vs. No. 21/T23 Louisville
Jan. 7, 2008 - 7 p.m.
TAMPA - The University of South Florida men’s basketball team hosts nationally ranked Louisville and Rick Pitino on Wednesday, Jan. 7, at 7 p.m. at the Sun Dome. The game is televised nationally on ESPN2.
After Louisville, the Bulls travel to Chicago to face DePaul on Saturday, Jan. 10, at 2 p.m. That game can be seen on ESPN360.com.
Both games can be heard on WNHZ 1250 AM and GoUSFBulls.com. A live blog will also be ongoing during the games on GoUSFBulls.com.
The Bulls are 5-8 on the year after losing a tight matchup with nationally ranked Syracuse on Friday, Jan. 2. Sophomore guard Dominique Jones led USF with 17 points against the Orange. Jones leads the Bulls at 17.1 points per gam
Louisville is 9-3 on the year after downing in-state rival Kentucky 74-71 on Sunday at home. The Cardinals are ranked 21st in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll and 23rd in the Associated Press poll. Freshman center Samardo Samuels leads UofL in scoring at 13.8 points per game, with Earl Clark and Terrance Williams at 12.8 and 12.3 points a game, respectively.
SETTING THE SCENE
Date: Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009
Tip-off: 7 p.m. ET
Location: Tampa, Fla. - The Sun Dome (10,411)
Television: ESPN2 with Dave Pasch and Len Elmore bringing you the action.
Webcast: GoUSFBulls.com (audio)
Radio: 1250 AM with Jim Lighthall handling play-by-play and Todd Kalas as color analyst.
USF’s Last Time Out: Lost to No. T11/13 Syracuse 59-54 on Jan. 2 at home.
Louisville’s Last Time Out: Defeated Kentucky 74-71 at home on Jan. 4.
Series History: Louisville leads 21-3
Last Meeting: Louisville won 80-60 on Jan. 23, 2008 at the Sun Dome.
USF Tickets: 1-800-GoBulls
LEADING THE BULLS
Sophomore guard Dominique Jones leads USF at 17.1 points per game, with senior guard Jesus Verdejo right behind him at 15.5 an outing. Freshman forward Augustus Gilchrist leads the team at 5.0 rebounds per game and Jones leads in assists at 4.1 a game. Jones leads the way with 24 steals and senior forward Aris Williams with nine blocks.
YEAR TWO OF THE HEATH ERA IS UNDERWAY
This season marks head coach Stan Heath's second season at the helm. He is the eighth head coach in the 38-year history of the program.
The Cardinals are coached by Rick Pitino who is in his 8th year at Louisville and 23rd overall. They are ranked 21st in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll and 23rd in the Associated Press poll and return four starters from a team that was one win away from the Final Four last season. Louisville is 9-3 on the year after a 74-71 win over in-state rival Kentucky on Sunday, Jan 4. Freshman center Samardo Samuels leads UofL in scoring at 13.8 points per game, with Earl Clark and Terrance Williams at 12.8 and 12.3 points a game, respectively. Williams leads the Cardinals with 8.8 rebounds a game. USF travels to UofL on Wednesday, Jan. 28.
THE LOUISVILLE SERIES
USF and Louisville have met 24 times previously, with UofL owning a 21-3 lead in the series. The Bulls and Cardinals were also opponents in the Metro Conference and Conference USA, before joining the BIG EAST together. USF's last win in the series was a 73-67 victory on Jan. 31, 2001 at the Sun Dome. It is the 11th meeting in Tampa. Louisville has won the last seven in the series.
UP NEXT: DEPAUL
The Bulls begin a three-game road trip at DePaul on Saturday, Jan. 10, at 2 p.m. at All-State Arena. The game can be seen on ESPN360.com. It is the first of two meetings against the Blue Demons with the return game on Jan. 20 at the Sun Dome. DePaul is coached by Jerry Wainwright who is in his fourth season at the school and 15th overall. They return three starters. DU is 8-7 on the year, 0-2 in BIG EAST play and plays at Syracuse on Jan. 7. Sophomore Dar Tucker leads DePaul in scoring at 19.6 points a game. Sophomore Mac Koshwal leads them in rebounding at 11.2 a game.
