It looked good after 20 minutes. USF (5-3) and VCU (4-3) were tied at 28 and the Bulls were holding tough against the tough VCU full court press.
Then the second half started.
VCU raced out on an 11-3 run to start the second half and never looked back, taking care of the Bulls 69-46 at the Verizon Wireless Center. Troy Daniels had 17 points off the bench to lead all scorers, while Bradford Burgess, Rob Brandenberg, and Darius Theus each scored in double figures. Ron Anderson Jr. had 15 points to lead the Bulls, while Victor Rudd had 10 points.
Shaka Smart’s 40 minutes of havoc took its toll on the Bulls in the second half. While the Rams were still fresh well into the second half, the Bulls’ lack of depth finally showed for the first time all season. USF looked sluggish on both sides of the court, and the Rams were able to take full advantage.
VCU went 8-14 for three in the second half, getting the open looks they weren’t finding in the first 20 minutes. Daniels in particular took advantage, going 5-9 from distance. Even when the Bulls were able to defend the three, the Rams and in particular Theus were able to penetrate the lane with ease and find the open basket.
The Bulls’ offense was slowed all night by the VCU press. When the Bulls were finally able to run their offense, there wasn’t enough time left on the shot clock to get a quality look for most of the possessions. When the Bulls were able to find a quality look, the players were so fatigued that they couldn’t finish.
USF’s two point guards had a tough night against the Rams. Anthony Collins had a tough time against the press, and turned the ball over 6 times on the night. Blake Nash went 0-7 from the field and had a tough time on the defensive end, consistently giving the Rams the open looks they needed from three.
The Bulls will try to bounce back as they take on the #14 Kansas Jayhawks this Saturday at 5:15 PM in Lawrence, KS.