The USF Bulls rushed out to an 18-5 lead against the 2nd ranked Syracuse Orange, but failed to register a point in the last 8:54 in the half and trail SU 24-20 at halftime in the Carrier Dome. Scoop Jardine leads all scorers with 8 points, while C.J. Fair has 7 points and Dion Waters has 5 points for SU. Toarlyn Fitzpatrick has 6 points to lead the Bulls while Augustus Gilchrist and Anthony Collins has 4 points a piece for USF.
USF did a fantastic job working against the 2-3 zone of Syracuse at the beginning of the half, using the entire shot clock to find a high percentage shot and knocking it down. The USF defense was just as good, playing tight man to man defense and keeping the Orange to only one shot per possession. The Bulls have an impressive 21-11 rebounding advantage, including 6 offensive boards.
Momentum switched when Syracuse switched to a full court press, and the Bulls were clearly not ready for it. The Bulls committed 12 turnovers in the first half, and when they were able to break the press. USF's shot selection went out the window, leading to easy transition buckets for SU.
The Bulls have three players in foul trouble, with Anthony Collins, Jawanza Polan, and Toarlyn Fitzpatrick each saddled with two fouls. C.J. Fair is the only Syracuse player with 2 fouls.