CRATER TRANSFERS FROM OHIO STATE, IS ENROLLED IN CLASSES
USF men’s basketball coach Stan Heath announced Jan. 5 that freshman guard Anthony Crater has signed a Grant-In-Aid with USF and will begin classes this week.
Crater was granted a transfer release from Ohio State after playing 10 games with the Buckeyes this season. The 6-foot-1 guard will sit out the rest of this year and have two-and-a-half years of eligibility remaining and become eligible as a sophomore at the end of the first semester on December 12, 2009.
“We are very excited to add Anthony to our basketball team,” said Heath. “I’ve had the opportunity to watch him play as young player through the years. We felt the need to strengthen our guard play and Anthony’s ball skills, quickness and playmaking abilities will be a welcome addition to our team.”
The Flint, Mich., averaged 13.1 minutes a game at OSU and averaged 1.2 points and had 19 assists to just nine turnovers.
Crater was highly touted coming out of high school. He was a two-time All-Michigan performer and was voted Class B Player of the Year by the Associated Press following his junior year. He averaged 16.2 points and more than eight assists as a junior and was named an all-league and all-city selection each of his three years at Flint (Mich.) Southwestern Academy.
Crater led SWA to three city championships and two Michigan Class B final four appearances as a sophomore and junior, helping the Knights finish with identical 24-3 records in 2006 and 2007. After three years at SWA, Crater transferred to Brewster (N.H.) Academy to complete his high school eligibility at the prep school. While at Brewster, the team captured its first New England Class A title and advanced to the national final four with a school-record 31 victories (31-4). He averaged 16 points and 8.0 assists at Brewster his senior year.
He was rated the 21st best point guard in the country by Scout.com after his senior year.
Crater is the son of Lisa Jimerson and Anthony Crater Sr. He has a brother, Treyvon, and a sister, Kyla.
MERCER OUT WITH TORN RIGHT ACL
USF men’s basketball coach Stan Heath announced Dec. 28 that junior guard Mike Mercer has a torn right Anterior Cruciate Ligament and will miss the remainder of the season. His surgery is schedule for Jan. 8.
Mercer suffered the injury during USF’s game vs. Wright State on Dec. 21. He had played in just four games after sitting out the past year as a transfer from the University of Georgia. It is the second right ACL tear he has endured after injuring it late in the 2006-07 Georgia season.
“We are extremely disappointed for Mike,” said Heath. “It is an unfortunate injury and we will do everything we can to support him throughout his rehabilitation. Mike has been through this before and we are confident that he will fully recover fully from this injury.”
JONES TALLIES TEAM-HIGH 17 VS. SYRACUSE
Sophomore guard Dominique Jones led the Bulls with 17 points vs. Syracuse, going 6-14 from the field including four of eight from behind the arc. Tonight marks the seventh game this season that Jones has led or tied the Bulls in scoring. Jones also grabbed five boards, while playing the entire 40 minutes.
AJAYI NOTCHES CAREER HIGH 15 AGAINST SYRACUSE
Senior forward Mobolaji Ajayi tallied a career high 15 points vs. the Orange, going 7-10 from the field. His previous high was 12 which he has reached twice the last being last year against Notre Dame (3/8/08).
HOWARD DISHES OUT SEASON-HIGH EIGHT ASSISTS
Junior guard Chris Howard dished out eight assists vs. SU, which was the most for any USF player this season. He fell three short of matching his career of 11 which he set against FAU on 11/7/07.
Freshmen Justin Leemow and Eladio Espinosa made their second consecutive start vs. SU. The Bulls have used nine different lineups this year in 13 games.
SECOND LARGEST SUN DOME CROWD SINCE ENTERING BIG EAST
The crowd of 8,350 against Syracuse was larger than any home game at the Sun Dome last season. It is the second largest Sun Dome crowd since USF joined the BIG EAST. The only crowd larger was on March 1, 2006 vs. UConn with a crowd of 9,636.
