3 Reasons Why USF Men’s Basketball Finally Got First Conference Win

The Bulls Shock Fans With First Conference Win Of The Season

The most remarkable thing happened last night in Tampa, the Bulls finally won a game. USF (7-17, 1-12 The American) snapped a 12-game losing streak with a 64-57 win over East Carolina (11-14,3-9).

Just a couple of weeks ago this game was marked as winable for the Bulls, but after suffering one of their worst losses in program history at the hand of UConn 97-51 on Wednesday, many fans believed this too would be a loss for the Bulls.

However, it wasn’t and Bulls Nation was shocked as the Bulls are now 1-12 in conference play instead. But how did the Bulls bounce back from one of their worst losses to now their first conference win?

  • Geno Thorpe. Need I say more? Okay yes I will elaborate. All season USF has been playing with a young team (besides Thorpe it’s been pretty much all freshmen). While experience has been a damper on their play so has not having a go-to scorer. Jahmal McMurray was thought to be exactly that for the Bulls until his unexpected departure from the program left the Bulls empty handed. Thorpe, the junior guard out of Pittsburg, has since been trying to fill those shoes and on an average night he does lead the team with field goals. Last night Thorpe put up a game-high 22 points and eight assists. With those numbers Thorpe achieved his 16th double-figure point game this season and fourth contest of 20+ points.  Side note: redshirt freshman forward Tulio Da Silva also posted double-figure points with 13 and seven rebounds.

    Geno Thorpe. Photo: USF Athletics
  • Defense. Yes we’ve been hearing it all year long, where is USF’s defense. Well hey guys, they were on the court last night and hopefully they stick around for awhile. In typical USF fashion the Bulls found themselves having to dig their way out of a deficit as East Carolina went on an 11-2 run early in the game. And in typical Bulls fashion they did dig their way out, but instead of giving the lead right back over the Bulls decided to make it their game. USF ended up holding ECU scoreless for 7:06, 4:30 at the end of the first half and the next 2:36 of the second half. With 5:58 remaining in the game the Pirates went on a 12-2 surge to bring the game within four, 50-46. And here’s where the USF defense showed up and showed out. That was the closest the Pirates ever got within reach for the remainder of the game. The Bulls turned 15 ECU turnovers into 22 points.

    Tulio Da Silva. Photo: USF Athletics
  • Murry Bartow. Read it and weep Bulls fans, because as so many have been quick to jump ship from the interim head coach it looks like he might have something in the works for this team after all. Coming into a head coaching position and losing 12 straight games, two of which were ranked as some of USF’s worst losses in history, is never a good thing. Yet remember he stepped in to take control of a team that was already doomed. No veterans, no leading scorer and a lot of obstacles for the team to overcome together. It was actually reported that Bartow’s office light was often seen on early in the morning and late at night and the guy has always remained optimistic about this team.
    Murry Bartow. Photo: USF Athletics

    “I’m just proud of the guys. Their spirit is so incredibly good. Practices have been great. The energy has been good. Obviously we’ve lost a lot of game in a row but they never pout, they never get down and they never feel sorry for themselves. We knew at some point we’d get one. Tonight’s the night,” said Bartow to USF Athletics. Looks like the hard worked practices are starting to show on the scoreboard now.

 

Allison Leslie is a University of South Florida graduate with a bachelors degree in Mass Communications. She joined Genesis in 2016. With a passion for sports, Allison has interned with 620 WDAE, Pewter Report, Trifecta Team: St. Petersburg Bowl, Bullscast, and many other publications. Being a native to the Bay Area, she has followed and supported Tampa Bay teams her whole life.