Everything came apart in the second half for the South Florida Bulls in their second-round Big East Tournament game. After hanging around for the first 20 minutes, USF couldn’t make things happen on either end of the court after halftime and fell to the Cincinnati Bearcats 87-61.
With Anthony Crater unable to play, the Bulls’ offense stalled out completely. Coach Stan Heath tried three different players at point guard (Mike Burwell, LaVonte Dority, and Shedrick Haynes) without much success. On the other end of the court, Cincinnati figured out the 2-3 zone USF had used earlier in the game to slow the Bearcats down. Once that happened, the Bulls were forced back into a man-to-man defense that clearly favored the Bearcats’ talented and athletic frontcourt.
Yancy Gates led the Bearcats with 25 points on 10-for-11 shooting, and Dion Dixon added 21. Cincinnati shot 71% from the field and took 24 free throws in the second half as they pulled away. Things got so bad that Heath took a rare (for him) technical foul arguing a no-call that went against USF in the second half.
USF’s disappointing season ends at 10-23 with this loss, while the Bearcats advance to play the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in tomorrow’s quarterfinals.