JONES CONTINUES TO MOVE UP SCORING LADDER, NEARS 800
Dominique Jones’ 17 points vs. Syracuse moved him into a tie for 34th on the all-time USF Scoring list with 753 points. He needs just 47 points to become the 32nd USF player to score 800 career points.
VERDEJO CLIMBING SCORING LADDER TOO
Jesus Verdejo has 677 career points, which ranks 42nd on the all-time USF scoring list. He is just 15 points away from moving into 40th on the all-time list and 23 from hitting 700 career points.
HOWARD 11TH ALL-TIME ON USF ASSIST LIST
Junior Chris Howard has 279 career assists, which puts him 11th on the all-time USF assist list. He is 13 assists behind Bobby Russell for 10th all-time.
JONES' 36 TIED FOR FIFTH ON USF SINGLE-GAME SCORING LIST
Dominique Jones' 36 point outburst vs. Iona is tied for fifth on the all-time USF single-game scoring list. He is tied with five other players for fifth. The record is 42 by Charlie Bradley vs. Florida State on 12/10/82.
JONES EXPLODES FOR CAREER-HIGH 36 VS. IONA
Sophomore guard Dominique Jones exploded for a career high 36 points vs. Iona, shooting an efficient 12-16 from the field, 7-9 from 3-point range and 5-6 from the free throw line. The 36 points bested his previous high of 31 done twice previously (12/6/08 at UCF and 2/26/08 vs. Seton Hall). It was his fifth career game with 30 or more points. He also finished with five assists, accounting for at least 46 of USF’s 68 points. He began the assualt with a 17-point first half, hitting 6-8 field goals, 3-4 3-pointers and 2-2 from the free throw line.
JONES HITS CAREER HIGH SEVEN 3-POINTERS VS. IONA
Jones’ seven 3-point field goals was also a career high, surpassing his previous high of five, done twice.
LEEMOW MAKES FIRST CAREER START
Freshman guard Justin Leemow made his first career start vs. Iona. He played 24 minutes and did not commit a turnover, scoring three points and dishing out two assists.
VERDEJO IS SHOOTING WELL FROM DOWNTOWN, IS 10TH ALL-TIME AT USF FOR 3-POINT FIELD GOALS
Jesus Verdejo has started out the season strong shooting the 3-pointer. He has connected on 35 3-pointers and is averaging 2.7 per game. Verdejo has 35 in 13 games this season after making 42 in 30 games last season.
He is also moving up the all-time 3-point made list at USF. The senior has 92 career 3-pointers, moving him into 10th on the all-time list.
VERDEJO NAMED TO ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM IN PUERTO RICO
Jesus Verdejo was the only Bull named to the All-Tournament team in Puerto Rico after averaging 17.7 points in the three games. He matched his career high with 26 against Wright State, had nine vs. Murray State and 18 vs. Oral Roberts.
BELARDO TALLIES HIS FIRST CAREER POINTS
Freshman Gaby Belardo tallied a career-high eight points vs. Oral Roberts in San Juan. The Puerto Rico native was able to do it in front of friends and family.
VERDEJO MATCHES CAREER HIGH VS. WRIGHT STATE
Senior guard Jesus Verdejo tallied 26 points vs. Wright State, matching his career high from earlier this season on Dec. 3 at UAB. It was his fourth game this season scoring 20 or more points, after going for 20 or more just twice the two previous seasons (one each season).
EMORY DOES NOT RETURN
Freshman walk-on Mitch Emory has decided not to return to the team for the second semester. Emory is focusing on his acedemics at USF.
MERCER AND GILCHRIST MAKE DEBUTS, AS DOES DANIELS
Sunday, Dec. 14, vs. Niagara marked the debuts of two key transfers in junior guard Mike Mercer and freshman forward/center Augustus Gilchrist. Mercer, 6-4, and Gilchrist, 6-10, will add some much needed experience, talent and depth to the team. Mercer averaged 12.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 51 career games for Georgia, which included 27 starts. Glichrist was one of the top-rated post players in the country coming out of high school in the 2007 class.
