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USF won 71 to 69 over Kennesaw State last night, improving their record to 3-2 on the season. Yes, the Bulls won the game, but the final score does not tell the entire story because this game was closer than it should have ever been.
The Bulls were on fire in the first half, leading Kennesaw State 48 to 27 (biggest half time lead under Coach Antigua) at the break. USF shot 72% from the court compared to a 40% for KSU (Bulls were 6 of 8 from 3-point range against the 2-3 zone KSU tried to use throughout the first half). Tulio Da Silva led the Bulls with 15 points while Troy Holston had 13 points on a 4-4 first half from 3-point range. It was quite the start for the Bulls as everything went their way. However, things got bad in the second half.
In the 2nd half though, KSU went on an 11 to 1 run start the half and battled their way back. The lead went from double digits to just a point during the last minutes. It was ugly and hard to watch as the Bulls could not hit anything and KSU couldn’t miss. Seriously, we led by 21 and won by just 2, there is no way to sugar coat this melt down.
USF shot 56% overall for the game (KSU shot 44%) but were 17 for 29 from the free throw line (left so many points at the charity stripe). USF also lost the rebounding battle at 27 to 33. Again, we won, but my goodness, it does not feel good at all.
Tulio Da Silva had 17 points for the game with 7 rebounds before fouling out late (was not a factor in the 2nd half). Troy Holston had 13 points, 2 rebounds, and 3 steals for the game (again, nothing in the 2nd half). Geno Thorpe had 12 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals. Luis Santos had 10 points and 3 rebounds off the bench.
Mike Bibby had 8 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals in the spot start (Bo Zeigler was out sick). Ruben Guerrero chipped in 5 points and 3 rebounds. Nick Masterson had 20 points and 4 assists to lead the Owls of KSU.
USF will now hit the road to take on Troy on Thursday night (game begins at 8 PM) it what could be a very interesting game. The Bulls should get Jahmal McMurray next week, so if they can just hold on until their leading scorer from last year gets back, then maybe games like this won’t be so close.
by Matt Staton
SoFloBulls.com Columnist | @USFMatt
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