fell at Houston, 78-69, Tuesday night at Hofheinz Pavilion.
Rudd, a senior from Los Angeles, was 10-of-20 from the field, but just 1-of-7 from 3-point range, contributing to USF’s poor shooting from beyond-the-arc. The Bulls (12-18, 3-14 American) shot 48.3 percent from the field, but 1-of-9 (11.1 percent) from 3-point range. Houston was more fortunate, shooting 55.1 percent from the field and 52.2 percent from three, making 12-of-23 attempts which tied for the most allowed all season by the Bulls.
Rudd passed Jessie Salters and Cedric Smith for No. 11 on USF’s all-time scoring list with 1,801 points.
“Two things,” said head coach Stan Heath. “We couldn’t stop them from three, and we didn’t do a good job at the free throw line. We needed to do a better job in those two areas. But we’re playing hard, we just don’t have the wins to show for it.”
The Bulls shot just 50 percent from the free throw line, making 12-of-24 attempts while the Cougars (16-14, 8-9 American) took advantage of their 14 attempts, making 12 for 85.7 percent.
USF trailed, 27-18, with 5:15 to play in the first half before going on a 12-2 run to take its first lead of the game, 30-29, since a 4-2 advantage. However, a desperation 3-pointer by Jherrod Stiggers as time expired gave the Cougars a 32-30 halftime lead.
Houston carried the momentum into the second half and took its largest lead, 51-36, with 13:30 to play. USF then scored 12 unanswered points to cut the UH lead to 51-48 with 10:38 to play. The Bulls’ run became 23-8 over nearly 8 minutes to tie the game, 59-59, with 7:15 remaining.
“I liked the way we forced them into 15 turnovers and we only had six,” Heath said. “That really gave us a lot of extra possessions going down the stretch.”
Houston then outscored USF, 19-10, the rest of the game to win on its senior night. The Cougars were led by sophomore Danuel House, who had 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists.
Freshman John Egbunu (Nigeria) had eight points and eight rebounds, and freshman Josh Heath (Tampa) recorded a career-best eight points in his second-career start.
The Bulls will honor their seniors during the season finale 2 p.m. Saturday against Temple at the Sun Dome.