USF Falls Short Against South Carolina 69-66

Drew GatewoodAnalyst INovember 21, 2009

NEW YORK - MARCH 10:  Chris Howard #3 and Justin Leemow #10 of the USF Bulls  look on against the Seton Hall Pirates during the first round of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 10, 2009 in New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

USF lost a heart breaker last night against South Carolina 69-66. South Carolina went 21-30 from the line and pulled out a close win in another tough fought game.

USF had a 35-29 lead at half, but just could not close the deal as they were outscored 40-31 in the second half.

Augustus Gilchrist once again led the Bulls with 19 points, setting aside off court NCAA violation rumors. Gilchrist was named in a pending NCAA investigation about his transfer from Maryland.

Dominique Jones had another impressive performance, putting in 17 points and nine boards.  Jarrid Famous was the only other Bull who scored in double figures, as he finished with 16 points and nine rebounds.

USF’s 16 turnovers gave the Gamecocks all the breathing room they needed in the second half. USF has the talent to win these games, but they have to play controlled and confident. Both of these traits have been absent at times this season and that was certainty the case last night.

The Bulls guards must step up and create perimeter shots to lessen the pressure on Gilchrist and Famous. If the shots are falling down, teams will have to respect guard Dominique Jones' shooting ability, allowing him to penetrate and dish it out to the big men.

The USF bench is also an area of concern considering the lack of scoring support the starters get. Toarlyn Fitzpatrick led the reserves with four points and two rebounds. Head Coach Stan Heath knows he'll need more contributions from his bench if the Bulls want to be competitive in the Big East this year.

USF gets a shot at redemption in the Charleston Classic when they play UNC Wilmington (1-3) on Sunday at 3:30pm. The Bulls need to regain the momentum they had coming into this game after a shocking upset of the Virginia Cavaliers earlier in the week.