Date: Tuesday, March 4, 2014 Time: 8:30 p.m. ET Location: Houston, Texas/Hofheinz Pavilion (8,479) TV: ESPNews (Roxy Bernstein, Stephen Howard) | WatchESPN Radio: 98.7 FM The Fan, Sirius: 108, XM: 193 (Jim Lighthall) | BullsCast Game Notes: USF | Houston Follow: Live Stats | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram
TAMPA, MARCH 3, 2014 – In its final road test of the season, the USF men’s basketball team will play at Houston on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. ET.
USF (12-17, 3-13 American) is coming off a 74-73 loss at Rutgers on Saturday, its sixth consecutive loss. With just one game remaining after Tuesday, each becomes important to the seeding for the American Athletic Conference Championships, held March 12-15 in Memphis, Tenn. USF is currently tied with UCF (11-16, 3-13 American) for eighth place while Temple (7-21, 2-14 American) is in 10th. All three teams are guaranteed to play in the first round of the conference championships on March 12.
Houston (15-17, 7-9 American) is currently in sixth place in the conference after winning its last three games. One win or one Rutgers loss would clinch the No. 6 seed and a first-round bye for Houston.
USF’s Victor Rudd has played his best basketball of the season recently averaging 22.0 points and 9.0 rebounds over the past four games. He joins Houston’s TaShawn Thomas and UCF’s Isaiah Sykes as the only players ranked in the top 10 in the conference in scoring and rebounding.
Rudd currently ranks 13th in career scoring at USF and is 21 points from No. 12, Jessie Salters (1,177).
SCOUTING HOUSTON It will be senior night for Houston’s Jimmie Jones, Brandon Morris, Lawrence Paye, J.J. Richardson and Tione Womack. Junior forward TaShawn Thomas posted 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting in Houston’s 89-79 win at Temple on Saturday. He leads the Cougars with 16.0 points per game and 8.2 rebounds per game.
SERIES The all-time series is tied 10-10 with the Cougars holding a 5-4 advantage in Houston. The teams last met on Jan. 4 resulting in a 67-58 win by Houston in Tampa.
NOTES » Freshman Josh Heath started for the first time in his career Saturday and played a career-best 33 minutes » USF shot a season-best 85.7 percent (18-21) from the free throw line and 55.6 percent (5-9) from 3-point range on Saturday at Rutgers » Martino Brock is 30-of-53, 56.6% from the field over his last six games » Chris Perry’s free throws: First 15 games... 23-of-53, 43%. Last 10 games... 31-of-43, 72.1% » Corey Allen Jr. did not start at Rutgers, the first time he did not start a game this season » In every game Victor Rudd has recorded at least 10 rebounds (6), he’s had at least 10 points for a double-double » Josh Heath has 44 assists and 23 turnovers for a 1.9 assist/turnover ratio, the 7th best in The American in conference-only games » Musa Abdul-Aleem is 16-of-67 (23.9 percent) from three-point range, but 9-of-18 from two » John Egbunu has recorded at least one blocked shot in all but seven games this season » John Egbunu’s 38 blocks on the season is the third most ever at USF among freshmen, first is 50 » John Egbunu’s 182 rebounds is the second most ever at USF among freshmen, first is 197 » 47 of John Egbunu’s 79 field goals have been dunks » Only one team in the nation (Lamar) has attempted fewer three-pointers per game than USF (12.0) » 61.2 percent of USF’s scoring has come via two-pointers, the 5th most in the NCAA according to KenPom » 39.4 percent of USF’s scoring has come from three newcomers: Corey Allen Jr., John Egbunu and Chris Perry » 23.9 percent of USF’s scoring has come from Victor Rudd » USF is 5-3 in games decided by three points or less » USF is 0-10 when shooting under 40 percent from the field » USF is 7-4 when leading at halftime, but 2-13 when trailing at the break » USF is 8-0 when committing fewer turnovers than its opponent » John Egbunu ranks 10th in the conference in rebounding (6.6), the most of any freshman, 11th in blocked shots (1.3), 8th in offensive rebounding (2.6) » Chris Perry ranks 16th in the conference in rebounding (5.4) and leads all freshmen in the conference in scoring with 9.0 points per game
LAST TIME OUT A nine-point deficit turned into a 15-point lead which resulted in a one-point loss by USF at Rutgers by the score of 74-73 on Saturday at The RAC. Rudd scored a game-high 26 points on 9-of-20 shooting including 4-of-7 from 3-point range. He also had nine rebounds to give the Bulls the edge on the glass 39-28.
HEATING UP IN THE COLD It was below freezing outside in Piscataway, N.J. on March 1, but the Bulls were hot from beyond-the-arc. USF shot 55.6 percent (5-of-9) thanks to a 4-of-7 effort from Victor Rudd. Zach LeDay was 1-for-1 to help the Bulls shoot its best percentage from three-point range since shooting 61.5 percent (8-of-13) against Vermont on Nov. 12, 2011.
PAINTING When USF scored 54 points in the paint at UCF, it was the most since recording 54 on Feb. 27, 2010 in a 99-93 win by the Bulls. When USF defeated SMU 78-71 on Jan. 28, it was the first time the Mustang’s had been outscored in the paint all season (38-28). The Bulls have outscored their opponents down low 954-839 on the season.
USF RUNS ON DUNKIN Through 29 games, the Bulls have recorded 116 dunks, an average of 4.0 per game. Freshman John Egbunu has led the rim-rattling with 47 dunks (page 7). The only game in which USF did not recorded a dunk was on Jan. 4 against Houston. By comparison, FGCU “Dunk City” threw down 148 dunks last season in 37 games, an average of 4.0 per game.
UP NEXT Martino Brock and Victor Rudd play their final homes games in USF’s regular season finale, senior day, on Saturday at 2 p.m. against Temple. TICKETS