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Familiar scenario for Bulls in loss to Cards

Posted Jan 9, 2011 by Adam Adkins

Updated Jan 9, 2011 at 06:37 PM

It was an all-too-familiar scenario for the University of South Florida men’s basketball team Sunday afternoon.

One again the Bulls hung tough, but once again they walked off the court with another loss, this time an 86-77 defeat at the hands of Louisville before an announced crowd of 4,375 at the Sun Dome. It was USF’s sixth consecutive loss and dropped the team to 0-4 in Big East Conference play.

“This is a tough league. You’ve got to fight every time. We’re trying to push harder and harder, but we’ve just got to get over that hump,” said Bulls forward Augustus Gilchrist, who posted his second consecutive double-double with a season-high 25 points and 10 rebounds. “Once we get over that hump we can get some momentum and try to go on a little streak. We’ve just got to get that first win.”

For a while it appeared as though the Bulls (6-11) might break through, but they found baskets hard to come by over the final 10 minutes. The Bulls held a 65-64 lead after guard Jawanza Poland hit a pair of free throws to cap a 10-0 run – one possession after guard Shaun Noriega hit a 3-pointer at the 10:01 mark – but endured a six-minute, 45-second stretch without a field goal and went just 4-for-15 from the floor following Noriega’s basket as the Cardinals (13-1, 2-0) pulled away.

Louisville sealed the game down the stretch at the free-throw line, going 23-for-26 overall and 10-for-12 over the final two minutes.

“(Baskets were) hard to come by, but at the same time we tried to do what we could,” Bulls point guard Anthony Crater said. “Shots weren’t falling, the defense wasn’t as good as it was in the first half. We tried, it just didn’t happen tonight.”

Five Louisville players finished in double figures, among them forward Stephan Van Treese, who entered averaging 2.3 points and 3.4 rebounds per game but finished with 12 and 14, respectively.

“Who is Van Treese?” Bulls coach Stan Heath asked after the game.

“He was a real surprise,” Gilchrist said. “He came in with a lot of energy, really hustled, a role-player type guy. He got some easy buckets, some tough, got some tough rebounds on us. I think he was the x-factor in them winning this game.”

Poland and Noriega each had 14 points and Crater had a career-high 10 assists for the Bulls, who now have lost eight of nine – all but one by single digits – entering a tough road game at Cincinnati on Wednesday.

“I’m proud of our guys. We’re playing hard, not burying our heads. We’re playing against some really, really good basketball teams and we’re doing some good things. We’re continuing to get better,” Heath said.

“We’re going to turn this corner. There is no doubt in my mind. We’re going to turn the corner and we’re going to win some games, and we’re going to look back at these times as a trial, just a tough experience that we went through to get better.”