Against Niagara, both Mercer and Gilchrist started with Mercer notching 12 points and Gilchrist eight points and six rebounds. Freshman guard and scholarship quarterback B.J Daniels also made his USF basketball debut midway through the first half vs. Niagara.
Daniels joined the roster on Friday, Dec. 5. Daniels was a first-team Class 5A all-state selection last year and averaged 27 points per game. He did not travel to West Virginia with the football team for their last regular season game and will not re-join the football team for its bowl game. He is applying for a redshirt.
RIVALS.COM RANKS MIKE MERCER THE NO. 5 IMPACT TRANSFER
Rivals.com recently announced its top 10 transfers for the upcoming season and USF's Mike Mercer was ranked fifth. Mercer averaged 12.2 points and 3.6 rebounds in 51 career games for Georgia. He was averaging 13.6 points per game as a sophomore before being sidelined with a right ACL injury. Mercer will miss both exhibition games and the first six regular season games, becoming eligible for the Dec. 14 Niagara game.
JONES GOES FOR 30 OR MORE FOR SECOND TIME VS. UCF AND FOURTH TIME IN HIS CAEER
Sophomore guard Dominique Jones matched his career high with 31 points at UCF, going 11-17 from the field and 2-5 from 3-point range. His previous 31-point outing was last season vs. Seton Hall (2/26/08).
It is the fourth time in Jones’ career with 30 or more points which is tied for second all-time at USF with Altron Jackson and B.B. Waldon. Only Charley Bradley, with 24, has more games with 30 or more points scored at USF. Jones also had 30 points in a USF win over UCF last season.
VERDEJO FIRES AWAY FOR CAREER HIGH 26 AT UAB
Senior guard Jesus Verdejo led USF with a game and career-high 26 points at UAB, besting the 22 he had at Virginia earlier this year (11/19/08). He was 10-20 from the field buried a career high six 3-pointers on 12 attempts. His previous best was four 3-pointers made three times previously.
LEEMOW GOES FOR CAREER HIGH NINE, HITS THREE 3-POINTERS
Freshman guard Justin Leemow had a career-high nine points at UAB, going 3-3 from 3-point range, also a career best.
JUST SECOND OT GAME OF THE HEATH TENURE AT USF
The UAB game was just the second overtime game played for Stan Heath while at USF. The other OT game was last season vs. UConn.
37 POINTS ALLOWED SECOND LOWEST IN USF HISTORY
The 37 points that USF held Northeastern to is the second lowest defensive performance in the 38-year Bulls history and only the fifth time in history holding an opponent to less than 40 points. The record is 34 in a 45-34 win over St. Peters on Dec. 4, 1985.
Only one opponent last season, Rutgers 45 in the BIG EAST opener, scored fewer than 46 points scored in a game. This season has seen three teams score 46 or less against the Bulls.
USF HOLDS NORTHEASTERN TO 11 HALFTIME POINTS
The 11 points that Northeastern scored in the first half is the lowest defensive half under Stan Heath. The previous low half was the last half USF played, the second against High Point where they gave up 18.
WILLIAMS MATCHES CAREER HIGH IN TWO STRAIGHT GAMES
Aris Williams matched his career high with 11 points vs. Northeastern, which he set Nov. 25 vs. High Point. He also pulled down a game-high seven rebounds.
ANOTHER LOW IN HEATH ERA
USF’s 24.1 percent field goal percentage defense vs. NU was the lowest in the Stan Heath era, besting the 27.7 against SMU in the season opener.
WILLIAMS NOTCHES CAREER HIGH
Senior forward Aris Williams posted a career high 11 points vs. High Point, including eight in a 10-2 USF run that gave the Bulls their first lead of the game, 34-32, at the 14:14 mark of the second half. Williams also finished with six rebounds, three blocked shots, an assist and a steal.
ESPINOSA PULLS DOWNS 10 BOARDS
Freshman Eladio Espinosa grabbed a game and career high 10 rebounds vs. High Point and added nine points, just missing his first career double double.
TWO GO FOR OVER 20 AT UVA
USF had two 20-point scorers against Virginia, Jones with 23 and Verdejo with 22. The Bulls had three games last year with two players scoring 20 or more points in the same game (Kentrell Gransberry 21 and Aaron Holmes 20 vs. Winston-Salem State; Gransberry 20 and Jones 24 vs. Rutgers at home; and Gransberry 23 and Jones 29 vs. Syracuse at home).
AJAYI MATCHES CAREER HIGH FOR REBOUNDS AT UVA
Senior forward Mobolaji Ajayi led USF with 11 rebounds vs. SMU, matching his career high set last year vs. Seton Hall (2/26/08).
BULLS SIGN DUMARS AND NORIEGA
USF men’s basketball coach Stan Heath announced on Nov. 12 the signing of guards Jordan Dumars and Shaun Noriega to NCAA Letters of Intent during the November signing period. The signing period ran through November 19.
Dumars (6-5, 225) and Noriega (6-4, 195) will join USF as freshmen for the 2009-10 season and bring with them sharp-shooting skills and perimeter size. Noriega is already North Port High School’s all-time leading scorer in just three seasons with 1,282 points, while Dumars holds perennial high school power Detroit Country Day’s single-game record for 3-point field goals made with nine.
“We felt we needed to address our perimeter shooting and both Shaun and Jordan are very skilled players that can stretch the defense and consistently knock down 3-point shots,” said USF Head Coach Stan Heath. “We also felt both players had very high basketball IQ’s and will be players that will make good decisions and be good teammates. Both players come from winning programs and have very strong academic backgrounds.”
TV ALL THE TIME
In 2007-08, the BIG EAST began a new multiyear agreement with ESPN that brought the national television exposure for the league to unprecedented levels. That coverage continues this season. For the second straight year, every conference regular-season game will be televised.
The BIG EAST has always been considered a leader in TV. Twelve of the 16 BIG EAST institutions are located in the top 34 media markets in the country. Some of the highlights of the current agreement:
ESPN, Inc. will produce 140 of the 144 regular-season conference games this season. The four remaining games will be carried by CBS Sports.
ESPN and ESPN2 will telecast a minimum of 60 games each year. In 2008-09, ESPN or ESPN2 will televise 45 regular-season league games, 11 games of The BIG EAST Championship and eight nonconference home contests.
ESPN Regional will carry a minimum of 67 games under the banner of The BIG EAST Network and continue to produce its weekend Game of the Week package, which reaches over a third of the nation’s homes and has a household reach of more than 38 million. Most games offered by ESPN Regional are also available nationally as part of ESPN Full Court, the pay subscription college basketball outer-market service.
A record 45 conference contests will be carried on ESPN or ESPN2. CBS Sports will televise 10 more games involving BIG EAST teams. ESPN will continue to televise The BIG EAST Championship from Madison Square Garden in New York. The dates are March 10-14.
In total, 70 of the 144 regular-season BIG EAST games will be on national television, which includes 21 that will be carried on ESPNU. The remaining games will be carried on ESPN360 or the BIG EAST Network, which is produced by ESPN Regional Television.
BULLS PICKED TO FINISH 16TH IN BIG EAST PRESEASON COACHES' POLL
The Bulls were picked to finish 16th in the BIG EAST Preseason poll.
BIG EAST FIELD TO INCREASE TO 16 FOR 2009
The Presidents of the BIG EAST Conference voted to include all 16 member institutions in the men’s and women’s basketball championship tournaments beginning in 2009. The Presidents took this action at their annual meeting, which was held Nov. 6 in Philadelphia.
Previously, on the top 12 teams in the final regular-season standings advanced to participate in the men’s and women’s championships. The men’s championship is held in New York City at Madison Square Garden. The women’s championship is held in Hartford, Conn., at the Hartford Civic Center.
WALK-ON ADDED TO ROSTER
Junior college transfer Ryan Kardok has been added to the 2008-09 roster as a walk-on. Kardok spent two years playing at Broward Community College. He attended Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where he averaged 17 points and six assists per game as a senior.